How to insure a church in NJ

Though many people think of church as a once-a-week occurrence, in reality many churches also host other services such as preschool or daycare and have their doors open to the public daily. As a result, churches face many typical risks associated with all businesses along with their own special set of unique perils. That’s why it’s important for New Jersey church owners to start out by equipping their church with the right New Jersey business insurance.

What Is Church Insurance?

Similar to all other areas of the country, New Jersey church insurance is essentially a special type of business insurance customized to protect owners of churches. The agreement between the insurance company and the church states that the insurer will cover financial losses that befall the church. Of course, only specific perils stated in the policy will be covered by the insurance company. All policies come with a list of excluded perils as well.

How to Insure Your New Jersey Church

Thing is, one insurance policy won’t work for every type of church or each specific church owner. With the help of your New Jersey independent insurance agent, you’ll work together to assemble a package of different coverage types to protect yourself and your church against risks that are unique to you. Church insurance is designed to keep your business afloat following a huge disaster such as property destruction or lawsuits.

Your independent insurance agent will help identify the right types of coverage for you as they learn more about your specific church and its services offered. Since church insurance is so customizable, you’ll be able to work together to build a policy that fits not only your business’s needs, but also the needs of your bank account.

What Does Church Insurance Cover in New Jersey?

Church insurance is set up to protect church owners against potential threats, and this includes protecting churches in New Jersey. Your policy will include the basics of business insurance coverage, with several coverages tailored specifically to your church added on. The more risks involved in your unique business, the more coverage you’ll need. But here are a handful of commonly selected coverages in church insurance packages to start off.

Your church insurance package can be assembled from a combination of the following coverages:

  • General liability: This coverage protects you against property damage or injury claims made by a third party. 
  • Workers’ compensation: If your employees become ill, get injured, or die from a work-related incident, this aspect of the insurance will cover the financial ramifications. Coverage is mandatory in New Jersey. 
  • Property insurance: Covers loss of or damage to your physical property including your church building and often any supplies inside it. Protected mishaps include fires, storms, and more.
  • Commercial/business auto: Provides protection for any company vehicles against things like theft, vandalism, and damage from natural disasters. If your church has a Sunday school program that uses a company van for field trips, for example, you need this coverage.
  • Business income: A part of property insurance, this aspect covers the financial loss suffered while a business is closed due to fire damage or other disasters.
  • Signage coverage: Your church’s signage may be expensive to both install or replace. Since signs live outside of the church building, they’re vulnerable to the elements of nature, as well as thieves/vandals. This coverage provides reimbursement in the event you need to repair/replace your signage due to a covered peril.
  • Disability insurance: Businesses in New Jersey are required by law to purchase this coverage for their employees to protect them in the event they become disabled due to workplace conditions or operations.
  • Unemployment insurance:  As soon as you, the owner, start officially paying state taxes, your business will automatically be buying mandatory New Jersey unemployment insurance if your church has employees.
  • Cyber liability: In the event your church’s computer system is compromised, sensitive or personal data may be stolen and even sold to third parties. Aside from having to pay to clean up your network’s security, your church could also face a lawsuit. Coverage protects against financial and legal ramifications following a cyberattack.
  • Premises liability: This coverage protects against costs associated with third-party injuries and property damage sustained on your business premises, or in other words, within or around your church. Common injuries include slips and falls.
  • Advertising injury liability: Covers any copyright or trademark infringement by your church’s advertisements as well as legal claims of libel or slander against your business by a third party.
  • Professional liability:  Also known as "errors & omissions insurance," this coverage protects against claims made by customers or clients who suffer financial loss due to the work they've hired you for. This coverage is absolutely crucial for churches due to the amount of advice or counsel offered routinely to the public.
  • Employee practices liability: Covers legal fees in the event your church’s employees are involved in harassment cases against coworkers or churchgoers.

Your church insurance package will be assembled by selecting the coverages that work for your unique business from a big list of available options. Coverage applies to everything from lost business revenue to potential legal/court fees and beyond.

