A church saves the lives of countless people by offering them guidance, support, sanctuary, and healing in Jesus name. It helps them remain steadfast in their faith and spreads the word of God to a whole community of believers.

A church is a place of worship where members of the community and believers come together to praise and worship God. It’s a place meant to offer refuge and protection to its members. However, even nonprofit organizations like churches need liability insurance to back them up in their mission. Most people assume that a place of worship like a church will not need liability insurance because it’s not like an office or residence. The truth is a church is as vulnerable to risks as any other organization.

Nowadays, churches and nonprofit organizations have become more and more susceptible to legal claims and lawsuits which impacts their churches liability insurance.

Whether it’s an injured employee, a sexual harassment case, or a fire, church insurance is necessary for any of these circumstances. This way, the church, its members, and its workers will have a cushion to fall back on in the event of a insurance liability loss. There are various types of church liability insurance plans available to cover various risks and threats. In addition to being a place of worship, a church is also a place where various events like weddings, funerals, christenings, sermons, masses, fundraisers, etc., take place.

All these are large gatherings, putting the church at risk for liabilities. Despite being a place of sanctuary and worship, a church is not immune to legal issues and other threats. Churches have employees and members like any other organizations that need liability insurance as it’s the right of every employee, even the ones who are volunteers.

Therefore, the first step to safeguarding your church and its members against any unforeseen event or claim is to understand the different types of church liability insurance coverages that a nonprofit organization might need. This includes workers’ compensation insurance, general liability insurance, church property insurance, and auto insurance, among various others. Keep reading this post to know about the different insurance policies a church may need.

The Holy Bible placed on a rostrum

Liability Insurance for Churches: The Polices You Need

Policy # 1: Special Event Insurance

As mentioned above, a church is much more than a place of worship. It’s a place where families in communities come together to share love, happiness, fear, and sorrow. Whether it’s a wedding, funeral, mass, or Sunday church service, special events need special liability insurance coverage.

Whenever there is a large gathering of people, numerous risks are present. There could be a fight, a fire, a shooting, event cancellation, property damage, or physical injuries. To cover all these risks, event insurance is necessary.

Churches are the center of celebrations and gatherings. It makes sense to say that they need this policy more than any other organization. People come to these events to celebrate or grieve, and they have a right to feel safe.

Therefore, it’s time to dig deep into your current policies and see if you have special event liability insurance or not. Even if your church is small and does not host many large gatherings and events, it’s a good idea to invest in special event insurance to stay safe.

If your church is renting out space to an outside organization or individuals, make sure they have the needed liability insurance in place.  They need to add your church on as an additional insured.

Policy # 2: Church Property Insurance

If you own the church building and the property inside it, you will need church property insurance. This type of insurance policy covers the furnishing, building, and landscape of the church, including any valuable items present inside the property.

A church property insurance policy is essential to protect the church and cover the losses if there is a theft, fire, vandalism, or natural disaster like an earthquake or flood.

Churches and their elder board need to review their church property insurance coverage limits annually.  With the rise of inflation currently at 8.9% for 2022, you will want to ensure your church building insurance is adequately covered.

Ensuring that the church building and property are secure will make you feel at ease and protected all the time. This way, the church leaders, members, and workers can continue to work for their mission and host large gatherings or special events without any worries.

For churches who are renting from a commercial facility, church property insurance is also an important part of your insurance coverage.  While you do not need to insure the building, you do need insurance protection for your business personal property.

A candlelight vigil in a church

Policy # 3: Church Liability Insurance

Liability insurance coverage is perhaps one of the most important insurance policies that a church must have. It protects the church against any legal claims and lawsuits. The policy offers financial coverage and other resources needed to fight the lawsuits and defend the church. From the legal fee and attorney charges to the settlement and court fee, it covers all the expenses.

Whether your church has a few members or thousands, it needs to invest in general liability insurance. As the name suggests, it covers a wide range of claims. There are many types of important liability coverage policies a church will need to remain protected. The two main types include:

Bodily Injury

This includes any kind of physical harm or injury to any visiting church member. For example, someone tripped and fell in the church and ended up with serious injuries. They sued your church, claiming you are responsible for their medical bills and loss of income.

Property Damage

This is when someone sues your church for any kind of property damage. For example, a tree on your church property fell on a car due to rain and fast winds, breaking their windscreen. The car owner might sue you for the damage, deeming your church responsible for the repair expenses.

An empty church with rays of sunlight

Policy # 4: Abuse and Molestation Insurance for Churches

A ministry could be held accountable if a member or another individual is abused or molested on church premises. While it is never an easy conversation, and it makes most people feel uncomfortable, it is a reality that we must accept and prepare for.

Over a 20 year period there were over 7,000 abuse and molestation claims made just in the United States.

Abel Harlow Child Molestation Prevention Study: This study found that pedophilia molesters average 12 child victims and 71 acts of molestation. An earlier study by Dr. Abel found that out of 561 sexual offenders there were over 291,000 incidents totaling over 195,000 total victims.

