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Common Questions on Volunteer Liability and Insurance, Answered – Part 2

Volunteer Liability

In this post, we answer some of the most common Google questions regarding volunteer engagement.

Do you need employer’s liability insurance for volunteers? “Employer’s liability” refers to the section of a workers compensation policy that covers defense costs, settlements or judgments in the event that an injured employee decides to sue the employer for negligence, rather than accept the medical payments and partial wage replacement on which the no-fault workers compensation system is based.

If volunteers are included on your workers compensation policy, the policy would respond to a volunteer’s lawsuit against you, just as it would if the suit were filed by a paid employee. However, most states do not require that volunteers be covered under workers compensation. In those states, a much less expensive alternative is to provide volunteers an accident medical policy that would pay the expenses to treat injuries they incur while on assignment – or on the way between home and the assignment. VIS offers such a policy.

If volunteers understand that treatment of their injuries will be paid for, they have much less incentive to sue the organization that engaged them. They still might do it, seeking a large award, but would have the burden of proving that the organization’s negligence caused the injury.

What if a third party sues the organization because of something a volunteer did? Volunteers can be included on the organization’s general liability policy, and usually are, at no additional premium. However, if volunteers are covered, the organization is in the position of sharing its limits of liability with volunteers, unnecessarily. The better approach is to remove volunteers from the general liability policy (easily done), and insure them separately. VIS offers an inexpensive volunteer liability policy that provides each  volunteer up to $1 million for legal defense and any judgments resulting from a claim of bodily injury, personal injury, or property damage.

Catch Common Questions on Volunteer Liability and Insurance Part 1 here if you missed it. 

About VIS

Volunteers Insurance Service Association, Inc. (VIS) was established in 1972 for the purpose of providing insurance and risk management services for volunteer-based organizations. In addition to still providing these insurance services today on a nationwide scale, we have expanded to provide noninsurance resources for members to manage their risks and improve their operations. By transferring the volunteer risk exposure to our program, we can help you protect your organization. Contact us today at (800) 222-8920 for more information on our programs and services. Join now!