What Insurance Policies Do Religious Establishments Need?

A picture of the Putna monastery and its surrounding greenery including bushes and trees.With places of worship included in the first phase of Massachusetts’s reopening process, it brings to mind the types of coverage religious establishments need to stay protected. Religious organizations can often be the site of community events, weddings, solace, and celebration. Not only do these buildings invite an array of gatherings, but they also invite a level of liability exposure that exceeds other non-profits. To shield these sites from financial losses and protect them from unforeseen setbacks, it’s important to understand what insurance policies religious establishments need.

Business Property Insurance

While many don’t typically think of religious organizations as a business, business property insurance – a key component of business owners insurance – protects it all the same. This will cover everything from the meeting hall and parsonage to the religious artifacts and paintings within. Some sources of damage that are covered include:

  • Vandalism: The property is covered from smashed windows and spray-painted graffiti.
  • Unexpected disaster: Electrical fires, flooding, or weather-related damage are some such risks.
  • Accidental damage: This includes damage committed by visitors or workers.

Some insurance policies will offer an ordinance endorsement – similar to most homeowners insurance policies – whereby they’ll offer you a specified amount to put towards reconstructing the building to keep up with building codes.

Business Liability Insurance

This policy is necessary to cover the costs of anyone injured on their property. Since places of worship attract large groups of people, this is an important investment to ensure you are supported financially should harm befall someone. In addition, some further liability policies to consider include:

  • Employment Practices Liability: The costs and damages incurred from legal action taken by an employee accusation, such as wrongful termination or discrimination, is covered by employment practices liability.
  • Broad Scope Cyber Liability Insurance: Religious sites are targets for data breaches due to their tendency to have an unrestricted, open-door policy. This will cover the damages resulting from cyber theft.
  • Religious Freedom Protection: This policy covers the organization from emotional injury claims, discriminatory acts, and belief-based decisions.

Religious establishments can suffer liability damages from several fronts, so it’s important they find an independent insurance agent well versed in religious liability policies.

Business Crime Insurance

Since places of worship are usually non-profits that derive money from patrons, they’re sometimes the victim of theft committed by its staff, volunteers, or congregants. On top of theft, business crime insurance will cover a religious organization from robbery, fraud, and forgery and is especially useful if a member of the religious committee has been caught embezzling funds.

Pastoral Professional Liability

Religious members often turn to clergypersons for advice and guidance. Of course, although leaders often aim to provide helpful advice, there are sometimes unintentional consequences of offering guidance. For instance, if a leader offers marital advice to a couple that ends in personal or financial damage, the organization will be protected from liability. If a member of a religious congregation is negatively impacted by the counseling they received by a leader in the organization, pastoral professional liability will cover any ensuing lawsuits.

Although not considered a business by many, religious establishments benefit from many of the same policies, and given their nature, it’s beneficial given that they’re more prone to liability risks than most businesses. If you’re involved with a religious organization and wish to know how best to protect its property, TJ Woods Insurance is here to help with our expert knowledge of business insurance. Contact us today to learn more about the insurance policies religious establishments need and how to prepare for the return of members following quarantine.