Not only do church leadership need to have adequate liability insurance limits, they need to do a better job at protecting our children.

Despite a place of worship, churches are not immune to such issues. Receiving a call and sharing that a church member has been a victim of sexual abuse is one of the worst nightmares for anyone. Such a claim does not only impact the victim, but it also affects the entire church community and other members at large.

While no amount of money can take away the pain and misfortune of the victims, churches do need to have insurance policies in place for such circumstances. Not only should a church have a policy to reimburse the victim, but it should also have a policy to defend them in case a false accusation is made against any of the members.

A church service conducted by a priest

Policy # 5: Worker’s Compensation Insurance for Church

Work-related injuries and sickness are common in any organization, even churches and other nonprofit organizations. All employers, including churches, are required by law to have worker’s compensation insurance for their employees. Whether you have a large number of employees or just a few, getting insurance is a must.

In case any of your church employees or volunteers suffer a work-related calamity or becomes sick due to certain conditions on the job, the church insurance company is responsible for paying for the employee’s medical treatment, loss of income/wages, and possible compensation for a permanent injury and job retention.

Moreover, this insurance policy is also essential to protect the church’s reputation and save them from any legal issues. If a church does not offer workers’ compensation insurance benefits, an injured or sick staff member can sue the church for neglecting employee rights and absence of safety procedures. This can do a lot of damage to your church, ruining years of work. This is why it’s always best to buy this policy and ensure workers a healthy and safe working environment in the first apace.

Additionally, workers’ compensation insurance also reimburses the employee’s surviving family if they pass away due to the injury or sickness. The policy covers all the burial and funeral expenses, offering financial support to the grieving family.

Worshippers in a church

Policy # 6: Business Auto Insurance for Churches

Many churches wonder if they need an auto insurance policy. Well, the answer is simple. If your church owns a business vehicle such as a church 15 passenger van, church bus, or church owned passenger vehicle, you will need business auto insurance. This policy works in combination with general liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance coverage for the drivers of these vehicles.

Generally, you must ensure that your church is fully protected if there is an accident or physical injury. The policies may vary depending on the size of your vehicles and the number of vehicles you own.

Many churches offer transport facilities to their members and employees, so it’s important to have insurance to ensure protection against any work-related accidents or damages.

If a vehicle is owned by the pastor or someone other than the legal entity of the church, those vehicles will need to obtain a personal auto insurance policy.  Please check the vehicle registration card to confirm who the owner of the vehicle is.

Worshippers gathered for a church service

Policy # 7: Directors’ and Officers’ Insurance for Churches

Like any other organization, a church also has a board of directors, trustees, or officers. This insurance policy will cover any decision made by the board. The cost of defending the board’s decision if someone decides to sue them is significant, so having directors’ and officers’ insurance is essential.

Board members of a church take on the additional responsibility for the decision they make on the church’s behalf, whether financial or strategic. As a result, board members have a right to demand a liability insurance policy to protect their interests and ensure financial support.

Directors’ and officers’ insurance safeguards the personal assets of every board member, including their personal and savings account, stocks, and even their home equity. Lawsuits can come from anyone, from employees to church members. Hence, such an insurance policy also protects the nonprofit organization, covering all the legal costs and other expenses.

The board members can be sued for several reasons, including:

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Policy # 8: Business Interruption Insurance

When considering purchasing a liability insurance policy, most organizations are not thinking about business interruption insurance.  Most insurance agents will not discuss this coverage as they may not know if their policy includes it or how much business interruption insurance coverage is included with the policy.

One thing is certain, once you have a major property loss this coverage will be on the forefront of your mind.

Some policies will include a small amount of coverage however, it is critical that you exam your organization and calculate how much business interruption insurance you would need if you had to close your doors for a year.

 

Get an Affordable Church Liability Insurance Plan

Nonprofit organizations like churches are usually underfunded. They often do not have the resources to hire an in-house attorney or even a full-time staff member to deal with insurance matters. This can make it difficult to prioritize and plan for your liability insurance needs. Fortunately, there are ways you can reduce the cost of your church property insurance and church liability insurance and still have the coverage you need to minimize the risk of disaster.

If you’re looking for a reputable church insurance company, Integrity Now Insurance provides customized church insurance policies in multiple states, including California, Arizona, Washington, Ohio, and Nevada. We specialize in a whole suite of church insurance services, including but not limited to general liability insurance, business auto insurance, workers compensation insurance, directors and officers insurance, abuse and molestation insurance, and more for nonprofits and faith-based organizations

When you choose us, you will be able to feel confident that your assets are protected in all types of situations. We are passionate about nonprofits and churches and work hard to get you the best church insurance quotes from reputable insurance companies.

So what are you waiting for? To have our church insurance brokers look after your church insurance plans, call us at (877) 854 7396. Alternatively, you can get in touch with us on our website for more information about our policies and how they can protect your nonprofit or charity.

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