Like any business, churches need insurance to protect their assets, but getting coverage isn’t as simple as asking an agent for church insurance. Insurance for churches is actually several policies, each designed for a specific risk. For instance, most churches need general liability insurance and can get it for $400 to $550 per year.
Insurance 321 makes it easy to get insurance for churches, mosques, and other religious organizations. All you have to do is supply basic information, and Insurance 321 matches you to a provider that can provide affordable insurance for your organization. Get a quote online in as little as four minutes.
How Insurance for Churches Works
Insurance for churches and other religious organizations is comprised of multiple policies that cover a variety of risks. Churches pick policies that match their specific risks. Most organizations start with a business owner’s policy (BOP) that covers third-party lawsuits and damage to church property. BOPs for churches typically cost $500 to $700 per year.
BOPs combine general liability and commercial property insurance. General liability covers third-party lawsuits over property damage and physical injury, like when a parishioner is injured slipping on a wet floor. Commercial property pays to repair or replace church-owned property when it’s damaged, like roof repairs after a major storm.
When insurers combine these policies in a BOP, they can usually offer them for a lower rate. Plus, getting them in a package is usually more convenient and easier to manage. You only have to pay one premium, remember one expiration date, and work with a single provider. Contact Insurance 321 to get a free, no obligation church insurance quote in minutes.
Top Church Insurance Companies
|Insurance 321||Churches that want to get insurance fast and reduce the chances of declines|
|State Farm||Churches that want to work with an agent to get broad coverage|
|Brotherhood Mutual||Christian churches that want liability, property, and medical coverage for overseas missions|
|Church Mutual Insurance||Churches that want no-obligation personalized risk assessment|
|Gateway Specialty Insurance||Churches that want multiple options for tailoring coverage|
Churches, synagogues, mosques, and other religious organizations face a unique set of risks—everything from equipment breakdown to allegations of pastoral misconduct—so we focused mainly on specialty carriers. These church insurance companies have industry knowledge, and that means they can typically offer coverage that provides sufficient protection at an affordable rate.
Insurance 321 is a leading online insurance marketplace that connects churches, temples, mosques, and other religious institutions with insurance providers that can offer them coverage. Their goal is to make applying for insurance hassle free, and they do it by matching carrier appetite to specific risks, increasing the chance that you’ll get the coverage you need.
Getting insurance for churches and other religious organizations can be tricky. Common risks in the industry, like older buildings, high-value artifacts, and high expectations among congregants, makes church insurance difficult to find. Insurance 321’s model simplifies the process and reduces the likelihood of a decline, so you can get covered fast.
State Farm is a huge insurance company. They have over 65,000 employees, 83 million policies, and accounts across the U.S. That size, however, is balanced by the personalized attention you get when you work with one of their 19,000 agents.
A State Farm agent can walk you through their broad coverage options for religious organizations. In addition to property and liability, State Farm includes coverage for employee dishonesty, equipment breakdown, and sewer backups. Plus, you can customize your policy with coverage for cemetery liability, data breaches, and hired autos.
Brotherhood Mutual has been in the business of insuring Christian churches for over 100 years. They sell their products through 350 independent agents who are trained to evaluate ministry structures, liabilities, and risks so they can find churches the appropriate coverage.
One unique option from Brotherhood Mutual is coverage for overseas missions. Highlights include international coverage for liability lawsuits, ministry-owned properties and vehicles, medical payments for injured workers, and political evacuations.
Church Mutual Insurance
Church Mutual insures more religious institutions than any other insurance company in the U.S. They offer property and liability insurance specifically designed for common church exposures, including a multi-peril property policy that includes equipment breakdown and professional liability for counselors, educators, directors, and officers.
In addition to their broad coverage options, Church Mutual offers a free, no-obligation risk analysis. The company will send a representative to your facility to learn about it, your ministry, and your exposures. They will even establish a value for your building based on current construction cost so you can determine if you’re adequately insured.
Gateway Specialty Insurance
Gateway Specialty Insurance is a Berkshire Hathaway-owned brokerage that partners with 17 insurance carriers to provide quality insurance to niche markets. They focus on nonprofits, including religious organizations of all types.
Their experience with nonprofit organizations and relationships with specialty insurers means Gateway Specialty can tailor your church insurance to meet your specific needs. On top of the common insurance policies for churches, you can add coverage for equipment breakdown, business income, and special events.
Who Needs Church Insurance
We’re using the term “church insurance” very broadly. In practice, church insurance applies to religious organizations of all stripes, including mosques, temples, and synagogues. It can even be appropriate for some non-traditional practices, too. Essentially, religious organizations need insurance because they interact with people, often own property, and need to protect their assets.
Here are a few less common types of spiritual practices that may require insurance:
- Traveling preacher – Preachers who move between locations most likely need the policies listed below, plus inland marine insurance. It covers property in transit.
- Home churches – An informal prayer circle is usually covered by homeowner’s insurance, but home churches that take donations or are connected to a larger organization needs church insurance.
