Covering Volunteers Under Workers Compensation

A friend contacted me asking how a nonprofit can cover volunteers on a workers’ compensation policy.

Volunteers and workers’ comp are usually mutually exclusive – employees are covered, volunteers are not.

I’m not sure why you would want to cover anyone extra on a work comp policy. The coverage isnt that great (lost wages coverage is pretty low for many workers) and any losses would cause the premiums to be higher in future years.

Issues of injury due to negligence should be taken care of using the general liability and auto policy – not to mention the umbrella. Most liability policies do not exclude injuries to volunteers. (If yours does get a new policy.)

Medical payments may provide coverage to injuries on premises. However, policies that exclude volunteers for med pay are more common.

If you are really concerned, from a feeling of obligation to your volunteers, you can buy an accident insurance policy to provide some small level of coverage. The cost is usually lower and its easier to administer.

Scott Simmonds, CPCU, ARM, CMC
The Insurance Assurance Consultant