Understanding General Liability Insurance Coverage

No matter how small or large a congregation is, church liabilities continue to rise. Churches of all shapes and sizes are becoming increasingly vulnerable to violent crimes, lawsuits, and other tolls taken from exposed or unknown risks. While church liability insurance is by design meant to protect against these, understanding the complexities of such policies takes guidance.

At Beacon Insurance Agency, we believe it is our mission to provide education and guidance to churches along the Gulf Coast to help your church minimize risks and understand your church liability insurance policies to the fullest, in order to give you peace of mind to focus on what is most important: nurturing your church family.

Types of Insurance for a Church: 5 Common Types of Church Coverage

1. General Liability Coverage

General liability insurance covers a church’s liability for bodily injury, property damage, and up to a certain amount of the defense costs for litigation. The standard recommendation is that churches carry at least 1 million dollars in general liability coverage.

Worth double-checking: does your general liability policy cover defense litigation costs?

2. Umbrella Insurance

Umbrella insurance coverage for a church is an add-on that can be included with other underlying policies. These policies can be purchased in any increment, can cover your church for extra risks that are not included in typical policies, and are very reasonably priced.

Worth double-checking: Does your umbrella policy cover church staff off-site, such as meeting at another’s home?

3. Pastor’s Professional

Pastor’s professional insurance coverage is an endorsement that can be added to a policy to cover for bodily injury or property damage to another party based upon the pastor’s expertise. One real-life example of risk associated with pastoral professional coverage includes pastoral counseling that was perceived to have led to the demise of a marriage or other undue consequence.

Worth double-checking: Many policies only cover the senior minister and/or pastoral staff. Since it is common for other church members to provide counseling, does your policy cover the whole church for everyone’s exposure?

4. Religious Expression

Religious expression coverage provides coverages for church leaders, including the pastor, that may express likes or dislikes of controversial topics such as biracial marriages or same-sex marriages with a resulting lawsuit.

Worth double-checking: Does your policy cover the entire church, not only the senior pastoral staff? Religious liability potentially stems from other areas of the church.

5. Violent Incident

This is a type of coverage that would pay for recovery and mitigation costs and counseling that the church may need after going through a violent incident. We have witnessed the frightening rise of violent incidents at churches most commonly in the forms of bombs or shootings.

Worth double-checking: Since violent incident policies are relatively new additions, it is worth double checking your policy to ensure your policy covers church members and staff for counseling and related mental health services that would be needed as the result of a violent incident.

At Beacon Insurance Agency, our expertise is the difference. Contact Terry, Debbi, and Faye today for an evaluation of your policies to ensure you and your church family are protected.