CalNonprofits Insurance Services

Protect Your Volunteers with Accident Insurance

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Volunteers outnumber paid staff at almost all nonprofits – of every size. Volunteers are crucial to the operations of our nonprofits. They should be treated well, work in safe conditions, be given adequate training and resources, and be protected in the event of an accident. One solution for accidental injuries is to protect your volunteers with accident insurance.

Image from Causes Count published by CalNonprofits

Whether your nonprofit has 1 or 100 volunteers, there are risks associated with volunteer activities just as with employees. Accidents do happen and when they do, it is important to respond quickly to help your volunteer.

Employees are covered by Workers’ Compensation insurance when they are injured but it is not so clear with volunteers. Most insurance companies do not like to cover volunteers on the Workers’ Compensation policy.

Options for Covering Volunteers

General Liability

Volunteers can sue you if they are injured and your organization was negligent or legally liable in some way. General Liability insurance will defend your organization and if found liable, pay the damages.

If the injury is a pure accident, there may still be coverage under the Medical Payments portion of the General Liability policy. This coverage is limited, sometimes as low as $1,000 and may cause your premiums to increase in the future

Health Insurance

Although it is a California law that all residents must have health insurance, there is really no way for you to know if your volunteer has medical coverage until an accident occurs. Many people have high deductibles and co-pays.

Volunteer Accident Insurance

Protecting your volunteers from financial harm is a good business practice and ensures they know you value them as well as their time and effort – it is good ethics. Volunteer Accident Insurance provides additional protection to your volunteers and is usually inexpensive.

Common Features of Volunteer Accident Insurance

Accident insurance is usually purchased on a secondary or excess basis, which means it pays after the volunteer’s medical insurance pays. It can be purchased on a primary basis at a higher cost. If your organization engages volunteers in riskier activitities, the cost will be higher.

  • Medical Expenses – pays medical costs. If excess, it will cover deductibles, co-pays and other out of pocket expenses. If primary, it replaces health insurance coverage. Up to a set limit such as $50,000 or $75,000.
  • Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) – a set limit paid if the volunteer dies or is dismembered in the accident.
  • Additional benefits – can often be added such as disability, catastrophic cash and/or paralysis.
  • Premium rates will vary based on the benefit limit and hazards covered.

Risk Management

  • Have a written Volunteer Program that includes a Risk Management Plan and Volunteer Handbook with clear expectations and procedures.
  • Use waivers before engaging volunteers, ask about health insurance coverage.
  • Review all policies to find coverage gaps as they relate to volunteers.
  • Make sure volunteers know to report unsafe conditions.

Would you like a complimentary consultation and policy review? Contact us today! We welcome your comments or questions below.


Successful Strategies for Recruiting, Training, and Utilizing Volunteers

Protecting Your Volunteers Isn’t Voluntary

Causes Count

About the Author

  • Founded in 1984 as a subsidiary of the California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits), CalNonprofits Insurance Services was established during a time of diminishing insurance options for nonprofits. One of the driving reasons for establishing the association was to use the collective influence of the sector to secure more stable and quality insurance. We have developed, and are known for, our wide spectrum of services reflecting expertise in both the insurance and nonprofit sectors, our superior customer service, and our development of exclusive insurance products, including a highly successful dental and vision trust. We insure more than 1,200 nonprofit organizations throughout California and we are the only California brokerage specializing in insurance for nonprofits. Our clients range from newly established nonprofits all the way to venerable organizations with multiple locations statewide.

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