Parsonages and Renter's Insurance
Many churches provide housing to their pastors or other church employees via their church owned parsonages. But did you know that while residing in the church owned parsonage the pastor or church employee must also carry renter’s insurance to cover their personal property and personal liability? From the Frequently Asked Questions booklet that is sent to your church annually (contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you need another copy sent to your church):
Does our pastor need his/her own personal insurance?
YES. The church’s insurance only protects the parsonage building and the church-owned contents within the parsonage. A pastor residing in a church owned parsonage MUST purchase renters insurance to cover their personal liability and their property/contents, no coverage is afforded to them or their property under the church’s insurance. Sovereign Insurance can provide quotes for a renter’s and personal liability insurance policy.
Also, if the church pastor has an automobile registered in the pastor’s name, this vehicle would need to be covered by the pastor’s own auto insurance. Only vehicles that are titled/registered to the church can be covered under the Conference Insurance Program.
Renter’s insurance is relatively inexpensive and our office would be happy to assist your pastor in obtaining the necessary coverage. Not only is it imperative that all pastors or staff residing at a parsonage obtain and maintain renters insurance, the church must also be named as an “additional insured” on the policy and collect proof of their renter’s insurance. The church trustees can do this by requesting a copy of the pastor’s “declarations page.” The trustees would need to request the declarations pages as the pastor’s policy expires, which is typically annually, also the declarations page must show that the church is listed as an “additional insured.” These declarations pages should be kept on file at the church. Further if the pastor has a family pet, such as a dog, they must confirm with their renter’s insurance carrier that the pet is covered under their renter’s insurance policy for any injuries or incidents that may occur involving the pet.
We recommend the following minimum limits for renter’s insurance:
- Contents or Personal Property – this will vary and depends on what contents the pastor owns that is currently stored at the parsonage
- Personal Liability (including Bodily Injury and Property Damage) – $300,000
- Medical Payments to Others (each person) – $5,000