ASK THE EXPERT

What is a Certificate of Insurance and why do I need one?




Most people are aware that the Book of Discipline requires all churches to maintain appropriate insurance coverage to help protect their people and property.  However, once a church secures their coverage, how can they prove they are in compliance? 

A Certificate of Insurance (COI) is a document that provides proof of insurance and typically outlines:

  • Types of coverage and limits

  • Policy number

  • Policy effective date

  • Insured’s full name

  • Carrier of the coverage

It is a good idea for a church to maintain this important certificate in its records as a reference. 

There are a variety of reasons why a church may be required to provide a COI.  For example, a church might be asked to provide a COI if it is hosting an event - either on or off-site.  This could be a Christmas concert, Halloween trunk-or-treat, or Easter egg hunt.  COIs are also often required when traveling to other locations for field trips, retreats, or camping.  A COI is typically sent to a church by its insurance agent electronically or via mail when the policy is initially secured.  If needed, a church can request a COI from its agent at any time.  It is recommended to allow at least 4-5 business days from the request to secure a COI, but turnaround times may vary. 

It is important to remember that a COI provides proof of coverage, but it cannot be used to change or add coverage.  If a church has questions about coverage or needs to make changes to a policy, contact the insurance agent. 

Questions about Certificates of Insurance or how to secure appropriate coverage for a church?

Suracy Faith, UMI’s trusted partner for property and casualty insurance, is available to answer questions you may have about COIs.  In addition, Suracy Faith offers coverage solutions tailored to United Methodist churches.  Contact Suracy Faith at 866-203-0777 or UMIP@suracy.com.

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