liability insurance for small churches

Liability Insurance For Small Churches and Religious Organizations

Churches and religious organizations are vital to the fabric of society. They provide a sense of community and belonging for many people. However, they can also be sued for a variety of reasons.


This is why churches must have liability insurance with specialized church insurers that provide the required religious insurance protection.


Our church insurance agency specializes in helping small churches and religious organizations obtain church buildings insurance coverage they need at an affordable price. We understand churches’ unique risks and are here to help you protect your congregation from them.


If you’re looking for church liability insurance, Integrity Now Insurance Brokers can help. Contact us today to get started with your insurance quotes for small churches.

Why do Small Churches Need General Liability Insurance Protection?

Small churches need organizational insurance protection to protect their assets and continue serving their mission. Without proper religious insurance coverage, a church could be held liable and risk legal repercussions in case of an accident or injury.


Business liability insurance also protects in case of a lawsuit related to slander, libel, copyright infringement, and other advertising-related claims. Having the right church insurance coverage safeguards a church’s finances and limits its liability, allowing it to focus on its primary mission of teaching and bringing church members together.


Finding church insurance programs designed for your small church insurance needs is essential, and this is where our church insurance agents help in securing a church insurance plan that is both cost-effective and provides comprehensive insurance coverage.

What are the Risks that Small Churches and Religious Organizations Face?

1. Premises and Operations Liability

General Liability insurance coverage for churches protects from third-party claims. Religious organizations must have commercial property insurance coverage for churches to protect again an unforeseen event such as trips and falls.


2. Bodily Injury Liability

Bodily injury liability is an essential liability coverage that protects small churches and religious organizations from legal and financial repercussions from physical injuries caused by the church or its members. This type of general liability coverage protects claims of bodily harm resulting from the negligence or mistakes of the church or its members.


3. Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Liability

Places of Worship face several risks regarding discrimination and sexual harassment. Discrimination can take many forms, including racial, gender, and religious discrimination. Churches and religious organizations need policies to protect workers from discrimination, such as anti-discrimination laws, clear and detailed anti-discrimination policies, and proper training on the issue.


Sexual harassment is another risk faced by small churches and religious organizations. This includes any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.


Our website receives hundreds of search inquiries about suing a church for sexual harassment and discrimination claims. Ensuring your general liability policy includes this type of insurance for your church is vital.


4. Pastoral Professional Liability

Pastoral professional liability protects pastors, religious leaders, and churches when providing counseling services. This type of liability insurance can help cover costs associated with legal claims related to negligence, such as the failure to perform professional duties, mistakes, and oversights.


5. Management Liability

Management liability protects small churches and religious organizations against claims from decisions or actions taken by the governing board, officers, and other key personnel. This coverage is vital for small churches and religious organizations because they are responsible for making financial decisions on behalf of the organization.


Directors and officers insurance protects against claims for financial mismanagement, failure to perform official duties, and defamation by a board member or officer. Failing to secure proper management liability coverage can leave an organization vulnerable to lawsuits, resulting in costly legal fees, settlements, and reputational damage.


6. Motor Vehicle Liability

Churches insurance must include coverage for automobile insurance protection. Motor vehicle liability is the legal responsibility placed on the owner of a motor vehicle for damages caused by the vehicle’s operation.


It is a necessary form of insurance for small churches and religious organizations that own and operate vehicles for ministry-related activities, as it provides financial protection against legal claims made by third parties. Without motor vehicle liability coverage, churches and organizations could be exposed to high out-of-pocket costs if they are sued for damages. 


In an accident, motor vehicle liability can cover medical expenses and property damages, including vehicle repairs or replacement. It can also cover legal fees for defending the organization against claims or lawsuits.


7. Sexual abuse liability of a minor

California church insurance must have sexual abuse liability insurance protection. The risks of sexual abuse liability of a minor for small churches and religious organizations are numerous and can be devastating.


