Let’s talk about volunteer accident coverage for a minute. As a nonprofit organization, having volunteers can be invaluable: You’re determined to help your community any way you can, and thus people put aside their time (and maybe even take time away from their paying job) for no other reason than to help you achieve that. They deserve the best protection you can reasonably offer them, and they may need it more than the average worker.
Volunteers are a wonderful addition to a nonprofit’s cause, but they also come with varying experience and don’t go through the kind of rigorous background checks, or in many cases even resume checks, that paid employees do. This means that in some cases, they can be prone to accidents or wind up in risky situations.
Volunteer accident coverage is a type of insurance that is tailored to nonprofits. If you employ even a few volunteers, it’s a smart, financially feasible way to ensure you don’t lose out big time later, at both an economic and personal cost.
Breaking it Down
Volunteer accident coverage is purchased by the nonprofit, and used to reimburse medical costs directly related to the injury of a volunteer. It kicks in if a volunteer is injured while working for your nonprofit organization and can include serious injuries such as loss of limbs or loss of life.
The particular cost of volunteer accident coverage is based on a couple of common insurance factors, such as the number of volunteers being covered and their risk factors. The latter, the Murphy’s Law of insurance coverage, means that a volunteer who is more likely to be injured will, of course, run a higher premium than someone who is at little risk. The person who wrangles the organization’s puppies has a smaller price tag than the person who wrangles the organization’s sharks, so to speak.
What Have You Already Covered? What’s Left To Cover?
Sometimes a nonprofit organization will neglect to invest in volunteer accident coverage because they believe that volunteers are already covered via other types of insurance. While volunteer accident coverage may not be essential to most businesses, if your organization makes use of many unpaid workers, as many nonprofits do, the coverage is one of the first places you’ll want to put some money.
The nuances here can be tough to discern (although some major inclusions and exclusions can be found here). If your organization’s wallet is starting to tighten and you’re trying to select only a small handful of important coverages, it would be wise to get in touch with your carrier and properly outline which types you should be investing in.
For example, a lot of organization directors think that workers’ compensation covers volunteers. Rarely, it doesn’t, and if your nonprofit organization consists entirely or almost entirely of volunteers, you’d be much better off looking into volunteer accident coverage. (Note that, for many nonprofits, it’s beneficial to have both types of coverage).
Perhaps even more prevalent are misconceptions about general liability insurance, a (rightfully) frequent go-to for nonprofits. General liability insurance can include volunteers, but it might not mean exactly what you think it does. If a volunteer accidentally does damage to someone’s property or injures someone, this coverage is meant to defend your organization against the injured/angered. If the volunteer themselves is hurt in the scenario, their grievance may not be covered. This is a solid example of a time when two coverages are both necessary to be fully financially protected: both general liability and volunteer accident coverage.