Are Volunteers Covered By Public Liability Insurance?

Volunteers are included in the definition of an insured in most general liability insurance. However, what this signifies is frequently misconstrued. If a volunteer causes an accident or property damage to a resident, patient, or visitor, the volunteer will be treated as an insured under the general liability policy, which will protect them from third-party claims. The volunteer, as an insured, cannot, however, file a negligence claim against another insured (i.e., the company). In most cases, the volunteer is also ineligible to receive benefits under third-party medical costs coverage.

If you work with volunteers, ask your broker the following general liability insurance questions to acquire clarity:

  • Are my volunteers covered by my general liability policy if a third party files a negligence claim against them?
  • If one of my volunteers is harmed while helping, how will their medical bills be covered?

Many firms work with unpaid student interns who are completing a school-approved internship but aren’t always covered by the school. Before bringing on student interns, check with the educational institution to see if they are covered if they get wounded while volunteering – or if they cause someone else to get hurt. If the school offers insurance, request proof in the form of a certificate of insurance. Make sure you’re familiar with the legality of employing unpaid interns. They’ve evolved through time, and new rules now apply.

In many circumstances, the only insurance coverage available to volunteer workers in the event of an accident or injury is the coverage provided by their personal insurance plans. A personal auto policy or health insurance plans are examples of these. Discuss the problem with them and encourage them to look into what is covered under their own insurance policies in the event of an injury. This will go a long way toward establishing trust and showing that you care about their well-being.

If you often work with volunteers, you probably value their contributions and wish to safeguard them. What are your alternatives, though?

If your state or insurer covers volunteers under workers’ compensation, the next step is to see if your policy has been endorsed with the coverage.

If your state does not allow volunteer workers to be covered by workers’ compensation insurance, talk to your insurance broker about adding a volunteer-accident medical insurance policy that pays medical bills (or deductibles and co-pays if covered under another plan) if they are injured while volunteering.

Another alternative is to have volunteers sign disclaimers and hold-harmless agreements, informing them that you would not be providing insurance and that they must bear the risks themselves by obtaining their own or utilizing current coverage. While most nonprofit organizations would prefer not to pursue this route, it may be the most judicious and cost-effective.

Volunteers give their time, talent, energy, and connections to a wide variety of businesses and organizations. As a result, they’re a valuable, unique resource that needs to be protected.

Does public liability cover voluntary workers?

Volunteer insurance exists to cover both you and the volunteers who work for you, whether you run a charity, a non-profit, or frequent live events. Volunteers are often the most vital component of any organization, from ticket collectors at music festivals to continuing charity work, and they need to be protected from accidents. Volunteer insurance will cover them for personal injuries, and if you don’t have the correct coverage in place, you and your organization will be at a major disadvantage. This specific insurance will be a must-have if you want to attract the right volunteers and keep your most important volunteers safe and secure.

Did you know?

  • There are an estimated one billion volunteer workers in the world, with little over six million in Australia. (Australian Volunteering)
  • Volunteer labour generates around $290 billion in revenue for the Australian economy. (Australian Pro Bono)
  • According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2020 census, male and female volunteering rates were 23 percent and 26 percent, respectively. People in their 40s and 50s made up the largest group of people who did volunteer work through an organization. (According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics)

What does it cover?

Volunteer insurance is not the same as employee insurance, and you should be aware of the protection you’re foregoing if your community group, non-profit, church, or charity relies on volunteers. You will be covered for the following things if you volunteer for insurance: Personal injuries: If a volunteer is wounded while participating in an authorized volunteer activity, they will be protected and may be eligible for weekly benefits until they recover. This safeguards volunteers who are also working, as they may lose out on their regular pay if they are hurt while volunteering. It can even cover expenses incurred as a result of the event, such as hospital bills. Public liability is also covered via a well-tailored volunteer policy. This type of policy will serve a broader purpose, providing coverage for the organization, any paid workers, and volunteers in the event of third-party bodily injury or property damage. Because not all volunteer insurance include public liability, you should double-check your coverage with your carrier. Voluntary Boards: If your directors and board members are all volunteers, you should consider adding Professional Indemnity Liability to your policy. This safeguards directors and officers against volunteer negligence, defamation, slander, and sexual harassment. This isn’t normally covered by a standard volunteer insurance coverage, but it could be a good addition if you have high-ranking professional volunteers.

Are volunteers covered by employers liability?

Employers’ liability insurance is required by law for all volunteers and employees who are not family members of the organization.

Employers’ liability insurance covers the costs of compensating volunteers and employees who are hurt on the job or become ill as a result of their employment.

Check with your insurance company to ensure that your employer’s liability policy includes everyone who works for your non-profit.

Are volunteers covered under a GL policy?

Volunteers can and typically are covered under the organization’s general liability policy at no additional cost. If volunteers are protected, however, the organization will be forced to share its liability limitations with them unnecessarily.

What is volunteer liability insurance?

You’ll need volunteer liability insurance to protect yourself. If you are careless and cause harm to another person while offering your services, this coverage will protect you.

Do volunteer organisations need insurance?

All volunteer-related organizations should have proper insurance in place to protect their volunteers, according to us. This entails double-checking that existing plans, such as public liability insurance, cover volunteers.

Do volunteer groups need insurance?

All nonprofit organizations, including community groups, require adequate insurance coverage. Unexpected events can happen to even the most cautious and careful community groupings; certain mishaps and catastrophes are simply unavoidable. While each group is unique, all are vulnerable to costly claims if the appropriate insurance coverage is not in place.

