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Common Questions on Volunteer Liability and Insurance, Answered – Part 3

Volunteer Liability

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

What is volunteer insurance? There are three types of insurance designed specifically for volunteers:

  1. Accident medical – This coverage pays the medical expenses incurred when a volunteer is injured, up to the policy limit; e.g., $50,000. Coverage is available either on a primary or excess basis; excess is what most nonprofit organizations choose because it is much less expensive. (If the injured volunteer has no other available coverage, the excess policy becomes primary – paying from the first dollar, with no deductible.) Injuries to the volunteer are by far the most common kind of insurance claim involving volunteers. Coverage applies from the time the volunteer leaves home until he or she returns home following the volunteer assignment.
  2. Volunteer liability – Volunteers sometimes are held liable for accidentally injuring someone, or damaging someone’s property, during their assignment. Volunteer liability insurance pays for legal defense and/or judgments arising from the incident, up to the policy limit of $1 million per occurrence. By purchasing this separate insurance for volunteers, the nonprofit organization is free to exclude volunteers from its own general liability policy — thus preserving that policy’s entire limits of liability for the organization itself, rather than sharing them with volunteers. Volunteer liability insurance also closes significant gaps in coverage that typically exist in the general liability policy.
  3. Excess automobile liability – This coverage provides up to $500,000, if a volunteer causes a vehicle accident while volunteering and the liability limits of his or her personal auto insurance policy are insufficient for the damage done. Many volunteers carry the minimum liability limits mandated by the state, which can be exceeded quickly in a serious accident, so the excess auto liability policy can prevent a significant out-of-pocket loss for the volunteer.

For more information and to apply for volunteer insurance available through VIS, click the “VIS Volunteers Insurance” link at the bottom of our home page, or simply click here.

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!