Liability Insurance Isn’t an Option for Churches, it’s a Necessity

A costly liability lawsuit can happen to anyone, including a church. It’s simple to see how a disaster such as a hurricane or a fire can impact physical items, but it’s not often that liability is a factor in this equation until the issue pops up.

Liability insurance is required for businesses and churches too. Policies geared towards non-profit organizations protect the corporation and its affiliates, employees, volunteers, and executives who work on behalf of the organization. The policies protect against property damage, personal injury, or bodily injury. The policy applies if a claimant seeks compensations due to an injury that occurred during the term of the policy and the findings must also conclude that the policyholder is liable for the claim.


Coverage in a general liability policy

A general liability policy covers a wide range of risks. Some coverages that these policies tend to include

  • Contractual liability, such as a contract signed with a third-party for the use of a facility or their services
  • Personal liability – this covers liability for concerns such as slander, libel, or false arrest or detention.
  • Operations and premises liability – this is the heart of the policy and protects against the daily operations of the organization and is what most people think of when they hear the word insurance.
  • Legal liability for fire damage – this covers third-party property, such as a private park shelter, from fire damage during occupation


Specific church-related requirements

Churches must include additional church insurance terms in their policy to cover issues such as

  • Pastoral counsel liability due to errors while offering spiritual counseling
  • Sexual misconduct liability to protect against physical or emotional injury claims due to sexual abuse
  • Cemetery operations include handling of dead bodies during temporary care, cremation, or a burial, such as if something happens while the church is responsible for it.


What isn’t covered

All insurance policies have exclusions. Some of the most common ones include

  • Liability due to use of automobiles or aircraft
  • Employment-related liabilities such as unemployment or disability benefits
  • Personal property owned by the policy holder
  • Liability due to willingly violating rights that protect against harassment or wrongful termination
  • Fines or punishment assigned as a result of gross negligence

All insurance policies are not created equal. They may seem so on the surface, until you need to file a claim and work directly with them. Take care when selecting your liability insuring company.

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