- Yoga, tai chi, and meditation practices – Spiritual practices like these most likely need business insurance. Read more in our Pilates & Yoga Insurance Guide.
Religious organizations and spiritual practices may be nonprofits, but they are still businesses and need insurance, just like any other business.
Types of Insurance for Churches
Church insurance is made up of a number of policies. Two of the most common are general liability and commercial property. These policies are often rolled into a single package called a business owner’s policy, or BOP. When they’re combined, they usually cost less. Churches that qualify for a BOP typically pay between $500 and $750 per year.
Most Common Types of Church Insurance
|Type of Insurance||What It Covers|
|General liability insurance||Third-party claims of bodily harm and property damage|
|Commercial property insurance||Insured value of business-owned property|
|Pastoral professional liability insurance||Allegations of professional negligence|
|Directors and officers insurance||Board members’ legal defense when they are sued for actions they take for your organization|
|Commercial auto insurance||Costs associated with accidents in church-owned vehicles|
|Workers’ compensation insurance||Employees’ lost wages and medical bills for work-related accidents and illnesses|
|Abuse and molestation insurance||Accusations of sexual misconduct in a civil lawsuit|
General Liability Insurance for Churches
General liability insurance pays for third-party claims of property damage and physical injury. Third parties are basically people who don’t work for your organization. The most common example may be congregants, but anyone who visits your church can be a third party, including delivery people and event attendees.
For instance, general liability pays out if:
- A churchgoer trips on your broken stairs
- Your candles start a fire in a rented worship space
- A volunteer accidentally drops a council member’s laptop
In cases like these, general liability typically pays medical and repair bills or legal fees if the injured party sues.
Commercial Property Insurance for Churches
Commercial property insurance covers church-owned buildings and their contents, including furnishings, fixtures, and equipment. When these items are damaged in a covered event, property insurance pays the insured value, minus your deductible, so you can have the items repaired.
Here are a few events that commercial property insurance usually covers:
- Burst pipes
Churches may have additional property exposures to consider. For instance, outdoor signs, valuable art, and landscaping need to be insured. Commercial property insurance usually includes these, but you want to put the appropriate value on them so you know you have sufficient coverage.
Pastoral Professional Liability Insurance for Churches
Pastoral professional liability insurance is a type of professional liability coverage designed specifically for clergy. It covers accusations of negligence in pastoral care. Most policies only cover ordained clergy and religious or spiritual counseling. That can include one-on-one and small group counseling or guidance given during a service.
For example, pastoral professional care might pay for your defense in these situations:
- A couple claims your failure to provide spiritual guidance led to their divorce
- A congregant claims advice in your sermon caused them to make a bad investment
- A member of a prayer group claims your words caused emotional damage
Pastoral professional liability insurance covers these events by paying for your legal defense. It often pays your lawyer’s fees, court costs, and court-ordered awards or settlements.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Churches
Workers’ compensation is a state-mandated insurance policy that comes in two parts. Part one covers employees’ medical bills and lost wages after on-the-job injuries and work-related illnesses. And if an injured employee claims your negligence caused their injuries, part two pays for your legal defense.
For example, workers’ compensation may cover doctors’ bills and a portion of an employee’s wages if they can’t work after:
- Falling from a ladder while decorating the synagogue
- Surgery for a repetitive strain injury like carpal tunnel
- Suffering lung disease after exposure to asbestos
There are two workers’ compensation concerns that many religious organizations need to pay attention to. The first is overseas employees. They usually aren’t covered by workers’ compensation insurance, but churches with foreign ministries can sometimes add voluntary compensation endorsements for overseas staff.
The second is volunteers. Laws vary by state, but most policies don’t include volunteers. Plus, voluntary compensation riders don’t apply to them either, so you may want to ask your agent about volunteer accident medical insurance.
Commercial Auto Insurance for Churches
Commercial auto insurance covers church-owned cars, trucks, and vans. Most states require businesses to carry liability coverage to pay damages they cause in accidents. But you can add other coverages.
Here are a few of the coverages you can add to commercial auto insurance:
- Medical payments – Covers medical expenses for you, your insured driver, and passenger, no matter who is at fault.
- Collision – Covers damage to your church-owned vehicles caused by an accident.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorists – Covers medical expenses and property damage caused by a driver who either doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance.
- Comprehensive – Covers damage to your church-owned vehicles that is caused by something other than a collision.
- Roadside assistance – Covers the cost of roadside assistance, like tows.
- Hired and non-owned auto – Covers your liability in cars you lease, hire, or borrow.
Commercial car insurance follows your autos. However, overseas mission trips may not have coverage through standard policies. Ask your agent about options for the vehicles your church owns or uses in other countries.
Abuse & Molestation Insurance for Churches
Abuse and molestation insurance covers accusations of sexual misconduct by church employees. These policies seldom cover the criminal aspect, but they do protect your church by covering the cost of a civil trial.
