Many people think that running a nonprofit operation doesn’t require carrying insurance, but this isn’t true. One of the few insurance requirements for any type of employer is carrying workers’ compensation to cover injuries on the job. However, there are several variables involved that determine if workers’ compensation insurance for volunteers is allowed or required.
Understanding Volunteer Liability at Nonprofits
Volunteers and workers are viewed differently by each state. You’ll need to find out from your state’s insurance regulator what the state law entails regarding workers’ compensation insurance for volunteers. In California, for example, volunteers do not qualify for workers’ compensation, as the state only requires coverage for paid employees. By contrast, Connecticut’s state law recognizes certain volunteers, such as volunteer firefighters, as employees entitled to workers’ comp.
Be aware that any organization can be held liable for injuries that occur at its official location. If a volunteer gets injured at a nonprofit organization’s office, it’s important to have insurance in place to cover it to avoid paying legal costs and medical bills out of pocket.
Nonprofit organizations need at least general liability insurance to pay for injuries that may occur to short-term volunteers. This policy covers individuals who offer services for free periodically. It’s possible your nonprofit organization will need workers’ compensation insurance if volunteers contribute a certain number of hours per week. In the case of long-term relationships, you may need this coverage.
What Volunteer Insurance Does Your Nonprofit Need?
Some states have laws that do not allow nonprofit organizations to carry workers’ comp to cover volunteers. In some cases, nonprofit organizations that run after-school programs need workers comp, depending on state regulations. Since it can be a complex issue, it’s best to talk with an insurance agent experienced in your industry.
There are various types of insurance coverage to explore for a nonprofit organization. It’s important for any organization to have a plan in case individuals who visit or volunteer workers are injured at your establishment. The best way to prevent a lawsuit is to already have a plan in place that covers every type of disaster that could realistically happen.
Can Waivers Prevent Volunteer Lawsuits?
You may wonder if volunteer waivers have any impact on lawsuits involving volunteer work. Sometimes waivers can keep lawsuits from happening, but many times they do not hold up in court, especially if they reflect broad risks. The advantage of a signed volunteer waiver is that it can acknowledge risks, to which the volunteer agrees.
Getting volunteers to sign waivers that identify risks shows that a volunteer has a choice to do the work or not with an understanding of the dangers involved. These waivers can cause volunteers to be more cognizant and careful when engaging in activities that could lead to accidents.
Consult with Hoffman Brown Company to Cover Your Non-Profit Volunteers
Do you need workers’ compensation insurance for volunteers who help your organization? The answer to that question can be complicated, but the good news is there are plenty of different types of plans available to ensure you have the coverage you need. Contact us today at Hoffman Brown Company for more information. We are happy to simplify the experience for you to get the right coverage your organization needs.