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July 28, 2020

Churches are places of worship, but they are also often a space for events like weddings, services, funerals, and more.

These large gatherings put churches at risk for liabilities. Places of the sanctuary are not immune from lawsuits. Churches also have employees and a board of directors, who all may need insurance coverage of some sort.

Church insurance is a must. So keep reading to learn what types of insurance a ministry should have for security and financial peace of mind!

Coverage for Special Events

Dig deep into your current policy to see if it covers special events. If not, it’s important to ask for this coverage. This is especially true if your church holds special events like festivals, holiday celebrations, etc.

This is important if the special event is taking place outside of church property. So the location of the event is important and might determine if you need a separate policy for special events to provide coverage.

But even if your church doesn't host large events, you still likely need insurance coverage.

Church Property Insurance

If your church owns the actual structure, plus any personal property inside the church, then you need property insurance. This covers property like furnishings, landscaping, and buildings.

This could also include valuable items in the church. It may also cover historical property like pews, church pianos, and other musical instruments.

This type of insurance keeps you secure in case of other incidents, like a natural disaster, theft, fire, and more. Property insurance is key for rebuilding after an unexpected financial issue.

The premium for property insurance is typically based on a few factors. The first factor is the square footage of the church building itself. The year of construction and any additional newer construction that’s been done, will be factored in as well. It’s important to note any renovations, especially for an older church building.

Property insurance also includes auto insurance coverage. Does your church have buses or vans that need coverage? If so, property insurance would provide security for any damages that happen to the vehicle or any people injured.

But what type of insurance should you have to protect your church from any possible legal action?

Insurance Coverage in Case of Legal Action

In the event members of the church or other individuals sue, general liability insurance is necessary. This type of coverage has two parts. It includes coverage for someone claiming injury and coverage for someone claiming property damage.

So if someone slips and falls in the church, general liability insurance would provide coverage. Property damage is also covered with general liability insurance. This is especially important if the church doesn’t own the building of worship.

Churches must prepare themselves for all circumstances in which someone might sue them, and they incur legal costs!

Types of Liability Coverage

General liability insurance won't cover all circumstances therefore, additional liability coverage is needed for specific incidents. Some types of liability coverage to consider include: Sexual Misconduct, Directors and Officers, Pastoral Counseling, Church Security, Freedom of Religion, Volunteer Safety, Youth Safety, and Infection Disease Outbreak. The first is protection we will review is from an employee accusing the church. This is called Employment Practices Liability.

EPL insurance is important for churches, especially if an accusation arises. This covers legal costs and damages if an employee sues. Plus, if other legal accusations arise, like discrimination, sexual harassment, or wrongful termination, EPL insurance can help cover costs.

Also, when thinking about liability insurance, you want to include all employees of the church, including the board of directors and trustees. This will cover the church for claims of financial damage due to a decision that was made by the board occurs.

Another type of liability insurance that you may not think of relating to a church is cyber liability insurance. This type of coverage is helpful if a church uses computers and electronic data.  Cyber liability insurance will help with recovery costs related to any cyber attacks, computer viruses, and data breaches, including legal fees and claims that may be incurred in a data breach.

Finally, Religious Freedom Protection is essential for your ministry. This liability insurance will protect the church against claims of emotional injury that result from the church’s religious acts, communications, activities, etc.

Coverage for Employees of the Church

Other than insurance to protect against possible legal fees, you may also need insurance for the employees of the church.

In some ways, churches operate as a business that has employees. These employees are not exempt from needing basic coverage, like health insurance. Providing health insurance to ministry employees can help attract more people to work for the church.

Also, Workers’ Compensation Insurance is needed for employees to benefit from any injuries on the job. The legal requirement to provide this insurance will vary by state. Whether it’s required, this type of coverage also helps the church against a claim from an employee who is injured on the job.

Your employees should also be covered for any mission trips, and any missionaries that are overseas.

Mission Insurance

Mission Insurance will help protect in case of an emergency. This relates to medical coverage, kidnapping, and other liabilities that occur in a missions.

If the mission is not domestic, meaning it is outside of the US, you may need a separate policy. You can also get worldwide liability coverage. This will provide insurance abroad.

Also, consider that employees traveling will need medical coverage. This is especially true in case of an emergency.

As mentioned above, having kidnap, ransom, and extortion insurance is very important. If you are traveling in a high crime area, you will need coverage to provide reimbursement from losses.

Church Insurance Is Important to Protect Your Place of Worship

Whether your ministry has one small church, or multiple property locations with many employees, church insurance is important to protect your place of worship.

Many events can occur that would require insurance coverage. Think about unexpected events like an employee injury, fire, theft, or something happening on a mission trip.

The Hummel Group can offer your church all the coverage it needs, and ensure you’re protected. Contact us today to receive a quote and learn more!

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