Does Your Church Need Insurance Coverage?
A church—the place of worship for millions of people—faces unique challenges when it comes to insurance coverage. The wide range of necessary options can be daunting. In this article, we break down some of the different coverages you should consider for your organization.
After all—a religious organization (a church, synagogue, mosque, etc.) like any non-profit or a business needs to put the proper insurance coverage in place to protect the property, leadership, and the members of the church.
In this guide:
- The different risks churches face
- Coverages churches should consider
- How to get coverage for your church
Insurance Coverages Churches Should Consider
There are a few coverages you should consider including in your church insurance policy:
- General liability Insurance: General liability coverage will typically protect the church in the event of a claim of a third-person injury or damages to someone’s personal property. It would also cover contractual liability for services provided such as room or hall rental, or other service functions performed by clergy or staff.
- Commercial Property Insurance: This insurance covers the church property including buildings, equipment, as well as other contents. It must be noted that most policies cover vandalism (willful damage to a property by a vandal) but not property damage caused in the event of a theft, so additional coverage must be considered. The details can be tricky to navigate, so be sure to talk with your insurance agent about what is or isn’t covered.
- Business Interruption Insurance: If your church is destroyed or damaged, this insurance coverage will help cover payroll, operating expenses, taxes, and debt repayment (and lost profits for some businesses).
- Business Owners Policy: A business owners policy combines general liability insurance, commercial property insurance, and sometimes business interruption insurance at a more affordable price than purchasing separately.
- Professional Liability Insurance: This protects pastors and their church if they are sued by church members for malpractice, pastoral negligence, or associated with incidences that arise from pastoral counseling. It can also be referred to as Pastoral Professional Liability or Clergy Counseling Professional Liability
- Workers’ Compensation Insurance: Each state has different requirements regarding workers’ compensation coverage. However, any staff working at the church should be covered to protect them in case of injury or illness were they to occur.
- Equipment Breakdown Coverage: Depending on the age of the church, some still use boilers to heat their buildings, but most now use furnaces. Equipment breakdown covers expenses related to heating and cooling. Equipment breakdown also covers damage to computers and phones due to electrical surges. For a full breakdown of everything covered, check out our comprehensive guide to equipment breakdown insurance.
- Theft and Vandalism: Also referred to as ‘Vandalism and Malicious Mischief Insurance’ this is a common coverage for buildings that are unoccupied for large spans of time (such as churches or schools). Adding this coverage protects your property in case of damage from theft.
- Directors and Officers Insurance: Church Directors & Officers liability coverage provides protection for leadership in the church,—such as board members or deacons—in the event the church or the individuals on the board are sued. It protects the assets of paid or unpaid staff.
- Employment Practices Liability Insurance: This protects the pastor and/or religious organizations if they are sued for discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, etc.
- Plate Glass Insurance: Many historical churches have beautiful stained glass windows. If large glass windows are broken or damaged, you must make sure they’ve been appraised properly so the right monetary coverage is written into your policy.
Why You Need Insurance for Churches
Because religious organizations face so many risks it's imperative that you get the coverage you need. Here are some examples of why one might need coverage:
Example #1: A church member arrives early for an evening service and slips on a recently cleaned floor. The parishioner twists their ankle and needs medical attention. General liability insurance helps cover the cost of their medical expenses because the incident happened on church property.
Example #2: One of your pastors was fired for some continued inappropriate interactions with parishioners. The then sue the church for wrongful termination, claiming that the allegations against them were baseless. Employment practices insurance steps in to cover the cost of the lawsuit.
Example #3: Your church receptionist handles some of the building maintenance, such as shoveling the sidewalks during the winter. Unfortunately, she slipped on some ice and broke her arm. Unfortunately the broken arm requires surgery and she is out of the office for 2 weeks. Workers' compensation insurance helps cover her medical expenses and lost wages.
What Does Church Insurance Cost?
The cost of your policy will vary depending on the type of coverage that you’re considering. Some factors that can affect cost include:
- Location of the church (state, neighborhood, etc.)
- Whether or not the building contains stained glass or antiques
- Number of employees and volunteers
- The size and age of the building(s)
There are other variables to consider, which you’ll want to talk over with your agent.
Get a Free Church Insurance Quote
We recommend working with a licensed insurance professional in determining what coverage options and liability limits need to be in place for your religious organization. Ask whether a business owner’s package is available and how the coverages discussed above can be included. You can reach out to one of our professionals by completing the form at the top of the page or calling 1-877-907-5267.
YES (Bodily Injury or Property Damage)
YES (Building and/or Contents)
YES (Pay in Full OR Payment Plans)
Low Down Payments:
YES (Flexible Payment Options)
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