Blog By: Ken Mogren, CPCU
Few would disagree that volunteering time to help a favorite organization is a good deed, but that doesn’t stop people from suing volunteers. For example, let’s assume you help coach your daughter’s softball team and one of her teammates gets hurt at practice. Next thing you know, you get a letter from a lawyer who wants you to pay. Some reward for doing a good deed! Yes, volunteers do occasionally get dragged into legal messes, but most volunteers have insurance that will pay on their behalf if the plaintiff is able to collect.
One big source of that protection might be your own homeowners insurance. Whether you own a conventional home, condo, mobile home or rent, the same policy that covers your property will likely have a liability section that covers many common volunteer situations.
The organization you help by volunteering may also have insurance to protect you. It’s a good idea to ask before volunteering about such insurance protection. This is especially true if you serve on the board of directors of any organization. Board work is often excluded by homeowners insurance. You’ll want to think twice before joining any board that doesn’t carry directors and officers liability insuranceto protect you.
Like most things in life, there are risks associated with being a volunteer. But it’s pretty rare for volunteers to have to personally pay for things that go wrong because insurance is usually there as a safety net.