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Last reviewed: 12 April 2021

Organisations need insurance to protect themselves and their volunteers from risk.

The type of insurance you need depends on your organisation, how it works and what it does. Here are some types of insurance that can cover volunteers.

Employers’ liability insurance

If your organisation has paid employees, it’s required by law to have this insurance. Some insurers will also include cover for volunteers too.

It protects your organisation if:

  • it is found to be legally liable for causing injury or illness to an employee while they are carrying out their work duties
  • you need to pay compensation or legal costs as a result of a claim from an employee.

Public liability insurance

This covers your organisation’s legal liability with other organisations or members of the public (‘third parties’). Some insurers will cover volunteers too.

It protects your organisation by defending any claims from third parties and paying compensation if you are found to be at fault for causing:

  • accidental injury to a third party or
  • accidental damage to a third parties’ property

You should check with your insurer to make sure your insurance covers your volunteers, their actions and the activities they do. Depending on your insurer, volunteers may be covered under employers' liability or public liability.

Motor insurance

You may need this type of insurance if your organisation has volunteer drivers.

You should:

  • check your insurance policy covers volunteers to drive your vehicle(s)
  • ask them to tell their own insurer if they are volunteering using their own vehicle or arrange occasional business use cover with your motor insurance provider

Some insurers charge extra for volunteer driving. Check with the insurer to see if they do this or not.

Other types of insurance

Your organisation is likely to need other insurance depending on what it does and who it works with.

See our guidance on insurance for voluntary sector organisations.

Buying volunteer insurance

When buying insurance, you should:

  • make sure the policy meets your organisation’s needs and covers its activities
  • check the insurance policy covers volunteers
  • make sure the insurance policy covers the activities your volunteers do
  • read the insurance policy terms, conditions and exclusions.

It’s a good idea to speak to an insurance provider about your organisation’s specific needs. Zurich Insurance is NCVO’s Trusted Supplier for insurance.

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 12 April 2021

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