Here’s a quick rundown of the many types of insurance available to community groups, as well as what each one covers.

Trustee indemnity insurance

Trustees can be held accountable for poor decisions or improper conduct if they create a loss to the organization, regardless of their good intentions. Defending a trustee against disqualification, investigations, or extradition actions is covered by trustee indemnity insurance. Trustees should seriously consider this insurance; without it, if they are accused of mismanagement, they may be forced to defend the claim out of their own personal assets.

Professional indemnity insurance

This insurance protects your company from financial losses caused by poor or negligent advise given to its customers. If your organization gives guidance, such as counseling sessions, it is often deemed necessary coverage. It pays for the claimant’s legal costs in defending the claim, as well as any compensation or damages owed to him.

Public and product liability insurance

All community organizations that interact with the general public should consider purchasing public liability insurance. It’s a low-cost insurance policy that protects you from third-party injury claims. This may happen if someone tripped over an unsecured wire during an event, or if a guest was chastised by a kettle that was knocked over.

Damage to third-party property is also covered by public liability insurance; for example, if carpets were irrevocably destroyed or walls were badly marked after your group rented a space. Before permitting your organisation to rent a space or perform an event, most landlords or local governments may require public liability insurance.

Employer’s liability insurance

Employer’s liability insurance is a legal necessity if your community organisation has employees. It protects your company from claims of injury or illness sustained by employees while on the job. Your organization could face a punishment of up to £2,500 for each day it is uninsured if you don’t have it. Volunteers are covered by employer’s liability insurance by most insurers, including Markel; nevertheless, other insurers cover volunteers under public liability insurance. Check your policy language or contact your insurer/broker if you’re unsure which insurance they’re covered under.

Property damage insurance

If your organization has a building, this insurance protects the structure as well as its contents, such as stock and computer equipment, against fire, theft, water, and other disasters.

Still perplexed? Check out our charity insurance decision tree for a simple, step-by-step guide to the many types of insurance available to your organization, or learn more about charity insurance.

Does D&O cover volunteers?

Board members can make decisions without fear of being personally liable for any connected lawsuit costs thanks to directors and officers (D&O) liability insurance. Although such coverage is typical in the commercial world, it is less common in the not-for-profit sector. Nonprofits may believe that their charity objective and volunteer board members’ good intentions shield them from legal action. These assumptions could be incorrect.

Here are some often asked questions to help you figure out if your board needs D&O insurance:

Who is it intended for? A policy can help your organization and its essential persons, such as directors, officials, employees, and even volunteers and committee members, stay safe.

What exactly does it include? D&O insurance typically covers charges of improper acts, errors, false statements, neglect, or breaches of duty in the course of a person’s job. Here are several examples:

Are there any restrictions on coverage? D&O plans are claims-made, which means that even if the alleged wrongful act occurs outside of the policy period, the insurer will pay for claims filed during the policy period. On the other hand, D&O insurance does not cover lawsuits filed after a policyholder cancels, even if the alleged act occurred while the policy was in effect.

What if our policy has been terminated or expired and we need to file a claim? If you purchased extended reporting period (ERP) coverage, you may still be covered. It usually covers newly filed claims for claimed activities that happened during the policy period.

How do we go about filing a claim? If your organization is served with a legal complaint, contact your insurer to see if the case is insurable and covers defense costs. In addition to covering judgements against the insured, most policies reimburse the insured for reasonable defense costs.

What are the best ways to keep costs down? Consider the persons and behaviors that should be covered, as well as the level of protection you require — and do not require. For example, you probably don’t need coverage for bodily injury or property damage because general liability and workers’ compensation insurance normally cover these claims. D&O premiums, like other insurance policies, are likely to be lower if you choose bigger deductibles.

Is public liability insurance a legal requirement?

It is not necessary to have public liability insurance. In actuality, in the United Kingdom, the only mandatory insurance is employers’ liability insurance, which is required by law for most firms that employ people.

While it isn’t required by law, you should consider include public liability coverage in your company insurance policy regardless, since it can protect you if someone sues you for personal injury or property damage caused by your firm.

It works in two ways: if you have a business location where customers come to see you, public liability can kick in if one of your customers trips and injures themselves.

If, on the other hand, your business is open to the public, public liability insurance can protect you if you damage a member of the public while doing your duties.

Businesses that buy public liability insurance

Despite the fact that public liability insurance isn’t required, there are a lot of firms that could benefit from having one.

If you do business in public or allow people to visit your location – whether it’s your kitchen or a corporate office – you should consider public liability insurance.

Whether you’re a painter and decorator, a home baker, or something in between, public liability insurance can protect you financially and legally in the event of an accident.

Public liability insurance may be needed by your client contracts at times, and some businesses are required to carry a particular level of business insurance by their regulator or membership body.

Does a charity need employers liability insurance?

Employers’ liability insurance for nonprofits is a no-brainer. You’re legally compelled to have it if your company employs employees in any shape or form. Even if you only have one employee (other than you).

Only if your employee is a close relative is there an exemption. Let’s say you start a charity and then hire your wife or husband.

It also doesn’t matter if you’re a non-profit organization rather than a corporation. You still have a legal responsibility to the people who put in the hours and make your charity run smoothly under UK law.

Which of the following is included under workers compensation insurance?

Workers’ compensation insurance, often known as workman’s comp, covers employees who are hurt or sick as a result of their job. Disability benefits, wage replacement benefits, and death benefits are also included. Workers’ compensation also decreases your liability for accidents and illnesses that occur on the job.