Why Insurance for Churches Is a Good Idea

image of church beside the lake with blog title

Is your church prepared for unknown risks?

We are talking about the countless situations that can happen to damage your church's property and the church organization.

The possibility of such damage and destruction is why insurance for churches is so important. Unfortunately, many church leaders don't understand why insurance is so important.

Are you on the fence about insuring your own church? Keep reading to discover why insurance for churches is such a good idea!

More Than One Kind of Insurance For Churches

Our guide is going to walk you through how and why obtaining insurance for your church is so important. But first, we need to answer a more basic question: how does insurance even work?

We tend to refer to insurance for churches as a kind of all-encompassing coverage. But the truth is that a good church insurance plan has multiple parts, with each part serving a special function.

For example, one basic form of protection comes from property coverage. A good policy will protect the church's physical premises from damage, including unexpected causes of loss like fires. Property coverage can also include fellowship halls, parsonages, and other buildings the church may own.

Additionally, good coverage also provides liability protection. In short, this protection can help pay for legal fees, court costs, and other claim costs associated with injuries and damage to other people or property for which you are liable.

Finally, church insurance helps to protect the church from liability claims brought on by the unintentional harm volunteers may cause while representing the church.

This kind of insurance is a great way you can protect your church from the unexpected and keep the lights on in the event that the unexpected should happen.

How Property Insurance Works

At first, the idea of property coverage may seem straightforward. After all, this is the primary protection that property insurance offers. However, you may be surprised to learn about what this coverage does (and does not) actually cover.

First of all, this type of coverage helps protect the church structure and other buildings owned by the church. You never know when an unexpected accident will cause damage to your property. But with the right insurance, you can rest assured that an unexpected catastrophe will not threaten the long-term health of your church.

Second, this type of insurance also protects items within the church as well as the church structure. In many cases, a church contains valuable items and supplies used for everything from Sunday school to special church services. With a good insurance policy, you sleep easy knowing that anything that is damaged or destroyed can be easily repaired or replaced.

Finally, a good insurance policy can make sure there is no disruption of your ongoing church services. For example, if the church is damaged to the point that nobody can meet within it, an insurance policy can help you to pay your employees and pay other costs related to holding your services at a different location while the original church structure is being repaired.

What Does Church Insurance Not Cover?

As you can tell, the property damage portion of your church property insurance covers a lot of ground. And you might find yourself asking another major question: just what does the property damage policy not cover?

The short answer is that you will need to check the "fine print" of your policy. Each policy is different and coverage can vary. With that being said, we can review some of the things that are not typically covered by a standard policy.

For example, while a standard policy protects the items inside your church, it does not typically protect items that leave the premises. If you have such items that regularly leave church grounds, you may need to take out a separate policy to protect them.

There are also limitations to the liability portion of your church insurance. For instance, while it protects against most liability issues, a standard policy does not protect against sexual abuse allegations. Similarly, standard policies do not typically protect against other accusations brought against a church leader in the course of their counseling.  Talk to your advisor about options for protecting your church in these situations.

While property insurance can protect against unknown calamities such as fire and natural disasters inside the building, standard policies do not protect against floods. You can only get such protection from separate policies. 

Finally, general liability insurance typically does not protect against employee theft of funds or property as well as accusations brought against the church by its employees. When in doubt, we always recommend checking with a good insurer to verify what is and what is not covered.

How Liability Insurance Works

So far, we have focused primarily on the property protection offered by church insurance. But while church property insurance is important, church liability insurance is equally important. 

The simple truth is that you never know when anyone, including members of your congregation, may sue you. And if they are injured due to some action or neglect that a court believes to be your fault (or another church member's fault), then the church may be held liable for damages.

This is where liability coverage comes in. Basically, your church insurance will provide protection against lawsuits in the event that somebody experienced an injury while on church property. Additionally, you will have protection in case somebody claims their property was damaged while at the church.

All it takes is a single lawsuit to put an end to your church. But with good insurance, you can put your mind at ease knowing that a lawsuit will not destroy everything you have worked so hard to build over all these years.

