Insuring your church, its ministries, and all of their church-related activities is important. Church insurance is one way to protect your church from the risks of liability and injuries that could otherwise be catastrophic to your church.
What Does Church Insurance Cover?
Most of your church’s congregation probably have not considered the need for church insurance. It is an operating expense that usually gets addressed by church leaders.
In many senses, a church’s operations are very similar to the operations of any business. Although the church is a non-profit organization, its operating risks are not much different from those faced by businesses. For that reason, church insurance is much like the insurance coverage available to any business operation, with some specialized coverages that are tailored to the religious nature of church activities.
Church insurance coverage includes, but is not limited to, the following:
General Liability Coverage
General liability coverage is important for protecting the church against liability for bodily injury or property damage when it occurs on church property. The insurance will pay damages to the injured party and the church’s costs in defending itself. The basic general liability coverage should be no less than $1 million.
Directors & Officers Liability
Decisions made by the church’s board, officers, or trustees will be protected with this coverage. It also covers the defense costs for any of your church’s volunteer board members, if needed.
Employment Practices Liability
Most churches have several employees. This coverage protects the church against the types of risks that any employers face, such as claims of unlawful discrimination, wrongful termination, and so forth.
Employee Benefits Liability
This coverage is similar to the coverage for employment practices liability. Employee benefits liability covers claims arising from an error or omission by the church as an employer with regard to its employee benefits matters, such as health insurance, retirement benefits, life insurance, and so forth.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
All employers, even non-profit organizations, must have workers’ compensation insurance for their employees under state laws. Workers’ compensation insurance covers the medical bills for a church employee who is injured on the job and some percentage of the employee’s lost wages. An insurance agent can help you in determining the appropriate coverage and limitations required in your state.
Professional/Counseling Acts Liability
Church pastors, ministers, and counselors are occasionally accused of causing physical and emotional harm, similar to professional malpractice claims. This coverage protects against claims arising from pastoral direction or counseling. It is recommended that liability limits for this coverage match the general liability limits.
Commercial Auto Insurance
Auto coverage is needed for any church-owned vehicles. Church-owned vehicles present the greatest risks for most churches. For that reason, you need to understand the policy conditions and limitations. For example, some policies will not cover older models of a 15-passenger van, and some policies may have conditions pertaining to the drivers’ age. Generally, it is recommended that every church have a minimum of $1 million liability limits on its auto policy. Your insurance agent can help you determine the type of auto policy and amount of coverage you need for your church.
Hired And Non-Church-Owned Auto Insurance
This type of coverage provides liability insurance for rented automobiles and the use of other non-owned autos for church activities. Frequently, church members and their employees use their cars for church business and church activities. In those cases, the vehicle owner’s insurance is primary and this insurance coverage becomes available only after the primary insurance is exhausted. All churches should have this coverage.
This coverage is important if your church offers valet parking, provides any automotive services, or accepts donated vehicles for re-selling or donation. Your insurance agent can help you determine the amount of coverage suitable for your church.
This endorsement allows a goodwill payment to individuals who are injured on the church property regardless of fault. Usually, it is limited to $5,000.
Excess Liability (Umbrella)
Excess liability is an added coverage that covers the church for liability that exceeds other coverage limits. As such, this coverage acts as an umbrella over the church’s other liability coverage.
Sexual Misconduct Liability
This coverage protects the church against an actual incident and also covers the cost of defense against the mere allegation of sexual misconduct. If the complainant is successful in a lawsuit, the church could end up having to close down and liquidate. Minimum coverage is $250,000.
Foreign Liability & Foreign Travel Insurance
If your church members travel outside the continental United States and your basic coverage has limits or exclusions for this type of travel, you’ll need this coverage.
Contact The Insurance Professionals At Southern States Insurance For More Information
Church coverage and the amounts needed depend very much on the type and extent of your church’s activities. Get help from the church insurance agents at Southern States Insurance about your coverage needs. They can also help you if your church starts a new ministry or adds additional space or equipment. Your Southern States insurance agent can answer any of your questions about coverage for your church.