Houses of worship are not just full on Sundays. They often host preschools, daycare centers, bible study groups and community meetings. All of this activity can lead to falls, fires, misconduct, and even theft. In addition to these risks, religious institutions often have significant assets that must be protected. Church insurance can help make sure your congregants, visitors and assets are fully protected. Church insurance is available to religious institutions and is a specialized package of insurance coverages that are specifically designed for houses of worship.
Churches face a variety of claim risks, but many can be minimized. Here are the top four claims for church policies and a few tips on how to prevent them.
1. Fires: According to Brotherhood Mutual data, there are roughly 1,800 fires every year in religious properties that result in over $98 million in damages. This figure doesn’t include the indirect costs of fire damage, 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 and faulty electrical wiring. Other common causes are arson and candles. Church insurance covers both fire damage and any resulting liability or medical issues.
Here are few tips on how to prevent fires in your church:
2. Slips and falls: According to Scott Stuart with Christian Ministries Insurance, “Claims for medical payment coverage are by far the Number 1 claims filed by ministries. This coverage protects against slips, falls and other injuries that occur on church property or at church functions.”
The best way to deal with slips and falls is to prevent them in the first place:
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 would be excluded from a normal business policy.
Help prevent theft and burglary by:
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 will step up.
A few tips for preventing sexual misconduct in your church:
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.
Religious institutions often have different insurance needs from regular businesses. Church insurance understands these differences and offers a variety of liability and property coverages from which you can choose to construct the perfect policy for your needs.
While there are a lot of options, it is easy to tailor a policy that only includes the coverages your religious institution needs. Insurance options include but are not limited to:
In each case listed above, your church liability insurance will provide compensation for any related court costs and legal fees.
According to Stuart, working with an agent who is experienced in church insurance is key to fully protecting your religious institution. “Church insurance is highly specialized and offers a lot of options,” warns Stuart. “Working with an inexperienced agent can leave expensive gaps in your coverage when it comes time to make a claim.”
Consult one of our Trusted Choice® agents to put together an insurance package that will protect your church and fit your budget. A church insurance company will help you compare quotes and advise you on coverage needs as your church grows and changes.