Volunteering is a rewarding experience that allows individuals to give back to their communities and support causes they are passionate about. However, volunteering can also expose individuals and organizations to potential risks and liabilities. To protect volunteers and the organizations they work with, it is important to understand volunteer liability insurance.
In this article, we will explore what volunteer liability insurance is and why it is important for individuals and organizations that work with volunteers. We will also discuss the common risks and liabilities associated with volunteering, what volunteer liability insurance covers, and how to choose the right policy for your organization.
What is Volunteer Liability Insurance?
According to the United States Census Bureau, between September 2020 and 2021, during the peak of the pandemic, approximately 124.7 million people, or almost 51% of the U.S. population aged 16 and above, provided informal assistance to their neighbors.
Additionally, over 60.7 million people, or more than 23% of individuals in this age group, reported formal volunteering through an organization during the same time frame.
Volunteer liability insurance offers coverage for individuals and organizations against claims and lawsuits that may arise from volunteer work. It is designed to protect volunteers and organizations from the financial consequences of accidents, injuries, or damages that may occur while volunteering.
This type of insurance covers legal fees, settlements, and judgments that may arise from claims of negligence, injury, or property damage resulting from volunteer work.
Who Needs Volunteer Liability Insurance?
Volunteer liability insurance is a must for any organization that works with volunteers. This includes non-profits, churches, and schools that have youth groups or sports teams.
It’s also important for individuals who are volunteering their time at a non-profit or charity organization.
Why Is Volunteer Liability Insurance Important?
Insurance for volunteers is important for individuals and organizations that work with volunteers because it protects against potential risks and liabilities. Volunteers may be exposed to various hazards, including accidents, injuries, and property damage.
According to VIS, a volunteer insurance and risk management service, without proper insurance, individuals and organizations may be held financially responsible for legal fees, settlements, and judgments resulting from these hazards. VIS states that volunteer liability insurance offers financial protection and can help individuals and organizations continue their work without interruption.
Additionally, volunteer liability insurance can help organizations attract and retain volunteers by providing a sense of security and protection.
What Are the Common Risks and Liabilities Associated With Volunteering?
Volunteers may be exposed to physical hazards, such as accidents or injuries while performing tasks. They may also cause property damage or injuries to others while volunteering.
Additionally, volunteers may be accused of wrongdoings, such as discrimination or harassment. These risks can result in legal claims or lawsuits that may cause financial harm to individuals or organizations.
It is important to identify potential risks associated with volunteering and take steps to mitigate them, including obtaining volunteer liability insurance.
How Does Volunteer Liability Insurance Protect Volunteers and Organizations?
According to the Nonprofit Risk Management Center, many of the approximately 90 million Americans who volunteer each year are concerned about the possibility of facing personal liability for their service.
Volunteer board members, in particular, may be at risk of being sued for alleged wrongful employment practices, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and other legal claims. Additionally, volunteer service providers may face lawsuits that allege negligence or gross negligence in their care for clients.
Volunteer liability insurance protects both volunteers and the organizations they work with by providing coverage for potential risks and liabilities that may arise from volunteer work. For example, if a volunteer causes property damage or injury to someone while volunteering, volunteer liability insurance can provide financial protection against claims and lawsuits resulting from these incidents.
This type of insurance can also provide defense costs, such as hiring lawyers or investigators, and may offer additional benefits, such as crisis management or reputational damage coverage.
By obtaining volunteer liability insurance, individuals and organizations can protect themselves and their volunteers from potential financial harm and ensure that they can continue their work without interruption.
What Are the Differences Between Volunteer Liability Insurance and Other Types of Insurance?
According to Volgistics, nonprofit organizations often rely on volunteers to achieve their objectives. While volunteers are an excellent resource, they can also pose a liability.
In numerous states, volunteers are not included in workers’ compensation insurance, except for those who provide emergency services. Fortunately, a policy tailored to provide comparable coverage to workers’ compensation insurance is available specifically for volunteers.
Volunteer liability insurance is specifically designed to protect volunteers and organizations from claims and lawsuits that may arise from volunteer work. General liability insurance, on the other hand, provides coverage for bodily injury or property damage that may occur as a result of an organization’s operations or products, while professional liability insurance covers claims of negligence or errors in professional services.
While general and professional liability insurance may provide some coverage for volunteer work, they may not offer comprehensive protection for the unique risks associated with volunteering.
Therefore, individuals and organizations that work with volunteers should consider obtaining separate volunteer liability insurance to ensure adequate coverage for their needs.
How Do You Choose the Right Volunteer Liability Insurance Policy?
When choosing a volunteer liability insurance policy for your organization, there are several factors to consider. First, review the policy coverage to ensure it provides adequate protection for your organization and volunteers.
Second, consider the insurance provider’s reputation and financial stability. Third, evaluate the policy limits and deductibles to ensure they are appropriate for your organization’s needs. Fourth, compare the policy costs and benefits with those of other insurance providers to ensure you are getting the best value for your money.
Finally, consult with an insurance broker or professional to ensure you understand the policy terms and make an informed decision.
Volunteer liability insurance is essential for individuals and organizations that work with volunteers. It protects against potential risks and liabilities that may arise from volunteer work, such as accidents, injuries, and property damage.
Obtaining volunteer liability insurance can help individuals and organizations continue their work without interruption and can provide volunteers with a sense of security and protection while volunteering.
Additionally, managing risks and liabilities when working with volunteers involves taking proactive steps to prevent incidents and mitigate potential harm, including obtaining volunteer liability insurance and implementing best practices to create a safer volunteering environment.