When you think of a church, it’s much more than just a physical building. A church can mean a lot to a community and parishioners who count on it as a place of worship and fellowship. So, you have to do what you can to make sure your church stays protected, and that includes getting insurance coverage. Insurance can help to reduce any financial burden and provide your church with adequate protection.
We put together a list of different types of insurance that are good to have.
General Liability Insurance
General liability will cover property damage, any injuries that occur (like a slip and fall incident), and space that is being rented for a church event.
If your local congregation owns your physical church structure, items inside of it, meeting space, or special event space — you should get property insurance. Plus, having your church’s property and belongings appraised every few years or so will help ensure that you have sufficient coverage. When it comes to property insurance for a church, that may involve a few different aspects, including:
- Inside of the church – pews, alters, artwork, stained glass windows, musical instruments, audiovisual equipment, and classroom equipment
- Outside of the church – parking lots, signs, and landscaping
- Incidents that damage the church – thefts, fires, and natural disasters, like flooding, earthquakes, and wind
You should look into your local workers’ compensation laws because they vary from state to state. This insurance may cover the church staff as well as members of church leadership that aren’t employed by the church.
While working in a church may not seem as risky as other occupations, it’s still possible for people to get sick or injured on the job. Your plan should also cover disability, rehabilitation, and death.
This covers a wide range of issues that are related to employment, including discrimination and wrongful termination.
Commercial Auto Insurance
You want to make sure that any vehicles, passengers, and drivers are properly covered by insurance. Your church may own a couple of different vehicles to transport students on youth group trips or drive elderly parishioners to church services.
Pastoral Liability Insurance
Some churches offer counseling services and/or pastoral direction. Someone could claim that they’ve been emotionally or physically affected by the pastor or religious leader’s advice.. Pastoral liability insurance is a type of professional liability insurance that would protect your leaders from this type of accusation.
Foreign Liability and Travel Insurance
This kind of insurance is important to have if your church does any mission trips that go outside of the country. The basic insurance coverage for your church might not cover any church members who leave the U.S.
Every church is different and has its own set of needs. As your church continues to grow, those needs may change. You might decide to add a new addition to the church, purchase a new sound system, run a charitable event out in the community, or bring on some new employees or volunteer workers. Any time that your church makes big changes like this, you can run it by your insurance agent to make sure your church is covered.
Dr. Tom McElheny has served as an elder and director of Christian education for three Sarasota, Florida, churches, holds advanced degrees in business and education, and is CEO of his church seating company, ChurchPlaza.