"I know Mr. Watts from our church of Christ congregation in Atlanta Georgia. He has always been a man I've always looked up to in life and is a great example of how more people should be. He stands out form other professionals because of his love and care for others. He is always looking to help out others for whatever they may need. He has a gentle and caring heart that is not easily matched by others. Mr. watts is a staple in my life and in the lives of so many others. He is the man for the job!"
Reggie Graham
"I have known Steve for well over 20 years, and he has always been one of the kindest, most helpful, Christian-like men I've known. Although I have never purchased insurance from him, he is always willing to lend an ear if I have a question about it. He has also given me excellent advice while I was in the job market. I would recommend Steve Watts' insurance agency to anyone!"
Caryn Preston
"Steve is an outstanding individual. It has been my privilege to be associated with him for forty years. I have always found him to be honest and helpful in everything he does. He cares deeply about people and his work is a blessing to everyone who knows him. It is a pleasure to highly recommend him for all of your insurance needs."
Jeff Jenkins
"Steve Watts has handled insurance for me for quite awhile. I could not ask for a more dedicated professional, who is also a kind and compassionate person. In this day and age of offshore call centers and endless press-4-for-more-option voicemail trees with nary a real person anywhere near, this is PRICELESS."
Kris Poor Hall
"I have known Steve Watts for over 35 years and can attest to his honesty and integrity in every aspect of life. However, specifically regarding the insurance industry, Steve has answer each of my questions thoroughly and brought up situations I never would have thought of. He goes far beyond most agents in ensuring needs, questions and possible future event needs are answered."
Cindy Glick

Choosing business insurance for a church involves much the same analysis as choosing insurance for a business; however, churches differ in some respects from the traditional business:

  • Churches are typically governed by and eldership or a mens group.
  • Churches make use of volunteers more than employees.
  • Churches can inherit icons, valuables, land, buildings and other valuable property that is expensive to replace or to assign a      value.
  • Churches often sponsor non-profits and allow their facilities to be used by non-profits.

These differences make decisions regarding business insurance for the church somewhat different than the ordinary business.

You will want to review our checklist of documents below and assemble all documents relevant to your church. Make sure to include leases for all locations where any church activity takes place: halls, meeting rooms, parsonages, temple, church, anywhere the congregation meets. Make sure to include a current list of volunteers. Make sure to have the bylaws or church constitution available.

List of relevant documents:

  • Copies of relevant lease
  • Names and addresses of all landlords
  • Names and addresses of any location where your employees operate as contractors
  • How each location is constructed (masonry, metal, or wood)
  • Whether the location has sprinklers
  • Square footage and the type of space
  • The number of floors in the structure.

Unless your congregation is a large congregation with a large budget and substantial property interests, using a skilled local agent (preferably, in the congregation) is a good choice for a church. The agent must be familiar with commercial insurance and have the endorsement of other businesses in the community. While the congregation may have a well-meaning personal, auto or life agent in the congregation, it would be better to choose an established commercial agent.

The church and its agent should try and place insurance with an established "church insurer." Certain companies have worked with churches for decades. Your church should stick with experienced insurers.

Property Insurance

Your church will need property insurance. Property insurance insures against loss or damage to property used by the church. If, for example, a fire occurs and the church is damaged the property policy will provides that coverage.

The church will need to make a decision regarding whether they will buy actual cash valuecoverage or replacement cost coverage. For more modern facilities this is similar to insuring a business.

But, for older churches, this can be a very difficult decision. Churches that have older, historical buildings will find it prohibitively expensive to insure for full replacement value and may need to opt for a lower level of coverage. But, if at all possible, your church should seek full replacement value with a rider or endorsement to cover any additional expenses caused by having to bring your church up to local building code standards. Because, if a church that is decades old are damaged, when it is repaired, it will need to comply with modern standards. This can mean thousands and thousands of uncovered extra costs.

When purchasing property insurance, make sure that all church property is covered. Does your church provide living quarters for the minister? That property needs to be covered by the church if it remains the property of the church and your minister can purchase specialized clergy homeowners or tenants coverage. Does the church have valuable artifacts and irreplaceable items? These needs to be inventoried and listed on a separate schedule and you must ask if the items are covered for their full replacement value. Additional coverage or an endorsement may be necessary.

Liability Insurance

Liability insurance protects the church when it is liable for damages caused to another or another's property. This type of business insurance is necessary for the church. There is a tendency by congregations to think that members will not sue. In my experience, parents faced with caring for an injured child will sue and the church needs liability insurance.

You want liability insurance for volunteers. Volunteer insurance can be a complicated area and you will want the assistance of your agent and a local attorney familiar with the laws of your state to determine appropriate coverage. Your insurer will often have established rules to follow for volunteers and these rules may be costly to follow (background checks, applications, waivers) and some insurers offer free or discounted services to comply with these rules - ask your agent.

Professional Liability or Acts, and Errors & Omissions Coverage

Your preacher will need the same professional liability insurance as lay professionals especially if they hold advanced psychology or similar degrees. Many minsters do not secure professional liability insurance, but their professional services are as equal to an attack in a litigious society as any other. The congregational leadership and those that handle church funds should consider errors & omissions insurance.

Business Auto

If the church will use a motor vehicle to make deliveries, visit the congregation, or for transport your church will need a business auto policy. Make absolutely clear to your agent what the vehicle will do. Often an additional endorsement is needed and extra coverage for transportation.

Other Insurance to Consider

  • Workers Compensation Insurance - depending upon your state laws your church may need to provide its employees workers compensation coverage.
  • Health Insurance - your church may need to offer health insurance for permanent employees.
  • Surety Bonds - you may wish to have any volunteers that work with church funds bonded.
  • Travel and International Operations - your congregation may minister or send missionaries overseas and you will want to consider this coverage for those operations.

Allied Brokers for churches of Christ


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Allied Brokers for churches of Christ


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