Insurance may not be the most exciting line item on a ministry budget, but it can protect your church from catastrophic financial losses and help sustain the long-term well-being of your ministry. Church buildings can experience severe weather damage, or employees may receive life-altering diagnoses. Are you prepared if it happens to you?
Selecting the right policies can protect your church, pastor and employees from being devastated by massive claim expenses.
When it comes to figuring out insurance, you need to plan for three things:
And in that order! Here’s why.
The church’s most significant commodity is its employees, so it is crucial to prioritize protecting your people. When you have an employee who experiences a loss of some kind, you want to be able to financially care for them through that tragedy. Insurance allows you to offer substantial support without risking your ministry’s finances.
The first and most essential insurance policy a church should look at are life and disability insurance for the pastor and any other employees. A good starting point for a basic life insurance would be one times salary and allowing the employee to participate in voluntary coverage if they’d like to add more. You may also consider offering spouse life insurance policies and child life insurance policies. Policies for children are usually inexpensive and will tremendously help in a time of crisis for a family. Coverages like disability insurance, accident insurance, and worker’s compensation are also important as they require relatively little budget but offer immensely valuable income protection in the event of accident, illness or injury.
Next, consider offering health coverage for your employees. Whether you choose a traditional health insurance provider or a GuideStone church health plan, medical coverage is a highly desirable employee benefit and another life-changing way for your church to care for its people. You can also expand your employees’ benefits by adding dental insurance and vision insurance. Planning for health coverage early can make a big difference in setting your church up for long-term success.
If your ministry is damaged, destroyed or the victim of theft, property insurance can help minimize the financial burdens that result. It is recommended to have at least replacement cost coverage for your church buildings in case of damage caused by wind, hail, fire or other covered perils.
Other types of coverage recommended to protect your ministry include ordinance and law coverage, which can protect your ministry from indirect losses associated with enforceable city codes. There is even coverage for cybercrime, which is becoming more prevalent and can result in damage to ministry data, hardware and loss of money.
As with any organization, churches are open to liability claims when conducting operations or hosting an event. The exact types of liability insurance your church needs will depend on the scope of your church’s activities. For example, if your ministry uses a vehicle, you might consider a policy like commercial auto insurance, which covers people’s injuries and your ministry’s vehicles in the event of an accident. If your church plans mission trips, mission travel insurance can protect your mission teams, whether they are going a few miles down the road or halfway around the world.
Many more options are available through liability and excess liability insurance to guard your ministry, employees, leaders and volunteers from lawsuits and losses while protecting what makes your ministry unique. Some of these options include protection for claims against sharing your religious beliefs, responses from your security ministry and decisions made by your ministry leaders.
Not all churches need the same coverage, and the coverage you need to protect your church depends on your specific operations, environment and goals.
We know that navigating insurance options can be complicated. At GuideStone®, we are here to guide, advocate and provide for churches and ministry nonprofits through benefits and financial resources. As experts in what makes ministry coverage unique, we would love to help you strategically select the right coverage to protect your church — taking the whole picture into account.
Call us Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central Time.