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Ask The Expert: What are some common claims for churches?

Updated: Jul 19, 2022

According to a 2015 study by The Hartford(1), 40% of small businesses will experience an insurance claim in the next ten years. While your ministry isn’t a small business, it’s safe to say that your chances of experiencing a claim are comparable. It’s important that your ministry is knowledgeable of the possible claims it might experience to try to avoid the risks associated with them. Below, you’ll find five of the most common claims your church may face.

Burglary and Theft

Unfortunately, burglary and theft are something everyone must be concerned about, including your ministry. Make sure you’re taking necessary precautions to help prevent your church from being a target.


  • Conduct background checks on staff and volunteers

  • Have security devices installed to help control unauthorized entry into your church

  • Ensure your church property has and maintains adequate exterior and interior lighting

Water and Freezing Damage

With the colder months on the way, preventing damage caused by freezing should be something you’re thinking of and preparing for now. Make sure you’re taking the necessary steps to help avoid unwanted damages this winter. Tips:

  • Maintain proper indoor temperature during extremely cold weather, even when away

  • Clear roofs and overhangs of excessive snow and ice if possible

  • Have your gutters cleaned to allow proper drainage of melting snow and ice

  • Ensure that staff know the location of water shut-off valves

Wind and Hail Damage Depending on where your ministry is located, it could be impacted by hail, hurricanes, or tornadoes. Consider our tips below to help lower the risk of your ministry being damaged by severe weather. Tips:

  • Trim and maintain trees

  • Cover windows to protect them from flying debris

  • Walk the grounds; move objects inside that could become projectiles in high winds

  • Anchor any equipment stored outside that could be moved by high winds


As we spoke about in another article, What Should I Know About Fire Prevention?, fires are often an unexpected and deadly tragedy that can impact your church. Do all that you can to help prevent a devastating fire from occurring on your property. Tips:

  • Establish or update an emergency preparedness plan

  • Plan fire evacuation routes; mark them clearly and train staff on using them

  • Test all fire and safety equipment per local, state, and national fire codes

Slips and Falls With so many people coming and going from your church, you face increased risk from someone slipping, tripping, or falling. Take the necessary precautions to help avoid one of your congregants or staff from being injured.


  • Repair damaged stairs and walkways

  • Remove tripping hazards like cords and unnecessary clutter

  • Properly salt and remove snow from walkways and parking lots

  • Clean up spills and dry wet areas where people may walk


This content has been prepared by United Methodist Insurance Company (UMI) for informational purposes only. No article or document may accurately contemplate all possible scenarios or church resources. As such, this information is meant to foster discussion by the individual church and its members to develop a plan tailored to its own circumstances. UMI is providing this information with no warranties or guarantees of any kind and it should not be viewed as legal, financial, or other professional advice. All liability is expressly disclaimed. Any claim examples described herein are general in nature, may or may not be based on actual claims, and are for informational purposes only. Any coverage available for a claim is determined from the facts and circumstances of the claim as well as the terms and conditions of any applicable policy, including any exclusions or deductibles. In the event of a conflict with the content herein, the terms and conditions of any issued policy will control. Individual coverage may vary and may not be available in all states.

The commercial insurance coverages for United Methodist Insurance are sold and serviced directly or indirectly by Sovereign Insurance Agency (CA Lic. No. 0B01380) ("Sovereign") and underwritten by various available insurance markets. Sovereign pays United Methodist Insurance a royalty for the use of its intellectual property.


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