Frequently Asked Questions

Our church is about to commence a $1,000,000 building extension to the auditorium. Is this covered by our insurance?

No. The Industrial Special Risks policy does cover smaller building projects but only up to a limit of $500,000. For any building projects over this amount please contact your local BIS representative who can provide information and a quote on a Construction Policy that will provide comprehensive cover for your building works.

Is the church covered if we’re not at the church property?

Yes. As long as the activity away from the premises is an authorised ministry of your church, the Public Liability policy will respond if a claim occurs through a breach of your duty of care. We would expect that reasonable care and any regulations are followed. Certain high risk activities may not be covered by your policy. It would be advisable to contact your local BIS representative well before your event to discuss any areas of uncertainty.

When do we use the Hall Hirer’s Insurance?

Please refer to our articles on Hall Hirer’s Insurance in our February and August 2011 BIS Newsletters for further information. The Hall Hirer’s Insurance is only available for “private family functions”. Any other type of function will require its own insurance. Please contact your local BIS representative to if you have any further queries.

How do we know how much to insure our church for?

BIS has contracted with a professional valuation firm to provide updated sums insured for your church buildings and manses. These figures are updated each year and used to calculate the replacement value of your buildings. However, if you have concerns about the values, it is your responsibility to obtain a professional valuation and provide a copy to your local BIS representative so that your values can be updated.

Does existing BIS insurance cover reimbursement of medical costs charged by medical practitioners, where those costs exceed Medicare scheduled payments?

Like all general insurance policies, BIS policies only provide for payment or reimbursement of Non-Medicare medical expenses.

Non-Medicare expenses are those that are NOT:

    Subject to full or partial Medicare rebate, nor
    Recoverable by the insured from any other sources, nor
    Prohibited by law.

Legislation prevents insurers from paying medical expenses which are subject to full or partial rebate from Medicare, including the Medicare Gap. These restrictions apply to the medical expense payment / reimbursement components of Business Travel, Student Travel and Voluntary Workers Accident covers.

Are our offerings covered prior to being banked?

Yes, they are under the Comprehensive Crime policy which is part of the standard core of policies issued to every church subject to policy terms and conditions. It is important to have reasonable safety procedures in place prior to offerings being banked.

Is the personal property of congregational members and attendees used for ministry purposes covered under the church / organisation insurance cover?

Cover for personal equipment, not owned by church, but used for ministry purposes is not automatically covered. Please discuss with your local BIS representative.

We have had some property damage / bodily injury – when should we contact BIS?

Please contact your local BIS office as soon as possible to discuss.

Do we really need the high limit of Public Liability cover we have?

Yes and we constantly review this amount to determine if we need more. Public Liability covers the church against any claims arising out of a breach in your duty of care. Imagine if, through a lack of regular maintenance, the ceiling in your hall collapsed while a youth group or kids club was using it and a number of children got injured. These claims may not be brought against the church until the child or person reaches adulthood and this could be many years into the future. Any settlement amount will be based on the cost of living at the time the settlement is made whilst the amount of insurance cover you have is what was in place at the time the incident occurred. That is why we must always look to the future for the amount we insure for.

The Summary of Insurance shows that we are insured for $240,000,000 for any damage to our property. Are we paying for that?

No, you’re not. The limit on our ISR policy is governed by our maximum exposure to any one risk, hence the large limit. Your premium is based on the sum insured that is shown on your renewal notice.

Our church has a significant tree in the car park that is dying. What should we do?

Where the church is aware that the tree is unsafe, they have a duty to rectify the situation and make it safe. In most cases, this will mean having the tree removed. If no action is taken and it can be proven that the church knew of the situation, the church may be held liable for any damage or injury caused.  

Do we have any cover if one of our volunteers injures themselves whilst working at the church?

Yes, you do subject to policy terms and conditions. As part of the standard core of policies issued to every church, there is a Voluntary Workers Personal Accident cover. The volunteer age range would be from 12 years (high school age) to 85 years and the incident would have to occur when the volunteer was engaged in authorised voluntary activities with the church. With over 85 years confined to reading only activities. Due to legislation, our insurer can’t make any payments for Medicare expenses. However, the volunteer may be able to claim for a percentage of other non-Medicare out of pocket expenses, as well as receiving a weekly benefit if time was taken off work. Nevertheless, every claim and situation can vary, it would be best to speak to your local BIS representative should there be an incident or circumstances that could give rise to a claim.

Who is responsible for valuing the contents of our church or organisation and on what basis should they be value?

The responsibility for providing an accurate valuation of your contents is yours. The sum insured for contents should always be based on the cost of replacing any item at current day costs as the ISR policy is based on replacement conditions.

Are our youth covered when participating in church youth activities?

Yes, your youth (aged 12-21 years old) are covered under the Personal Accident Youth cover when participating in authorised youth activities of the church subject to policy terms and conditions. The Personal Accident Youth cover is part of the standard core of policies issued to every church. However, certain activities are excluded which include any form of football, organised sporting events (races, time trials of any kind) and certain high risk activities. Pre-existing medical conditions are excluded. If you are unsure, it would be best for you to contact your local BIS representative beforehand to discuss.