Americans are some of the most generous people on earth when it comes to sharing their time, energy and talents for the benefit of others. Churches, schools, youth sports programs, service clubs, etc. depend on volunteers, and many people step up. But what happens if something goes wrong and somebody gets hurt? Can you be sued even if you were doing a good deed?
You sure can, but before you walk away from your volunteer activities, here’s the good news: Insurance will probably save you from any financial loss. Many organizations that use volunteers will have liability insurance that protects volunteers. It’s fair to ask about such coverage before signing up to help. Also, the liability coverage under a homeowners policy provides insurance for many such activities.
Serving on boards or getting paid for what you do changes things. Your homeowners policy is less likely to protect you. When asked to serve on a board, it’s smart to be sure the organization carries Directors and Officers Liability Insurance. If they don’t, you are taking on some risk. If you get paid, even if it’s not your primary job, it means you’re really not a volunteer. You especially want to know under such circumstances if the organization that’s paying you has appropriate insurance.