Some abuse and molestation policies cover a civil trial whether the allegations are true or false. Others may only cover your church as the employer but not the alleged perpetrator, or require you to pay back legal fees if the perpetrator is found guilty. There are a lot of variations in the coverage, so it’s important to ask questions before you buy a policy.
Church Insurance Costs
No two religious institutions are alike, so the insurance costs for churches, temples, and mosques can vary greatly. However, small churches can often keep costs down by going through an insurer that specializes in religious organizations and offers packages that group common policies together. One example is a BOP, which typically costs $500 to $700.
Church Insurance Costs & Deductibles by Coverage Type
|General liability insurance|
|Pastoral professional liability insurance|
|Directors & officers insurance (D&O)|
|Abuse & molestation insurance|
*General liability coverage doesn’t usually require a deductible. However, you may be able to request one to keep your costs down.
The chart shows the typical premiums for churches with less than 300 members. General liability, pastoral liability, and directors and officers (D&O) are listed with two limits. The first is the amount insurers pay for any one claim; the second is the total for the policy term. Abuse and molestation coverage are listed as sublimits because they can be added to general liability.
The size of your congregation impacts your premium for liability coverages, but so does:
- The size of your board – More board members require more insurance because it increases your risk of a lawsuit.
- Your claims history – Insurers consider how often you’ve made claims in the past when they set your premium. You can reduce your claims with insurance waivers and other risk management techniques.
- The services you provide – Group and individual counseling service can increase your premium, but so can other ministries, like food pantries, daycare, and mission trips.
Tips on Getting Insurance for Churches
Getting the appropriate coverage is essential for protecting your organization. These tips can help.
1. Work with a Broker or a Specialty Insurer
Church insurance has a lot of variables, like mission trips, charity programs, and youth programs. Each presents additional risks, and you want to work with a provider that understands them. Insurers that specialize in church insurance are a good option, but so are independent brokers. They can quote multiple insurers so you can compare costs.
2. Remember Your Volunteers
Volunteers can present tricky coverage situations. For the most part, the accidents they cause are covered by your general liability. But what happens when they suffer injuries? In some states, you can to add them to your workers’ compensation insurance. If your state law prohibits that, you may want to get volunteer accident medical expense coverage.
3. Inventory of Your Property
Setting the appropriate property limits is crucial for two reasons. First, you want to make sure you have enough coverage in case something happens. But standard commercial property insurance usually requires the insured to carry coverage of at least 80% of the total value. Take an inventory of every item you want to insure so you know how much insurance you need.
4. Conduct a Regular Insurance Review
Once you have coverage, you need to review it regularly. That way, you can be sure that you aren’t overinsured or underinsured. Most church insurance companies offer services at renewal time to help you get the coverage you need; however, Nick Colson, of the Compass Insurance Agency, notes you may want a member of your congregation involved, too.
“A professional belonging to the church should be conducting an insurance review every six to 12 months. Every church is unique and carries specific risks. Because of this, having someone who has closer ties to the churches reviewing the insurance policy is very beneficial.”
Church Insurance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Religious institutions operate in a lot of different ways. And because there are so many different types, there are also a lot of questions about insurance for churches, mosques, and temples. We’ve listed a few of the common questions here. But if you don’t see yours, try posting it in our forum.
Who Pays for a Volunteer’s Injury?
Volunteers are usually listed as insureds on general liability policies. That means injuries they cause are covered, but injuries they suffer aren’t. Some states let you add coverage for volunteers as a rider to workers’ compensation. If yours isn’t one of them, you may want to ask your agent about a volunteer accident medical expense policy.
Why Does My Board of Directors Need D&O Insurance?
Board members aren’t covered by your church’s general or professional liability policies, so getting directors and officers insurance makes sense. Without D&O, your board would be stuck paying all of their legal fees in a lawsuit over their duties as board members. D&O insurance protects them and makes serving on your board more attractive.
Does Church Insurance Cover High-Value Artifacts?
Churches with high-value artifacts should consider adding fine arts endorsements to their property coverage. Most standard commercial property policies don’t allow replacement cost value coverage for these items, and they often exclude perils that art is particularly susceptible to, like temperature change or fungus.
Does Church Insurance Cover Fundraisers?
Churches that host special events, like fundraisers or conferences, may need additional event insurance. It all depends on what’s in your general liability insurance. You may have enough for a small luncheon but not a large gala. However, insurers that specializes in church insurance often include coverage for special events in their policies.
Religious organizations face risks, just like any other business. In fact, they may have a greater likelihood of being sued simply because of laypeople’s high expectations. Most churches would struggle to survive an expensive lawsuit, and that makes insurance for churches, synagogues, and other religious institutions essential.
Insurance 321 makes getting church insurance simple. All you have to do is supply your business contact information and a representative calls to evaluate your risk. They can then match your church to a carrier or agent who can get church insurance quotes in just minutes.