Top 4 Insurance Risks for Churches and How to Avoid Them
Churches are not just used on Sundays. Many churches have preschool programs, daycare operations, bible study, and even host community meetings. If there is someone on the church grounds there is always a risk of a wall, fire, bad behavior, and possibly a theft. There are many important religious items that need protection. Church insurance is open to all religious institution that are designed to be a place of worship.
Even a church needs the protection of insurance. There are four claims that churches see and what they can do to prevent these accidents from happening.
Data from the Brotherhood Mutual has stated that there are around 1,800 fires every year that happen in places of worship. These fires cost around $98 million dollars in damage. This number does not include the cost of fire damage, canceled activities, rent collected from holding meetings, and having to temporary stop community outreach programs.
Cooking is the most common cause of church fires. This is followed by malfunctioning heating system and faulty electrical wiring. Candles and arson are also common causes of fire. Church insurance will cover the fire damage as well as liability or medical claims.
Here are some tips for preventing church fires:
- Do not leave food sitting on the stove. Turn everything off when leaving the kitchen even for a minute.
- Have the HVAC system inspected and repaired on a regular basis
- Candles cause 4 percent of church fires. Be sure all candles are blown out before leaving.
- Have a fire extinguisher on every floor and have fire drills on a regular basis.
Slip and Falls
According to information from the Christian Ministries Insurance Company , payments for medical bills due to falls are the number one claim that is filed by churches. This insurance will protect the church from slips, falls, and other injuries that happened while a person was on church property.
To prevent Slip and Fall Accidents:
- Inspect walkways and outdoor surfaces often. Changes in temperature can cause cracks or make surfaces uneven.
- Linoleum and tile can be slippery when wet. Keep them dry and wipe up spills as soon as they happen.
- Make sure stairways, halls, parking lots, and walkways have proper lighting. Replace burnt out light bulbs immediately.
- Remove snow and ice as soon as possible.
Even churches are victims of thefts. The church may experience a financial loss or they can have a loss due to property damage. Church insurance will cover the stained glass windows, religious artifacts, and other items that are covered in a normal business policy.
How to Prevent Theft and Burglaries:
- Churches often have many doors open. Make sure all doors besides the main door are always locked.
- Install lights around doors, parking lots, and all entrances to the church.
- Have a security system installed . Surveillance can help prevent robberies.
Sexual Misconduct and Abuse
Unfortunately sexual abuse can happen even at a church. If someone is accused of sexual harassment or misconduct the church will be liability. They will need to pay out a claim and their insurance premium will increase.
There are some tips to help reduce the chance of sexual misconduct from happening:
- All employees and volunteers need to pass background checks
- Train all personnel how to spot misconduct and how to stop it from happening
- Train all personnel to speak up about misconduct and how to report it
- Make sure all policies are followed especially for those that will be working around children
Other Risks Churches May Face
There are other risks that are faced by churches:
In 2014 alone storms cause more than $5.4 billion in property damage. This information was provided by the National Weather Service. Hail, floods, and lightening can cause a great deal of damage. An insurance policy will help cover the costs of this damage.
Frozen pipes and leaks can cause a lot of damage to the church. Water damage can be very expensive to repair. The repair costs will be covered by the insurance.
Lightning and Electrical Surges
Computers and other electric equipment can be damaged by lightning or a power surge. The church’s insurance will cover the cost of this.
Injuries from Other Activities
Children can get hurt at daycare of a camp. An insurance policy will help cover the liability.
How Church Insurance Can Offer Protection
Religious institutes are different needs than traditional businesses. Church insurance understands the difference and will help the church find the policy that it needs. Coverage can be tailored to meet the needs of the church. Insurance options can cover but are not limited to the following:
General Liability Insurance
This coverage is included in all church insurance policies. This will protect the members of the church, the staff, officials, employees, and volunteers. This can also protect a third party if they are injured while on church grounds.
Minister and Pastor Liability Insurance
This coverage is needed for every church. This will help with counseling liability. The coverage may be extended to clergy, leadership, and non paid sanctioned volunteers.
Employee Practice Liability Insurance
This coverage is needed and be sure that both full time and part time employees are covered. If the church is sued for sexual harassment, wrongful termination, and other employee relations issues the church will be covered.
Director, Officer, and Trustee liability Coverage
The Board of Directors, trustees, and other officers are protected if a member of the church or an employee were to sue.
Ordinance or Law Insurance
If the church is older than 20 years this coverage is needed. If the building needs to be brought up to current code standards the insurance will handle it.
Religious Freedom Insurance
This will cover the church against discrimination lawsuits.
Daycare and Preschool Liability insurance
If the church has a preschool or daycare this is needed. If an unhappy parent sues the church will be protected.
This will cover the church property from damage due to storms, fires, weather, vandalism, and theft.
Inland Marine Coverage
This covered will provide protection to valuable artifacts while they are being transported or shipped to another church or a museum.
Computer Fraud Coverage
If the church is a victim of computer fraud due to the actions of a non employee this coverage will cover any losses. Employee theft coverage will cover the loss if an employee they has been bonded steals or embezzles funds from the church. The church insurance will also cover the cost of going to court and legal fees.
Be sure to contact one of our professional agents at Best Insurance to talk about a liability package that will fit your church and will be within your budget. Get quotes from church insurance companies through Best. Best can also provide additional coverage as your needs change in the future.