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Do Nonprofits Need Insurance?

by Miriam - May 28th, 2013.
Filed under: Nonprofit.

Question:  My new nonprofit has a mission of promoting and encouraging folks to discover their local historic treasures.  We are sponsoring guided and unguided walks, including weekend activities.  Do we need insurance, and what kind of insurance do we need?

ANSWER:  All Nonprofit organizations should develop a relationship with a friendly insurance person, so he/she can offer some guidance on what works best for you.  Nonprofits are varied and unique, and insurance policies may need tailoring to sufficiently cover the organization and its members and board of directors.

Short answer – yes, you should have insurance.

Long answer – there are different kinds of insurance that could apply, here:

1.  General Liability insurance – this is insurance that would cover your organization and the general activities of the organization, and would generally include coverage for situations where someone is injured “under your watch” or property is damaged because of something your organization does.  Since your organization will be focusing on sponsoring and encouraging walking tours, your GL insurance could tailored to cover routine events.  Your insurance agent likely will need to know a few things — (1) how many “supervised” activities (events), (2) how many participants (3) whether there is food or other ancillary activities (dinner, gathering, demonstrations, etc.)

2.  Event insurance – this is a possibility for routine events, but my guess would be “overkill” for what you have in mind.  Event Insurance tends to be expensive, because the expectation is coverage for an event that attracts a lot of people, has a lot of activities, and a lot of opportunity for claims of all types.  Roughly speaking, you can expect to pay more for event insurance for a one-time thing than you would pay for GL insurance.

A knowledgeable insurance agent can guide you on what is best for your organization, and what types and liability limit of coverage would work the best for you.  Be sure your insurance agent has experience with nonprofit organizations – nonprofit is different from commercial.
In my experience, GL should be sufficient.  One of my organizations has GL coverage and not event coverage, but they have several events during the year.  This is noted on the GL policy, so is included in the coverage.

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