First and foremost, there is the risk of civil litigation for damages, such as pain and suffering, economic loss, and emotional distress. In addition, legal fees can be high, including defense and settlement costs. There is the potential for reputational damage, loss of donations and trust, and increased insurance premiums due to increased claims.


Recently, some states like Delaware, Pennsylvania, and California have changed their laws to allow victims of sexual abuse to wait until they are 65+ to sue the church for actions that occurred when they were minors, creating a problematic situation for insurance companies.


Small churches and religious organizations must purchase church insurance policies that cover abuse and molestation and should address sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. Contact one of our licensed insurance agents to help protect your synagogue and mosque.


8. Cyber Liability

Cyber liability is a type of insurance that protects small churches and religious organizations from losses and damages due to data breaches and other cyber-related incidents. It covers the legal defense fees, court costs, settlements associated with data breaches, and any data equipment breakdown interruption recovery costs that may be incurred.


Cyber liability insurance may also cover liability claims resulting from non-contact abuse, such as sexting, Snapchat, Tiktok, and other social media platforms. It is vital to have cyber insurance in place for such accusations that may happen without a church’s knowledge.


9. Church Copyright Infringement Liability

Copyright infringement liability is the risk of being held legally responsible for the unauthorized use of someone else’s copyrighted material. This type of liability can be particularly damaging and costly for small churches and religious organizations, as they may not have the resources to pay large settlements or judgments.


Churches and other religious organizations must be aware of all the potential risks of copyright infringement, such as using unauthorized images, logos, music, or videos. When using any copyrighted material, it is crucial to ensure that proper licenses and permissions are obtained and that any and all terms of use are followed.


10. County and City Zoning Disputes

Zoning disputes in county and city governments can present several risks for religious organizations. Zoning laws can limit the construction of new churches or the expansion of existing churches and dictate how a property is used. Zoning disputes can lead to lengthy court proceedings, expensive fines, and damage to a religious organization’s reputation.

How Much Liability Coverage do Small Churches and Religious Organizations Need?

How Much Liability Coverage do Small Churches and Religious Organizations Need?

Small churches and religious organizations should carry at least $1,000,000 in commercial liability insurance coverage. Church insurance providers may also include higher coverage limits of $2,000,000 per occurrence for a few extra bucks.


Other coverage limits churches need to consider include the following:


  • Directors and Officers Liability: \$1,000,000
  • Religious Expression Liability: $1,000,000
  • Abuse and Molestation Insurance: $100,000 to $1,000,000
  • Employment Practice Liability: $100,000 to $1,000,000
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance: $100,000 to $1,000,000 (varies by state)
  • Pastoral Counseling Services Liability Insurance: \$1,000,000
  • Business Auto Insurance (Church Vans, Busses, and Passenger Vehicles): \$100,000 to \$1,000,000
  • Cyber Liability Insurance: $100,000 to $1,000,000
  • Employee Benefits Liability: $1,000,000
  • Employee Dishonesty Coverage: $10,000 to $1,000,000


Tips on How to Find the Best Church Insurance Companies for Your Church or Nonprofit Organization

Contact a Church Insurance Agency Specializing in Ministry Insurance

Working with a church insurance agency specializing in ministry insurance can help you find the best church insurance company for your church or organization. They will help design a church insurance package policy to meet your organization’s needs.


Determine the Church Insurance Coverage Needed

Determining the church insurance coverage needed can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are the steps to help you get started:


  1. Identify Your Needs: Before accurately determining the type of insurance coverage your church needs, you must identify your specific needs. Consider the size of your church, the services you provide, and any special activities or events that may be held.
  2. Research Coverage Options: Once you know the coverage you need, it’s time to research what’s available. Look for insurance agents specializing in religious organizations and ask about their different coverage options.
  3. Compare Prices and Coverage: Compare the prices and coverage for the different policies to find the best one for your church. Make sure to check the coverage limits on each policy and to make sure it meets your church’s needs.
  4. Choose the Right Insurance: Once you have found the right policy for your church, contact the church insurance agency and purchase the policy.


