Volunteering and insurance during coronavirus

15 May 2020

This article seeks to answer questions around insurance and volunteering during coronavirus (COVID-19). 

It is particularly important to be clear on where insurance is required as volunteers may be providing support in a variety of contexts; on an individual basis or through an organisation. 

advice for vols

Is there a legal requirement to have insurance in place?

Volunteers don't need to have insurance in place (except car insurance where appropriate) - it's not a requirement by law. 

Insurance for volunteer drivers

If an organisation or group owns the vehicle being used by a volunteer, then it's responsible for arranging insurance.

If the volunteer owns the vehicle, then the volunteer is responsible for arranging insurance. 

Usually the volunteer would inform their insurer that their car is being used for volunteering (the insurer may suggest extending the cover), however, this is not required during coronavirus. 

“There is no need to contact your car insurance provider if you are a volunteer helping the fight against Coronavirus”

According to the Association of British Insurers 

Insurance if volunteering through an organisation or group

If you’re volunteering with an established organisation or group, it’s very likely that you’ll have insurance in place through them, this will be active when you register to volunteer with them. 

The main types of insurance that volunteer-involving organisations and groups need are discussed in detail through this excellent resource by NCVO and include: 

  • Employers’ liability insurance
  • Public liability insurance
  • Personal accident insurance
  • Professional indemnity insurance

Each organisation or group should seek specialist advice in order to understand their level of risk and how to mitigate risk through an appropriate level of insurance. 

Each volunteer should make sure that they have accurate and up-to-date information such that they understand what activities are covered whilst volunteering. Volunteers should also be aware that insurance policies are limited in terms of coverage and subject to change. 

If I’m not part of an organisation or group that can arrange insurance

We’d always encourage you to volunteer safely. That may mean finding an organisation that can arrange adequate insurance to cover your volunteering activity (particularly where the tasks are regular and extend beyond helping a neighbour). 

If you choose to volunteer (but not through an organisation or group) then you do so at your own risk. You may wish to consider the level of risk you are running and whether insurance (such as personal liability insurance) is appropriate. 

If you are in a group (such as a mutual aid group) which cannot arrange insurances on behalf of its 'members' then consider this the same as volunteering at your own risk. 

We are aware that some groups that cannot provide 'umbrella' insurance have approached their local TSI and found help. This may be an avenue to pursue. Use this link to find local support


Any comments or questions on the subject please direct these to hello@volunteerscotland.org.uk 


Stay Safe