Insurance for Volunteers: Is Your Current Policy Enough?

If you’re running a non-profit organization, you have a heart for others. You want nothing more than to see improvement in life be it in people or animals or even the environment.

Often your heart is on your mission and not on the details of the organization in the non-profit. You think the best of people, and you picture things going just right. You don’t imagine accidents or lawsuits or the loss of your non-profit dream because of such potential disasters.

Do you have enough insurance to cover the volunteers at your non-profit? Have you considered what you’d do if someone sustained an injury while volunteering for your organization?

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about insurance for volunteers.

Risk Management For Volunteers

Volunteers often take on a significant risk. They’re willing to do things out of the goodness of their hearts, and thus you can sustain more risk by having volunteers.

Furthermore, often volunteers come into positions inadequately trained. They may have some experience in the areas where they’re working, but they do not have formal training or education which could help mitigate the risks they’re taking.

Additionally, budgets are usually tight for non-profits.  Few non-profits can afford to hire a professional risk manager to assess the risks they’re taking with volunteers. A risk manager can pinpoint the areas where the highest risks occur and then minimize the risks and potential liability.

So, you need to ask yourself, do you have adequate insurance coverage for volunteers if something should happen?

Make sure you ask these critical insurance questions before you move ahead in your nonprofit.

Insurance Does Not Cover Volunteers

Many states require businesses to have workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. So you may automatically assume your insurance covers your volunteers as well.

Do not make this assumption. Because volunteers are volunteering their time and resources, they do not typically fall under your workers’ compensation policy. After all, the policy is for your workers, and not your volunteers.

Often companies do not realize their policies don’t cover volunteers until their volunteers sustain an injury. Take time to ask your insurance broker if you have adequate coverage for your volunteers. If you don’t have adequate coverage, then ask about your options.

State’s Workers’ Comp Does Not Apply

Each state has its own workers’ compensation regulations. Many states require individual businesses to carry workers’ compensation, but this does not necessarily apply to volunteers.

States will treat paid employees and volunteers differently. Thus, even though you’re complying with your state’s requirements for insurance, the insurance policy may not cover your volunteers.

Ask yourself this question: who will pay for medical bills if a volunteer sustains an injury? Who will pay for medical bills if the volunteer sustains an injury on your property?

Inadequate General Liability

It’s also a good idea to check into your general liability insurance. Read it thoroughly and understand what it covers.  Typically, general liability policies cover things like property damage or more “general” types of issues.  Filing an accident claim against your general liability policy will typically result in higher premiums.  It can be costly to file accident claims against your general liability policy.

That’s where accident and health insurance comes in to play. The accident policy can cover those out of pocket medical expenses – usually regardless of fault – and keep the claims off of your general liability policy.  Also, having an accident policy means the injured volunteer will have an option to get reimbursed and will be less likely to file suit against you.

Volunteers Don’t Have Their Own Insurance

We all like to assume that individuals have their own insurance. Unpaid student interns, for example, rarely have their own insurance.

When you have uninsureds (like students) in your facility volunteering, ask their school if the school provides coverage should a student sustain an injury or cause an injury while volunteering. Ask for physical evidence such as a certificate of insurance.

Then research the legal requirements and risks of hiring unpaid interns.

Before you bring in an intern or student volunteer, have a conversation about the risks they’re taking. Encourage your volunteers to look into their own personal insurance plans to see how they’re covered if an accident or injury occurs. Often the only insurance that will cover them is their own health insurance or personal auto policy.

When you have this conversation, you will build trust with your volunteers and show them you care about their wellbeing.

Acquire Insurance For Volunteers

No matter what way you look at it, you’ll save yourself a world of hurt and financial pain if you make sure you have adequate insurance for volunteers. You may even save your non-profit.

Use the same passion that you have for your cause to care for your volunteers. You will keep your business and non-profit alive by protecting yourself and your volunteers. Do you need an insurance evaluation? Contact us. We understand that insurance gives people peace of mind. We want to do that for you. Give us a call today.

These posts are for informational purposes only and should not be considered as specific financial, legal or tax advice. Depending on your individual circumstances, the strategies discussed in this post may not be appropriate for your situation. Always consult your legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. In providing such information, Great American does not warrant that all potential hazards or conditions have been evaluated or can be controlled. The liability of Great American Insurance Company is limited to the terms, limits and conditions of the insurance policies underwritten.  © 2024 Great American Insurance Company. All Rights Reserved. Great American Insurance Group’s member companies are subsidiaries of American Financial Group, Inc. (AFG). AFG is a holding company whose common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Policies are underwritten by Great American Insurance Company, an authorized insurer in all 50 states and the DC. Please see Great American Insurance Company’s Legal Disclosures/Terms and Conditions here.

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