Look for Church Insurance Providers that Offer Customized Policies

Integrity Now Insurance Brokers works with hundreds of different insurance companies. We will be the first person to tell you the church industry is not a fit for most companies we work with.


That is why we must obtain quotes from a church insurance group of companies specializing in religious organizations. Religious insurance companies specifically provide tailored insurance for churches in Texas, Arizona, Ohio, and most US states, minus Hawaii.


Ensure the Church Property Insurance policy covers all necessary perils

When an insurance claim is filed, non-profits quickly find out if they forgot to include a property or item on their church property insurance policy. Many property insurance policies cover weather-related damage, equipment breakdown, food contamination, fine arts, trees, sewer water backup, burglary, vandalism, arson, employee theft, and electronic data processing.


The policy should also cover buildings, personal property, and other valuable items, such as pews, church pianos, and other musical instruments. Protecting musical instruments on an inland marine policy is vital when transported to different locations. This is often required for small churches renting commercial space shared with other businesses or church organizations.


Review Policy Exclusions and Limitations with the Church Insurance Brokers

Several things should be checked when reviewing policy exclusions and limitations with church insurance brokers. These include:


  1. Coverage being provided
  2. Restrictive language
  3. High Deductibles
  4. Limits of Liability and Coverage Aggregates


Review past claims history to assess the experience of the Church Insurer

Working with an independent insurance agent allows us to represent our client’s best interest and not the insurance company’s sole interest. We watch each insurance company and evaluate how they treat our clients based on their customer service and past claims history.

Frequent asked questions faq

What types of liability coverages are available for churches and religious organizations?

There are many different types of liability coverage available for churches and religious organizations, each providing its unique protection. These coverages include General Liability, Directors & Officers (D&O), Religious Beliefs, Sexual Misconduct, Employment Practices, and Church Cyber Security.


What does general liability insurance cover for churches and religious organizations?

General liability insurance for churches and religious organizations covers a variety of situations, including bodily injury, property damage, personal and advertising injury, and third-party claims. It protects against lawsuits for slip and fall type injuries, trees falling on a neighbor’s car, copyright infringement, slander and libel claims, and failure to administer employee benefits properly.


How does workers’ comp insurance work for churches and religious organizations?

Any business is required to provide workers’ compensation insurance to their employees. This includes the pastoral staff, administrative employees, janitors, and more. Workers’ comp covers medical costs, lost wages, and other benefits in the event of a work-related injury or illness. It also provides coverage for employers if they are sued for an employee’s workplace injury or death.


What is employee benefits liability insurance for churches and religious organizations?

Employee Benefits Liability insurance is a form of liability coverage designed to protect churches and religious organizations from claims that arise concerning miscommunication or failure to communicate details of employee benefits. This type of coverage is usually provided as an endorsement of the organization’s General Liability Insurance policy.


Examples of situations where Employee Benefits liability coverage may be sought include cases involving alleged misstatements or mistakes in employee benefit plans or if any employees or job applicants feel that their rights were violated in the benefits administration.

Looking For Liability Insurance For Small Churches and Religious Organizations

Our agency has helped thousands of organizations purchase insurance to protect their church leaders from an assortment of liability and property claims scenarios. We offer multiple insurance programs for churches who need to protect a church property and their clergy from bodily injury and property losses.


We help keep your church insurance cost under control and affordable without sacrificing the needed coverage required of all religious instituations. It is vital to not only cover the religious leaders but also your church members from accidents and injuries.  


Standard business insurance polices do not include the needed coverage enhancements a church may need such as errors and omission insurance, volunteer coverage, and stained glass window insurance, Failing to insure these exposures can lead to financial hardship not allowing churches to continue to serve others.  


If you need insurance for your church no matter how big or small, contact us for a quote to cover the cost of a covered catastrofic event.

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