Here’s a fun question for the leaders in your church: what’s the worst thing imaginable that could happen to your church? And if that happened, how would the church respond? The list of horrific things that could happen probably mounts pretty fast: things like a fire that partially, or worse, completely destroys the church property, embezzlement, a leader or volunteer caught in a compromising position, a life-altering injury while changing the lights, an active shooter during a service or event, a roof leak that damages the facility, — heard enough? Sadly, going down the dark tunnel of “what ifs” is the easy part; it gets really tough when determining what happens if one or more of these catastrophes occur. Not having a plan is unacceptable; the church’s mission is too critical not to have adequate protection, which means budgeting enough money to ensure sufficient insurance coverage.
Where to Begin
When it comes to finding the right type and levels of insurance for a church, there are so many options available that you need an expert to help wade through them. Since most churches don’t have insurance experts on their staff or the luxury of a volunteer qualified to make insurance decisions, using a broker makes sense. A broker works with multiple carriers to find the best rates and coverage for the church’s specific needs. And find a broker that specializes in church coverage.
Each church has unique needs, making it important to work with a broker who takes the time to understand your church’s needs. And yes, even churches without a facility need insurance coverage. Use the following list as a guide when discussing the types of coverage when evaluating the coverage from a broker.
Property – This coverage covers the cost of repairing or rebuilding the church facility. Ensure the coverage can fund the current cost if reconstruction is necessary and cover new building or environmental codes since the original construction.
Business Content and Continuity – Where property coverage protects the structure, this covers the interior and should include items like sound equipment, computers, etc.
Financial – This coverage protects the church from employee or volunteer misconduct like theft or embezzlement.
Profession Error or Omission – This coverage can provide legal defense if accusations of negligence arise due to advice through counseling.
Liability – This coverage has a range of sub-categories that protect the church from lawsuits:
- Accidents that occur from falling, unsafe areas, etc. Include coverage for potential medical expenses that may occur
- Alleged sexual misconduct via a civil suit
- Active shooter or violent incidents to protect against claims of negligence as well as providing care for anyone injured
- Alleged misconduct against the board, officers, leaders, and even volunteers
- Unauthorized and illegal online access to private data
- Alleged discrimination based on religious expression
The list above is not all-encompassing, but it’s an excellent place to start. As each church works with a broker, they should collaboratively discover the church’s specific needs and recommend coverage limits, ultimately dictating the cost. Even in a tough economy, there are better places to trim the budget than insurance; the risk is too high.
Carrying insurance isn’t a lack of faith; it’s a way to protect the church from the potential disasters that happen more often than we want to acknowledge. Proverbs 27:12 says, “A prudent man foresees the evil, and hides himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.” It’s time for churches to listen to the wisdom in God’s Word, foresee the potential corruption in the world, and protect the church.short url: