Nonprofit general liability insurance: do you need it?
Like any organization, nonprofits are exposed to risk. Nonprofit general liability insurance keeps you protected. We dig into what it is and why it matters.
A big part of managing a nonprofit is working with people. You’re meeting with board members and training volunteer staff. You’re giving a speech at a fundraising event, calling vendors for your next one, and of course, you may be connecting with the people your organization serves.
If something were to happen at one of these investor meetings, volunteer trainings, or fundraising events, would your nonprofit be protected? What if a major donor tripped and fell while visiting your office, or one of your staff accidentally damaged the wall of a venue while setting up for your event?
Like any organization, nonprofits are exposed to risk. When risk turns into reality, nonprofit general liability insurance keeps you protected. Let’s dig into what nonprofit general liability insurance is and why you need it.
General liability insurance is the most common form of insurance for any organization, protecting you against costs related to third-party claims of bodily injury or property damage.
It’s sometimes referred to as commercial general liability insurance, but just because the word “commercial” is sometimes thrown in there, don’t think that this insurance isn’t for you. Accidents happen, to nonprofit and commercial enterprises alike.
When they do, general liability insurance is designed to protect your organization from costs related to liability, specifically arising out of accidents involving third parties that result in bodily injury, property damage, or personal and advertising injury.
Here are a few examples of the type of risk a nonprofit can be exposed to, and how nonprofit general liability insurance can help protect the assets of your organization:
To summarize, nonprofit general liability insurance can help protect your nonprofit from liability when someone or something gets hurt, along with paying the medical and legal costs associated with these types of accidents.
In a word, yes. As a charitable organization, you’re frequently dealing with third parties. If, in the course of your work, one of these people or their property gets damaged, you could be held liable.
It’s important to remember that “third parties” refers to more than donors or members. There are also vendors you’ll hire to work at your events, and repair and delivery people who frequent your physical locations. Even visitors, if they get injured at one of your shelters, stores, or center, can bring a claim against you.
Plus, if you ever host a fundraising event, you should know it’s common for venues to expect you to carry insurance.
“In order to get a permit to throw an event at any public park or privately owned space, you have to produce proof of insurance and the owner has to be an Additional Insured,” shared Alex Robertson, Executive Director of Cleveland-based nonprofit Recess Cleveland (and a Thimble customer).
“Normally, when you submit this request with other insurance companies, you have to wait two or three days to actually get the Certificate of Insurance. [With Thimble] we could add Additional Insureds on the fly. The Thimble app has all the functionality and offers the coverage we need, so it’s been a great help in meeting our legal requirements during popup events.”
Read more about Robertson’s nonprofit’s experience with Thimble.
Nonprofit general liability policies can be either occurrence or claims-made, and it’s important for you to understand the difference.
Under claims-made policies, you’re only covered for claims made during the time when your policy is active. In other words, if a donor sues you because they were injured at an event you hosted two months ago and your policy from two months ago is still active, that policy could respond to the claim. However, if your policy expired and then next year someone tried to sue you for another injury from that same event, the policy would not respond.
With occurrence policies, on the other hand, you’re covered for claims related to accidents that occurred while your policy was active — regardless of whether the claim was made after your policy period ended.
The general liability insurance arranged by Thimble are occurrence policies, not claims-made. We believe occurrence policies do a better job protecting the insured, and that’s what we’re here to do.
As much as nonprofit general liability insurance covers, it doesn’t cover everything. This type of insurance focuses on third-party liability only. That doesn’t include injuries to yourself or your employees, or damage to your own property and equipment. For that, you’ll need other types of insurance, which brings us to our next point.
In addition to general liability insurance, nonprofits may choose to protect their organization with other types of insurance as well. These include:
Most nonprofits don’t have massive budgets to work with. You’re always looking to keep costs low, so you can pass on the benefits to the causes you care about. We get it.
At Thimble, all of our policies are designed to be affordable, without skimping on coverage. There’s no one-size-fits-all nonprofit, and we don’t believe nonprofit general liability insurance should work that way either. That’s why we offer ongoing monthly coverage for those who want it, as well as short-term policies that provide coverage precisely when you need it. You can purchase coverage for an hour, a day, or more—perfect for your next fundraising gala.
Interested in finding out how much nonprofit general liability coverage costs? Get your instant quote from Thimble now. It takes less than 60 seconds, and once you purchase, your Certificate of Insurance is available immediately. While you’ve giving back, Thimble’s got your back.
Our editorial content is intended for informational purposes only and is not written by a licensed insurance agent. Terms and conditions for rate and coverage may vary by class of business and state.