What Does Church Insurance Not Cover in New Jersey?

Though church insurance covers a lot of components necessary for a church’s protection, it unfortunately can’t cover everything. The following are examples of commonly excluded perils under New Jersey church insurance policies:

  • Employee dishonesty
  • General wear and tear of equipment, etc.
  • Routine maintenance fees
  • Earthquake damage
  • Nuclear reaction and war
  • Robbery
  • Pollution
  • Temperature/humidity changes
  • Inexplicably lost inventory
  • Flood damage*

*In a state like New Jersey that’s prone to flooding, you’ll most likely want to purchase additional flood coverage for your church, or you may even be required to have it by your mortgage lender. Your New Jersey independent insurance agent can give you more information about finding coverage.

What Are the Benefits of Church Insurance in New Jersey?

Church insurance provides protection to New Jersey church owners in a number of ways. Beyond the church’s physical building, many components of your business stand to be destroyed or otherwise harmed by common threats. There are three major benefits to having church insurance:

  • Protection against legal trouble: A costly and damaging event like a fire or lawsuit could send a business into the red without the proper coverage. If the business was unable to pay off their loans, venders, or employees, they could face serious legal consequences. Church insurance helps prevent these ugly matters from surfacing.
  • Protection against a damaged reputation: Often times, huge incidents affecting churches end up in the media. When it comes to customers’ personal property getting lost, damaged or destroyed, word about their upset could spread quickly and even turn from gossip into media coverage. Having the right church insurance can help prevent your business’s reputation from going up in flames.
  • Protection against bankruptcy: Imagine a severe storm or other terrible incident like an airplane crash that literally wipes out your church entirely. Without the right insurance, the church owner could easily be forced into bankruptcy. Church insurance helps churches remain open and operational or helps them rebuild following massive destruction.

Your New Jersey independent insurance agent can help you review your church insurance policy to answer any remaining questions about your coverage. They’ll also be able to help you figure out whether you’ve got enough coverage or if you should purchase more.

How Much Does Church Insurance Cost In New Jersey?

The cost really depends on a number of factors. Church owners might pay just a few hundred bucks per year or they might pay well into the thousands depending on the size and scope of operations and services offered. Churches located in New Jersey, however, might pay quite a bit more for coverage than church owners further inland due to the state’s increased risk of weather-related perils.

Of course, it’s hard to offer an average figure since each church is unique. But really, it all depends on a number of factors, like:

  • The type of church: This involves more than just the particular religious denomination. The specific services offered by your church will affect its risk level to insure. Obviously, more danger means more money for insurance.
  • The location of the church: Larger cities tend to have higher costs for insurance but it goes beyond that. Depending on where you are specifically in New Jersey, your location may be more prone to various weather-related risks. Churches right along the Jersey Shore, for example, may have premiums up to 20% higher due to risk of hurricane damage.
  • The number of employees: The more you've got, the more workers' comp you’ll need. Simple as that.
  • How much business you generate: Premiums are calculated based on business projections for the upcoming year. If your workload doubles, your premium will likely double, too.

Your agent can work with you to find a policy that fits within your church’s budget. Have your financial restrictions in mind before you start shopping for coverage to help speed the process along.

Why Work with a New Jersey Independent Insurance Agent?

In order to get the protection you need and deserve, you’ll want to work with a trusted expert. And who could be better for the job than a local agent who shares your area code? Independent insurance agents act as your own personal insurance shoppers, offering you tons more options than one-policy companies. With just one call, they’ll hook you up with multiple quotes.

New Jersey independent insurance agents are armed with knowledge on what coverage is needed in your area, and they’ll get you set up with just enough of it — not too little, not too much. They’ll handle all the heavy lifting so you can rest assured you’ll be set up with the right coverage at the right price.

They’re not just there at the beginning, either. If disaster strikes, your New Jersey agent will be there to help walk you through the claims process and make sure you’re getting the benefits you're entitled to. Now that’s thinking ahead.

Author | Chris Lacagnina

Article Reviewed by | Paul Martin

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