Insurance for community groups

Community resilience activities are very low risk and are unlikely to put volunteers or the public in any danger. Depending on what your group wants to do, you should check that your group has the insurance cover it needs in order to carry out your activities with confidence. If you are in doubt always check with your insurer.

I am part of a small group of residents who are interested in helping our community to be prepared for an emergency. Do we need to get specific insurance?

Many small community groups do have public liability insurance which covers them for any damage caused to property and for personal injury to third parties. In order to obtain this cover, groups do not need a formal constitution – the insurance company will usually just require some information about the activities that you intend to carry out and the numbers of people involved.

If you have any specific kit, such as Hi Vis Jackets, torches or signs, then you may wish to consider getting a quote to cover these items as well. It might be worth thinking about their value compared to the excess you may need to pay if you claimed.

Would I be covered by my household insurance?

If your insurance policy includes public liability, it is likely that this will just cover you against claims relating to the occupation of your property and will not extend to any activities in the wider community. If any equipment is owned by you and stored in your house then it should be covered as part of your household contents insurance, but it is unlikely to be covered if it is used away from your home, but it may be worth checking with your insurance company just in case.

If I use my vehicle to assist the community (such as using my 4x4 to drive my neighbour to the doctors in the snow) do I need special insurance?

You should be covered by your motor insurance provider, but please double check any clauses.

Could our group be insured under the umbrella of the local authority or Town or Parish Council policy?

You would usually only be covered by your local authority insurance if it has specifically asked you to carry out a task on their behalf. Before you take out insurance it may be worth having a conversation with your local Town or Parish Council to see whether they have any wider insurance that you may be able to be covered by.

What if there was a large scale emergency, and our group helped out – would we need to make sure we are covered by insurance?

If there was a major event in Surrey, such as the flooding in 2013/14 and you/your group help people in the emergency situation and a subsequent claim was made against you, then it is likely that you would be covered by the council's insurance as you were voluntarily assisting the council.

There is also the SARAH– Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Act 2015. This aims to provide reassurance that if something goes wrong when people are acting for the benefit of society or intervening to help someone in an emergency, the courts will take into account the context of their actions in the event they are sued.

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