Charity Insurance | Social Enterprises | Voluntary Organisations | Community Groups

Considerations for Voluntary Groups Hiring Premises (and Charities that Hire Premises Out!)

Just who has to insure what!

So many small non profit groups are dependent on using a third party premises in order to conduct their activities.  Hundreds of thousands of small groups across the UK meet in libraries, church halls, schools, fire stations, council facilities and other charities premises – So what insurance considerations are their for the hirer and the hiree?

Let us start looking at this issue, firstly from the perspective of the small voluntary group who are looking to use a third party premises.

Public Liability for a Small Voluntary Group in Third Party Premises

Many of our very small voluntary organisations first consider the need for any insurance at all when a premises owner asks them to evidence public liability insurance before they can use their premises.  However, if you are a small voluntary group and the premises owner has their own insurance, or does not require you to have your own, do you need any cover at all?

Many organisations may well be very much mistaken if they believe that they are adequately insured when using a building such as a community centre, village hall, library, council or school premises etc, which belong to somebody else.

Using a community centre as an example, it is highly likely that the centre will carry their own public liability insurance in case someone using the premises is injured or has their property damaged and this is shown to be the fault or negligence of the community centre.  This is a crucial distinction, the community centre might be responsible if poor building maintenance causes an injury but it is an entirely different matter if the hiree conducts activities that cause such a loss.

If it can be shown that an accident causing injury to a member of the public is due to the negligence or fault of the  group hiring the facilities or, for that matter, its leaders then the responsibility lies with that group and not with the owner or manager of the building. It would appear that very many organisations, particularly the smaller ones, are unaware of this fact and, innocently, assume that the centre’s liability insurance policy covers them.

Therefore, any group of individuals that might be using a room or part of the premises should carry their own public liability insurance in respect of their own activities.  This can be a significant challenge for many smaller organisations with very little funding of their own.

Insurance Considerations for a Charity that ‘Hires Out’ Premises

For a charity who are hiring out their facilities, it is also important to ensure that the very activity of ‘hiring’ is included in their liability policy.  This is often called ‘Hirer’s Liability’.  Some of the insurers we work with, such as Hiscox, often include this cover as part of their standard policy, other insurers expect the client to extend cover to include their liabilities as a hirer.

It is good practice to request that any group wishing to hire the premises do have public liability insurance too.  Put simply, if a claim arose, it ensures both organisations are properly protected from any subsequent losses claimed for as a result of negligence, whether this be on the part of the hirer or the hiree.

For advice, either on voluntary group insurance or as the hirer of a premises, get in touch!