Automobile Insurance: More Important Than You Think

An important part of your church insurance package should be automobile coverage. Unfortunately, most church leaders don't realize why this coverage is such a big deal.

Most churches have some kind of van or bus that is used to transport church members to different destinations. These may be locations within the town or even farther destinations for things like church outings and mission trips.

A commercial auto policy for your church gives you coverage in an accident for physical damage to the vehicle, medical payments for injured passengers, and liability coverage if the church's driver was at fault.   Additionally, if you have purchased comprehensive coverage, you are also covered for incidents that don't involve a collision (fire, vandalism, falling objects, or an animal that runs out in front of you on the road).  The right insurance policy can pay for repairs and get you and your congregation back on the road before you know it!

The Importance of Insurance When It Comes to Volunteers

You might still be on the fence about getting church insurance. After all, you likely feel you can trust all of your workers. But one of the reasons insurance for churches is so important is because you likely have many different volunteers working for you.

Most churches don't have the time or resources to conduct extensive background checks on each volunteer. But this means you are taking a risk on each volunteer that you let work within your walls.

All it takes is one bad volunteer for your church to experience theft, vandalism, and other unfortunate circumstances. But when you have the proper insurance coverage, you don't have to worry about the actions of a single bad volunteer threatening the existence of your church.

The Potential For Accidents On Church Property

Earlier, we touched on the fact that liability insurance is an important part of any church policy. But how important is this kind of coverage for your own church?

To put it simply, this coverage is very important. That's because you never know who will get injured on church grounds and what they will do about it.

Older church members are more prone to slipping and falling than members of the general population. And these church members could slip on anything from a scuff in the carpet of a church hallway to an uneven section of the church parking lot.

Such injuries are not limited to older people, either. Many churches build playgrounds and other recreational areas. But all it takes is some very rambunctious playing to lead to unexpected injuries among younger church members and visitors.

Regardless of who gets injured, you never know who might blame the church and file a lawsuit. Because a single lawsuit can potentially put an end to your church, it's important to have the right church insurance to protect yourself from unwanted and unexpected lawsuits.

How Insurance Works With Church Employees

Previously, we touched on the fact that volunteers for your church may pose a unique threat to the church. But you are even more vulnerable when it comes to trusted church employees.

To be fair, this is the same kind of threat any other business would need to worry about. When it comes to things like theft, vandalism, and the destruction of property, nobody is in a better position to pull things off than one of your employees. Depending on where you keep your money and how much access an employee has, a single employee may be able to steal all of the funds that your church relies on.

Additionally, you must be cautious about lawsuits that may arise due to various employee relations. For example, employees who engage in harassment of other employees, as well as church members, may leave your church vulnerable. And even if you go out of your way to terminate bad employees, you may find yourself on the receiving end of an unexpected wrongful termination lawsuit.

Fortunately, the right policies and special coverages can help to protect you from the unexpected. With a little bit of planning and the help of the right insurance agency, you can make sure that your own church is safer than ever.

While you're at it, don't forget to look into good insurance policies to offer your employees!

Insurance Can Protect You During Mission Trips

For many churches, mission trips are a key component of their yearly activities. But as you can imagine, every mission trip represents potential legal liability and property damage for your church. You never know what might get damaged in transit as you move from one place to another. And there is also a threat of bodily damage and even kidnapping, especially when you are going on mission trips around the world.

Once more, good insurance is the key to making sure everyone is protected. Special policies can protect you from unexpected events, both foreign and domestic. And the right coverage can provide medical insurance in foreign locations and provide insurance for kidnap, ransom, and extortion when traveling in a high crime area.

You never know exactly what is going to happen on a mission trip. But with a good insurance policy, you can be assured you will be prepared for the unknown.

Your Next Move

Now you know why insurance for churches is so important. But do you know where you can find the best coverage today?

Here at the Hummel Group, we specialize in keeping your church as safe as possible. To see what we can do for you, your employees, and your congregation, just contact us today!