We recommend that every business carries the appropriate policies needed to insure all aspects of the business. This recommendation is the same for churches and other religious organizations. However, there are unique circumstances to church operations that make policy recommendations different from typical business policies.
Churches have physical buildings and other personal property that requires insurance coverage just as any business does. But because the business of church is all about people, there are other coverages that may be necessary.
Below we have listed some of the types of insurance that churches should carry to protect church property or church members.
Building & Possessions
If your church owns any property, such as a building or meeting space, that property should be insured. This is the same as with any typical business insurance or homeowners policy that covers property damage due to fire, theft, natural disaster and more.
This policy should include the items found inside such as sound, lighting, service and classroom equipment. It is wise to select a policy that not only covers damage but also equipment breakdown. You would not want to be left empty handed because of faulty or malfunctioning equipment.
Commercial Auto insurance
Many churches own vehicles or provide services where members and employees will ride in a vehicle under the liability of the church. These situations include: traveling to camps, off campus functions, shuttling members to church, driving through the parking lot, and more. In these cases, the church should carry the appropriate auto insurance coverage for the vehicles, drivers, and passengers.
General Liability Insurance
In addition to physical property insurance, it is absolutely essential that churches carry professional liability insurance in order to protect the church, board, and employees. This insurance is necessary in cases of bodily injury when someone slips and falls on church property and seeks compensation for medical expenses.
Liability coverage also covers instances where someone may claim damaged property on church property. It also applies in cases where the church does not own the property or is renting or attending a space for an event.
Additional Types of Liability Coverage
In addition, it is not uncommon for churches to encounter specific liability instances that require additional special coverage. Examples are for pastoral counseling, volunteer and youth safety, security, or infectious disease outbreak.
In recent years, it has become necessary for churches to carry coverage for instances of sexual misconduct allegations, freedom of religion protection, and cyber liability. It is important not to overlook the necessity of these coverages. Even if you think your church or employees would never in a million years face these types of issues or allegations, it is better to have the coverage and not need it than the alternative.
Just as with any business, your church is required by federal and state laws to provide certain coverages for employees. These laws and requirements vary by state. In most cases, offering basic insurance such as health insurance and workers compensation are the church’s responsibility as an employer.
In addition to insuring employees in your church location, your church may sponsor or send missionaries to locations outside of your state or country. These types of missions may require the church to carry additional outside international coverage depending on the mission locations. These may not be coverages you carry permanently but on a case by case basis.
Finding Church Coverage
It can seem overwhelming to make insurance decisions. It takes knowledge and expertise to ensure that every instance and possibility is legally covered and insured. This is especially true when it comes to church coverage because of the many unique scenarios that churches encounter. At Gebhardt Insurance Group, we specialize in insurance, so you don’t have to.
When searching for an insurance company that knows the business of churches and nonprofits, we can assure you that Gebhardt understands these unique positions. We are available to offer the peace of mind and the coverage that you need in order to stay focused on your mission.
Schedule a call with us at (520) 836-3244 to set an appointment. In this meeting we will discuss your options and give an insurance quote for your church insurance needs.