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Volunteering During the Coronavirus Outbreak: Insurance Considerations

May 7, 2020

There are currently many people across the UK who are volunteering. Whether to help those in their community access food and other essentials; as part of the government drive to recruit volunteers to support the NHS; or volunteering through an organisation or charity. Many communities are also setting up their own support groups where individuals can volunteer their time to help others.

This is of course a brilliant thing to do and reflective of the way that our society is pulling together during the Coronavirus pandemic.

As a volunteer it is important that you both stay safe and ensure the safety of those that you are helping. Helping safely is of paramount importance at the current time as people support those who are most vulnerable.

There are volunteering insurance considerations which you should keep in mind. Particularly when it comes to the forming of new organisations to provide volunteers.

What are the insurance considerations to keep in mind when volunteering?

Many volunteers will be using their vehicles to carry out a lot of the help that is being provided. This may be driving to the shop to pick up groceries or to pick up vital medical supplies.

In normal circumstances, not all motor insurance policies provide cover for driving relating to volunteer work as standard. And you’d typically need to contact your insurer to make sure cover is provided.

However, the ABI have recently confirmed that for those volunteering in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, there is no need to contact your car insurer to update or extend cover.

They state that: ‘If you are using your own car for voluntary purposes to transport medicines or groceries to support others who are impacted by Covid-19, your cover will not be affected.’

Those organisations and businesses taking on volunteers must also be mindful of insurance requirements. In the same way that a profit-making business must ensure they have sufficient insurance in place to protect their business and employees so must those working as charities/non-profit organisations. You will still be responsible for those working on a volunteer basis for example.

Insurance covers to consider include:

  • Employers liability insurance
  • Public liability insurance
  • Property and vehicle insurance
  • Professional indemnity insurance if you are providing services

Read this guide to insuring your charity for more information.

What factors must you keep in mind when taking on volunteers?

If your organisation or charity is taking on volunteers there are many areas to consider.

Safety for your volunteers, as well as those that your volunteers will be helping is of paramount importance.

Areas to keep in mind include:

Carrying out background checks for volunteers – if working with children or vulnerable people this will be vital. Make sure you are aware of key personal information. Is a DBS check required? What training will you need to carry out?

Carrying out role specific checks – if your volunteers will be driving for example check they have a valid driving licence/insurance in place. In the case of Covid-19, ensure that social distancing and hygiene processes are adhered to.

Carrying out risk assessments – of the roles that will be carried out before you ask volunteers to carry out any work

Providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)  – where necessary to protect volunteers and those they are helping. Important when it comes to Covid-19

Read more about involving volunteers and managing volunteers during the Coronavirus outbreak here.

If you have any questions about insurance for your business, then get in touch with Anthony Jones. We are still working and are here to help. You can get in touch with us in the usual ways – just visit our contact us page for more details.

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