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Voluntary organisations and insurance

Voluntary organisations and charities often have specific insurance needs.

The ABI's members work closely with the voluntary sector to ensure these needs are met so organisations can continue their vital work. Insurers help organisations to manage their risks and handle the costs of compensation claims made against them.  

If you run a voluntary organisation or charity there are a number of types of insurance you can take out to cover the cost of claims made against your organisation.

Employers’ liability insurance

Voluntary organisations are obliged by law to have employers’ liability insurance to cover all employees who are not family members.

Employers’ liability insurance will usually cover the cost of compensating volunteers and employees who are injured at or become ill through work.

Check with your insurer to make sure your employers’ liability policy covers everyone who works with your voluntary organisation.

Public liability insurance

Public liability insurance covers the cost of claims made by members of the public for incidents that occur in connection with your organisation’s activities. It covers the cost of compensation for personal injuries, loss of or damage to property, and death.

If members of the public visit your organisation’s premises, or you arrange off-site events which members of the public attend, you should consider taking out public liability insurance.

For more information see the ABI's guide to planning an event (pdf 105kB).

Motor insurance 

If your organisation uses vehicles for voluntary purposes you are legally obliged to have motor insurance.

Motor insurance covers you against costs that arise as a result of injuries caused to other people and damage to their vehicles.

  • If your voluntary organisation has its own vehicles for volunteers to drive, it is up to you to arrange insurance for your entire fleet.
  • If your volunteers use their own vehicles for voluntary purposes, they should be covered by their own regular motor insurance policy, but they should check with their insurer to be sure. Some insurers cover volunteer driving within regular motor insurance policies while others may charge an extra premium or impose a higher excess for volunteer drivers.

For more information on motor insurance and volunteers see volunteer drivers.

Property insurance

Property insurance covers the cost of repairing or rebuilding your organisation’s premises, or replacing its contents. It will cover against risks such as flooding, fire and theft. There are two types of property insurance – buildings insurance and contents insurance:

  • buildings insurance covers the cost of repairing or rebuilding your business premises if it is damaged or destroyed
  • contents insurance covers the cost of replacing your property's contents if they are damaged or stolen  

Trustee liability insurance

If you are in a position of trust or leadership within a voluntary organisation, you should consider taking out trustee liability insurance. This covers you for compensation claims resulting from mismanagement of the organisation and any associated legal costs.

For more information on voluntary organisations visit the following websites:

Next steps

You can buy insurance for your voluntary organisation either directly from an insurer or from a specialist broker through the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA).