Volunteers and Insurance Coverage

The separation of employees and nonemployees tends to get complex when using independent contractors. It gets even more convoluted when you are using volunteers within your organization. Sorting out coverages for your volunteers is a prudent thing to do was a small business owner.

There are three broad areas of coverage gaps that you should be concerned about when it comes to volunteers. Volunteers that are driving on your behalf can create an automobile liability exposure if they are involved in an at fault accident. One of the easiest and least expensive ways to protect your business is to make sure that your commercial insurance policy is endorsed to cover no-owned and hired vehicle coverage. Secondly, another area of exposure to your company can come from the legal liability that the volunteer may have created on your path. Most general liability insurance policies provide protection for your organization with broad enough coverages in the named insured definition to encompass volunteers. That being said, it would be prudent to make sure that the language of defining who is an insured is broad enough to cover your exposure if you have a volunteer labor exposure.

Finally, the last broad exposure that you have with using volunteers is that of the injury to the volunteer worker. While you might have coverage under your general liability insurance policy or claims for damages from the volunteer work or you may or may not have coverage on your Worker’s Compensation insurance policy or claims from the worker being hurt. Almost working Worker’s Compensation policies you can add a volunteer labor endorsement provision to your policy. Obviously, there is a premium charge for this coverage. Typically, you need to keep track of the number of volunteer hours that are work and multiply that times at least a minimum wage to come up with the payroll which is then charged the appropriate premium rate. Volunteer labor coverage on the Worker’s Compensation insurance is almost never covered in unless specifically endorsed. The risk management tip of the day is to check your insurance policies for coverages for volunteer laborers if you have that exposure.