Australia has around 6 million volunteers who dedicate over 600 million hours to helping other people. If you're running an organisation that relies on volunteer labour, a volunteer insurance policy is specifically designed to protect you and your workers in case the unexpected happens.
You might run a charity, a sporting club, a not-for-profit or be hosting a live event. Perhaps your workers are ticket collectors, handing out flyers, on work experience or are there because they genuinely love the work opportunities you provide.
A volunteer workers’ insurance policy will generally cover situations involving their personal accidents. Organisations without the right coverage in place will be significantly at risk if the unexpected happens.
Below, we’ll outline what you need to know about volunteer insurance coverage, and whether it’s ultimately worth it.
What is volunteer insurance?
Volunteer insurance is a form of personal injury insurance designed to provide you financial compensation for out-of-pocket costs you incur if one of your volunteers becomes injured or dies.
It is sometimes called volunteers personal accident or volunteers worker insurance. It may also be referred to as a form of charity or work experience insurance – as you may require it for students undertaking free work experience with you.
Policies will usually cover accidents where volunteers were performing authorised work for you, or while they were travelling to and from the workplace.
Any organisation that engages volunteers should purchase volunteer insurance. This could include
Volunteer insurance can be paid out in various ways, including:
- Weekly benefits if a volunteer is injured and cannot work in their normal job
- Lump sum compensation
- Coverage for non-Medicare medical costs (up to a limit)
- Home assistance and rehabilitation
What does volunteer insurance cover?
Volunteer insurance covers the costs you must pay arising from the death or injury of a volunteer while they are carrying out for you.
Depending on the precise policy you take out, volunteer insurance can cover:
- Accidental death
- Total and permanent disablement
- Loss or injury of limbs, fingers and toes
- Loss or injury of hearing or sight
- Permanent disfigurement
- Fractured bones
- Loss of teeth
- And more.
Volunteer insurance also can pay non-Medicare medical expenses. These are typically costs paid by an insured person that Medicare won’t reimburse you for. This could include things like physiotherapistsThis could include not-for-profit organisations, community groups, healthcare charities, religious organisations like churches, recreation facilities, shelters for disadvantages members of the community and more.
Below, we’ll outline two scenarios where you do and don’t have a volunteer insurance policy in place at your organisation.
Your volunteer is injured when tripping over some boxes at your workplace, breaking his arm, ribs and legs.
|Without coverage||With coverage|
|Your volunteer has to go into surgery, and you may be responsible for paying all of his medical expenses.||Your volunteer receives a lump sum payment for his broken leg, ribs and arm – paying for his surgery and medical expenses.|
|Your volunteer cannot work at his normal occupation, doesn’t have savings and can’t afford to pay his rent.||He also gets paid weekly benefits for his time off work as he recovers and gets his life body back in order.|
|You and your volunteer are left in a much better, less stressful situation.|
Based on the above, it’s quite clear to see the benefits of having volunteer insurance coverage.
Is voluntary accident insurance worth it?
Generally, yes. But whether volunteer insurance is right for you will depend on your own unique situation and an assessment of the risks involved. Relevant factors you may need to take into consideration include:
- How many volunteers you engage
- What type of work your volunteers do
- The proportion of your workforce (and whether a majority of it forms volunteers)
- The value provided to your organisation by volunteers
- The risk of death or bodily injury in your workplace
- And other factors
Volunteer insurance coverage will also vary depending on the policy you decide to go for.
At AFA Insurance, our robust and thorough voluntary workers insurance policies take the risk out of volunteering. Whether your workers are working in a school, professional association, RSL or sporting club, our policies will take care of them (and therefore take care of you). Our policy covers accidental death, non-Medicare medical expenses (such as physio), loss of income and more.
So, if you’re an insurance broker looking for the right policy for your clients, get in touch with our insurance experts here at AFA.