(Because protecting your place of worship is priority number one.)
Jessica Huneck|March 10, 2020
Churches aren’t just open on Sundays and holidays. They’re often home to preschools, daycare centers, bible study groups, and community meetings all week long. And that all leads to greater risk of falls, fires, misconduct, and even theft.
Fortunately, our independent insurance agents can help you find the right church insurance policies to protect your congregants, visitors, and assets. But first, let’s shine a little light on some of the potential risks your church faces.
The 4 Biggest Risks for Churches
Churches encounter a number of different risks, but thankfully many can be minimized with the right protection. The four biggest risks include:
There are roughly 1,800 fires every year in religious properties that result in over $98 million in damages. And this doesn’t even include the indirect costs of fire damage, like canceled income-generating activities, money spent on renting meeting space, or suspension of community outreach services.
Cooking is the most common cause of church fires, followed by malfunctioning heating equipment, faulty electrical wiring, arson, and candles. Church insurance covers both fire damage and any resulting liability or medical issues.
2. Slips and falls
Definitely one of the most common risks that churches file claims for, slips and falls can happen anytime and anywhere. Your church insurance policy protects against medical bills and legal fees that come from injuries that occur on church property or at church functions.
3. Theft and burglary
Unfortunately, churches are frequent targets of burglary and theft. Both can result in financial loss and damage to valuable church property. Church insurance covers items such as stained glass windows and other religious artifacts, which may not be protected properly on a normal property policy.
4. Sexual abuse and misconduct
Sexual abuse and misconduct can happen in any business, and churches are not exempt. If you or one of your employees is accused of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, the liability portion of a church insurance policy can protect your church and its members.
Other Risks Your Church May Face
Risks for churches aren’t limited to the top four. Here are a few others:
Storm damage: In 2014, storms caused roughly $5.4 billion in property damage, according to the National Weather Service. Damage from hail, floods and lightning can be expensive. The property damage portion of a church policy will help cover those costs.
Water damage: Frozen pipes and leaking faucets can cause extensive damage to your church. Flooding and interior wall damage is common and expensive. Repair costs are covered under a church policy.
Lightning and electrical surge damage: Computers, sound systems and other electrical equipment can be damaged by a lightning strike or power surge. Insurance for churches will step in and cover the cost of repairs or replacement.
Recreational activity injuries: Children can be injured in a daycare center, camp or other recreational activity hosted by your church. A church policy will help cover medical costs and any liability issues.
How Church Insurance Helps Protect Against Claims
Houses of worship often have different insurance needs from houses of business. Church insurance understands these differences and offers a variety of liability and property coverages you can select to construct the perfect policy for your needs.
While there are a lot of options, it’s easy to tailor a policy that only includes the coverages your religious institution needs. Insurance options include:
General liability insurance: All church insurance policies include this coverage. It provides liability protection for your church members, officials, staff, volunteers, and employees. It also offers protection if third parties are injured while performing duties for the church.
Ministers and pastors liability insurance: This coverage is essential for every religious organization and offers spiritual counseling liability protection. Policy terms vary, but coverage will often extend to clergy, church leadership, and paid or non-paid sanctioned volunteers.
Employee practices liability insurance: This is another important coverage for any church. It can cover both full- and part-time paid employees and workers on stipends. If an employee sues your church for sexual harassment, discrimination, or wrongful termination, this will cover damages and legal costs.
Directors, officers, and trustees liability insurance: Your board of directors, trustees, and officers will be protected if members of your church or employees sue them.
Ordinance or law insurance: If your building is over 20 years old, this coverage is important. It will pay for the costs to bring your building up to current building codes if necessary.
Religious freedom insurance: This coverage will protect your church from discrimination suits.
Church-sponsored activities liability insurance: This coverage offers protection for off-site activities that your church may sponsor, like picnics and softball games. These are one-off policies and must be purchased separately before each event.
Daycare and preschool liability insurance: Many churches provide daycare or preschool options. This type of church liability coverage will handle any lawsuits brought by unhappy parents.
General property: Property coverage is part of all church policies and will protect church property from damages due to severe weather, fire, falling objects, vandalism, and theft.
Inland marine coverage: This coverage will protect any valuable artifacts owned by the church during transport or shipping if they are being sent to another church or museum.
Computer fraud coverage: If your church is a victim of computer fraud by a non-employee, this insurance will cover your losses.
Employee theft coverage: If an employee steals or embezzles church funds or property, this policy will cover the losses.
In each case listed above, your church liability insurance can pay for damages and related defense costs.
How to Get Insurance Coverage for Your Church
Working with an agent who is experienced in church insurance is key to fully protecting your religious institution. There’s a lot of unique risks and coverages that your agent should understand in order to get you the coverage you need without any gaps.
Trusted Choice has access to over 250,000 independent insurance agents and can find the right local agent for your needs. They’ll help you put together an insurance package that will protect your church and fit your budget.
And as your church grows and changes, they’ll be there to advise you on any recommended policy changes you may want to consider.
The Benefits of an Independent Insurance Agent
Independent insurance agents are kind of like the Google of insurance quotes. You tell them what you’re looking for, and they bring in the results. And since they aren’t tied down to one carrier, they’re free to shop around and bring multiple policy options to the table.
And it gets better, you don’t have to review the policy options alone. They’ll walk you through everything you need to know about finding the right coverage, and price, for you. But it doesn’t end with your signature.
Along the way, if something bad ever happens, they’ll handle the entire claim process for you and deal with the carrier, so you can focus on your ministry.