What Churches Need To Know About Insurance

Why Do Churches Need Insurance

A church is a gathering place for people to worship, however we often find several types of events taking place at the church location such as weddings, funerals, dinners, and other community activities. 

When there are gatherings of people inside the church building, this can make the church liable for the health and safety of the visitors. It’s not uncommon for lawsuits to happen due to activities surrounding church activities. In addition to activities, the church also has employees, volunteers and officers of the church who may need insurance coverage for various reasons. 

It’s important to have the right kinds of church insurance to bring security and peace of mind.  We will cover some of the most common types of insurance a church may need below.

Special Event Insurance Coverage

Review your church insurance policy to confirm you have coverage for special events. If you are confused about what is covered or you cannot locate specific coverage for events and activities, ask your agent if you are properly covered. This is especially important if your church holds open events to the public and you invite the community into your building or on your property.

It is possible you may need coverage even if the event or activity is outside of your church building or property.  The location of the event is important and might determine if you need a separate policy for special events to provide coverage.

Most churches will regularly hold events that involve the gathering of people in the community.

Insurance To Cover Church Property

If your church has multiple buildings and structures that are owned by the church or any valuable property within the buildings or on the property, you will need property insurance. This insurance coverage will protect items like buildings and structures, furnishing, equipment and supplies.

Other valuable items in your church need protection such as historical property, musical equipment, sound systems and office machines.. 

This type of insurance covers the church in times of  natural disaster, break ins, water damage or fire. Property insurance is vital when you need to rebuild or replace after an unexpected event.

How much will this cost?  Your insurance premiums are usually based on several things. First, your insurance company will measure the square footage of the buildings and property. Other important details include any recent renovations or updates on the property that have occurred.. Make sure to notify your agent of any recent updates or changes to older building structures so that you have full coverage for replacement.

If your church has a bus, or vans or other vehicles, property insurance will be important to make sure they are covered.  Auto coverage will cover damage to the vehicles as well as bodily injury for passengers and drivers. Make sure you have the right coverage for the right reasons.

Next, we will talk about insurance to cover your church to protect you from legal action. 

Legal Action Protection For Your Church

A church needs to be protected by general liability insurance in the event of a lawsuit from a member, a visitor or others in the community.  Your church will be covered for both personal injury and property damage with this insurance. 

An example might be a slip and fall on the church property.  Perhaps someone’s property is damaged while on the church grounds, if you have general liability insurance you are covered.  You want to be fully prepared for any possible event or lawsuit against the church.  Covering legal costs, medical expenses and property damage are the most common things to think about.

Types of Liability Coverage

Every circumstance won’t get covered by general liability, so you’ll need additional liability coverage for some specific incidents. Some specific incidents that will require coverage include: 

  • Sexual Misconduct
  • Directors and Officers
  • Pastoral Counseling
  • Church Security
  • Freedom of Religion
  • Volunteer Safety, Youth Safety
  • Infection Disease Outbreak

Employment Practices Liability

Should an accusation arise, EPL insurance is vital. Employment Practices Liability will cover the legal costs and damages if an employee were to sue. EPL insurance can also cover the cogs of other legal accusations, like discrimination, sexual harassment, or wrongful termination. 

Be sure to include all church employees when thinking about liability insurance. Don’t forget to include the board of directors and trustees. Employment Practices Liability covers financial damage claims due to decisions made by the church’s board of directors.

Cyber Liability Insurance

Cyber Liability is an insurance type not often associated with churches, but it’s important for them to have. Churches have computers and electronic data, and cyber liability insurance protects the church from recovery costs related to computer viruses, cyber attacks, and breaches of data, including claims that may be incurred in a data breach and legal fees.

Religious Freedom Protection

Protect the church against emotional injury claims resulting from church communications, religious acts, activities, etc with Religious Freedom Protection.

Coverage for Employees of the Church

In addition to protections against possible legal fees, you may also need insurance for any church employees.

Though churches are considered nonprofits, they have many similarities to businesses that serve employees. Church employees, like business employees, need basic coverage, like health insurance. 

Another type of coverage needed is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. This type of liability coverage pays benefits to employees injured on the job. Each state has its own legal requirements for Workers’ Compensation Insurance, but whether or not it’s required, Workers’ Comp coverage protects churches against any claims from employees injured whilst on the job.

It’s also important to cover church employees on any mission trips or any missionary employees overseas.

Mission Insurance

In the event of an emergency, Mission Insurance will ensure the employee and the church are protected. Coverage can include medical coverage, kidnapping, and other liabilities that could occur on mission trips or overseas.

A separate policy might be needed if the mission is outside of the United States. Worldwide liability coverage is also an option which can provide insurance abroad. 

Traveling employees will also need medical coverage, especially in the case of an emergency.

Kidnap, ransom, and extortion insurance is essential to any traveling church employee. Any employees traveling in high crime areas will need reimbursement coverage in the event that losses occur.

Church Insurance Is Important to Protect Your Place of Worship

Church Insurance is critical whether your ministry is a single church location, or multiple properties with a multitude of employees. Protecting your place of worship is a priority. 

Though you hope they never happen, unexpected events such as fire, left, employee injury, or even mission trip emergencies can happen. Be prepared for any situation by having the right coverage.