Do volunteers need insurance? Many organization owners assume that volunteers have immunity in both federal and state laws. Volunteer immunity laws are common, but they almost always contain a provision that the volunteer’s immunity only applies to claims that exceed the insurance policy limits carried by the nonprofit. That means both the nonprofit and/or its volunteers need to have coverage available to provide a defense to lawsuits that have a monetary value that is less than the policy limits — and almost all of them fall within that category, such as a fender bender with minor property damage or injury. In addition, volunteer immunity laws do not prevent claims against the nonprofit brought upon by one of its volunteers.
Because of this, it’s important that nonprofits and other organizations have a separate form of insurance coverage specifically designed for their volunteers. Let’s take a closer look at why that is.
Protection Where it Counts
Yes, volunteers are an incredible asset to countless organizations and businesses, from schools and non-profits to eldercare centers and hospitals, yet they still present a wide range of risks. But why exactly do volunteers need insurance? Particularly a separate policy from the organization’s general coverage?
Volunteers need separate insurance to broaden coverage both for the organization and the volunteers. By insuring volunteers under a separate policy, you preserve the full limits of the organization’s insurance to adequately defend yourself, while providing additional insurance specifically intended to separately protect the volunteers.
Typically, standard exclusions on the general liability policy mean if you include volunteers as insureds you have eliminated a volunteer’s protection against a claim brought by another volunteer or an employee. But by removing volunteers as insureds on a standard general policy, and instead protecting them through a separate volunteer program, you preserve the volunteer’s protection in this type of claim situation.
Also, a standard business auto policy provides no protection for volunteers using their personal vehicles unless they are transporting “clients or other persons.” Insuring a nonprofit’s volunteers separately, through a proper volunteer insurance program, preserves your organization’s favorable loss experience, and may even in some cases preserve your access to broad and affordable insurance.
Are you equipped with the right kind of coverage if one of your volunteers got hurt? You will also want to protect volunteers in the event of an injury on-site or due to taking care of organization-related duties. Accident medical reimbursement coverage is considerably less expensive than including volunteers on the organization’s workers’ compensation which actually is not even an option, as it depends on state laws. When considering “do volunteers need insurance?” know that this is a common question, but you don’t want to put your organization at risk for another day.
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 today for more information on our programs and services.