Your church needs to be a safe environment for all who enter it. It's easy to understand why. Your parishioners expect to feel comforted and protected on the property. However, no property, not even a church, is completely safe for visitors. Everyone has a chance of sustaining injuries or other losses while on the property.
If a parishioner is injured or otherwise harmed, the church might have a financial responsibility towards their needs. In such circumstances, the organization’s general liability insurance might come in handy.
General Liability Coverage for Churches
Let's say that one of your members visits the church when someone is cleaning the facility. The parishioner slips on a wet floor and hurts their back. The resulting injury could lead to significant pain and suffering, medical bills and rehabilitation costs. The victim might not even be able to work during their recovery. This could further tighten their financial constraints.
The injured parishioner might sue the church for compensation, or simply request financial assistance. In this instance, the church might be able to turn to their general liability insurance. This coverage can help the church compensate the injured party, settle the lawsuit or afford legal fees. The liability insurance might potentially even help the business make changes to prevent future accidents.
Preventing Liability Risks in Churches
You don't want anything to harm your parishioners. So, why not set up protective measures in the church ahead of time? These might include:
- Installing emergency lighting and signs throughout the facility.
- Using burglar alarms, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide alarms and other safety systems.
- Making the facility handicap-accessible. This might include installing wheelchair ramps, elevators, automatic doors or other helpful devices.
- Keeping first-aid supplies on hand.
- Creating off-limits spaces where members should not venture. These might include utility closets, crawl spaces, attics or other areas. Only professionals or familiar parties should enter these spaces.
- Having routine safety inspections of the facility. Professionals can check utilities, electronics, structures and other items to make them safer for use.
- Cautioning parishioners about common safety hazards inside the church.
- Responding immediately to parishioner complaints of safety hazards.
- Considering security patrols. Many churches use security patrols to ensure the safety of the entire building.
These security patrols are usually members or local police who understand emergency procedures. Some churches might use the security patrols at all times, while others only use them during services.
If anyone experiences injury or property damage in your church, immediately see to that person's needs. You should do your best to ensure that the parishioner receives care and attention for any injuries or losses sustained.
If you need to file a liability claim, consult your policy. Contact California Church Insurance Services for more information about your coverage.