A house of worship is a sacred place where family, friends and community gather. Maintaining a safe, secure, and welcoming facility for your ministry comes with obvious and, at other times, unforeseeable risks.
While you would prefer your focus to be on spreading your message of faith, you may find yourself consumed with the fallout of an accident or emergency, property damage, or accusations and lawsuits without the necessary protection church insurance can provide.
Church Insurance protects against common risks
Common risks and tips on how to manage them:
Slips and Falls
At the top of the church insurance claim totem pole, you are likely to find requests for medical payment due to slips and falls.
- Any snow or ice should be removed as soon as possible and the walkway salted to prevent further freezing
- Utilize and maintain efficient lighting in hallways, stairwells, parking lots, etc.
- Make sure all indoor and outdoor surfaces are clear of water or debris and clean any spills or make any repairs as soon as possible
Our friends at Brotherhood Mutual have estimated 1,800 fires every year in religious institutions. The amount of damage done by these fires is worth roughly $98 million. Without factoring in the unforeseen consequences and missed opportunities of not being able to fully function in your facility, it becomes even more clear just how damaging and costly a fire could be to one’s church of ministry.
- Always maintain and run fire drills
- Keep fire extinguishers on all levels and easily accessible
- Have electrical equipment, furnace, HVAC, and other potential fire hazards routinely checked
- Extinguish all candles before leaving
- Never leave food cooking on a stove
Theft, Burglary, and Vandalism
Church insurance can protect buildings, signage, fences, and contents from damage or theft. This can include stained glass windows, which would not be covered in a normal business policy. As it is, churches are often targeted in these delinquent areas, so preparing yourself with the necessary coverage could limit your financial loss.
- Install security cameras on church property
- Have adequate lighting around all church entrances and exits, as well as in the parking lot
- Funnel where entrance and exit points by locking all but the front door
Sexual Abuse and Misconduct
It’s clearer than in ever that sexual misconduct and abuse can happen anywhere. While there are no winners in this scenario, the liability portion of your church insurance will respond in the event your or one of the church’s employees is accused of sexual harassment or misconduct.
- Make it a priority to execute background checks on employees and volunteers
- Educate employees and volunteers on how to notice signs of abuse and to speak up if they encounter any sexual misconduct
- Have written and established policies in place and make sure they are being followed, especially by those interacting with children
Recreational Activity Injuries
Church volunteers, children in the daycare, members in ministry-sponsored sports activities, camp participants and counselors could all fall victim to an accident at one point or another. If your church insurance includes accident insurance, it can help with medical expenses associated with hospital bills, prescription drugs and medicines, emergency room and outpatient treatment, ambulance expenses, care for dental injuries and more.
Water damage from church plumbing can cause all kinds of headaches, frustration, and unwanted expenses. Your church insurance policy can assist with these damages and return your focus to your mission.
How Church Insurance Protects Against These Risks
Your church is a specialized institution with specialized needs. A run of the mill insurance agency may not have the necessary tools to protect your building, employees, or congregation. Oberle Risk Strategies has been a leader in the church insurance sector for over 50 years and is equipped with the knowledge, experience, and markets to make sure your church or ministry has the insurance protection it needs in order to thrive.
Tailoring an insurance package comprised of different policies directed at the specific needs of your church is common practice and can be achieved after determining exposures and areas of risk. Common coverage options include:
General Liability: Protect your people and your finances from the unique risks Christian ministries face.
Employee practices liability insurance: If an employee sues your church for sexual harassment, discrimination, or wrongful termination, this will cover damages and legal costs.
Directors and officers insurance: Directors and Officers coverage provides legal defense funds and protects your leadership’s personal assets.
Ordinance insurance: Covers increased removal or construction costs because of local codes or government requirements.
Religious Freedom insurance: Your faith is your foundation. Protect belief-based decisions with Religious Freedom Protection.
Excess Liability: Excess liability coverage provides an umbrella of protection over your primary liability coverages.
General Property insurance: From songbooks to steeples — protect your finances when something is damaged, destroyed, lost, or stolen.
Equipment Failure Coverage: Whether it’s a boiler or solar panels, guard against property losses or liability issues that can occur when systems fail.
Computer Fraud Insurance: From online tithing to social media, it’s essential to safeguard your digital space and prevent breaches.
Commercial Auto Insurance: Churches and ministries use vehicles for a number of purposes - bringing meals to shut-ins, going on youth retreats, shuttling the homeless to a job interview in a ministry-furnished car. Unfortunately, the liability exposure from using a vehicle is one of the most serious risks you could have. A commercial auto insurance policy can cover the risks associated with operating a church-owned vehicle.
Workers Compensation Insurance: State law requires employers – including ministries like yours – to protect their employees with workers compensation insurance. Provide your employees with benefits from work-related injuries including medical benefits, disability benefits, rehabilitation benefits, and death benefits.
Make the Most of Your Church Insurance
The items listed above are only a sample of the specific coverages you can obtain with a tailored church insurance policy. There are other options that may not be listed but could have a profound impact on your church, including lost wage coverage, flood insurance, key person replacement coverage, specialized emotional injury liability, and more.
To find out which aspects of a church insurance policy are going to meet your needs, speak with one of our agents by calling 636.391.0700 or submit a quick and free online church insurance quote and one of our agents will be in touch soon after.