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Insurance Coverage

September 2015 Update

Consider the possibility that an accident could occur involving your unit. Take proper steps in advance, not only to eliminate potential hazards, but to fully protect yourself and others responsible for the outing. An adequate emergency fund will cover minor emergencies. A review of the DVD, Scouting Safety Begins With Leadership, No. 19-201, will prepare you for the potential hazards faced during outdoor activities.

Comprehensive General Liability Insurance

This coverage provides primary general liability coverage for registered volunteer Scouters with respect to claims arising out of an official Scouting activity, which is defined in the insurance policy as consistent with the values, Charter and Bylaws, Rules and Regulations, the operations manuals, and applicable literature of the Boy Scouts of America. This coverage responds to third-party negligent actions that result in personal injury or property damage claims that are made and provides protection for Scouting units and chartered organizations.

The BSA general liability program provides excess coverage for automobile or watercraft liability. The owner’s vehicle or watercraft liability insurance is primary. The excess insurance is available only while the vehicle or watercraft is in the actual use of a Scouting unit and being used for a Scouting purpose.

The insurance provided to unregistered Scouting volunteers through the general liability insurance program is excess over any other insurance the volunteer might have to his or her benefit, usually a homeowners, personal liability, vehicle, or watercraft policy. 

The general liability policy does not provide indemnification or defense coverage to those individuals who commit intentional and/or criminal acts. The Boy Scouts of America does not have an insurance policy that provides defense for situations involving allegations of intentional and/or criminal acts.

Automobile Liability Insurance

All vehicles MUST be covered by a liability insurance policy. The amount of this coverage must meet or exceed the insurance requirement of the state in which the vehicle is licensed. (It is recommended, however, that coverage limits are at least $100,000 combined single limit.) Any vehicle carrying 10 or more passengers is required to have limits of $500,000 single limit. In the case of rented vehicles, coverage limit requirements can be met by combining the limits of personal coverage carried by the driver with coverage carried by the owner of the rented vehicle. All vehicles used in travel outside the United States must carry a liability insurance policy that complies with or exceeds the requirements of that country.

Chartered Organizations for Scouting Units

The general liability policy provides primary liability insurance coverage for all chartered organizations on file with the BSA for liability arising out of their chartering a traditional Scouting unit. Automobile and maritime liability coverage is provided on a secondary or excess basis. All vehicles used in Scouting activities must be covered by automobile liability insurance with limits that meet or exceed the requirements of the state in which the vehicle is licensed. All watercraft used in Scouting must be insured by the owner for liability exposures. The amount of coverage is determined by the size and usage of the boat; $1 million is recommended.

Chartered organizations do not need a certificate of insurance. The chartered organization endorsement is a part of the insurance policy contract and is enforceable under the policy contract.

Accident and Sickness Coverage

(Optional coverage for council or units)

Accident and sickness insurance (also known as accident and health insurance) coverage for Scouts and Scouters furnishes medical reimbursement in case of death, accident, or sickness within the policy amounts. Information regarding unit accident coverage is available through the local council. The coverage provided has maximum limits it pays and a maximum benefit period, usually 52 weeks from the date of the incident.

Coverage is excess of all other insurance or health care plans in force. This policy is excess to any and all other available sources of medical insurance or other health care benefits. See the Council Accident & Sickness Insurance Plan brochure.

All registered youth and seasonal staff are eligible, as well as registered leaders and volunteer leaders.

The coverage provided has maximum limits it pays, and a maximum benefit period, usually 52 weeks from the date of the incident. The plans do not “take care of everything.” Claims should be filed with the accident and sickness carrier as soon as possible along with any other source of medical insurance or other health care benefits.

Accident and sickness plans and insurance companies have specific procedures for processing claims. Volunteers need to check with their local council to verify which plan/policy their council provides or is available.

Coverage for Non-Owned Boats Used in Scouting Activities

Only general liability insurance coverage is available; no hull damage insurance is provided.

Owners (chartered organizations or others) must carry their own liability coverage. Boats under 26 feet and donated for use in Scouting activities need to have at least $300,000 in coverage. Boats 26 feet and over should have $500,000 in coverage. Risk Management will provide certificates of insurance up to $2 million. The BSA’s coverage is excess of the liability coverage ($300,000 or $500,000) carried by the owner.

The following are examples of watercraft/boats that need not be insured by the chartered organization and others if they are to be used in an official Scouting activity: canoes, kayaks, rafts, catamarans, and sailboats (under 26 feet). However, if these watercraft are to be used for non-Scouting activities, the chartered organization or others should provide liability insurance as there is no liability coverage for chartering organizations or others for non-Scouting activities.

Watercraft owned by local councils, chartered organizations, and others should be licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard, and the operator should be licensed if required.

Unauthorized and Restricted Activities

The Boy Scouts of America’s general liability policy provides coverage for a bodily injury or property damage claim that is made and arises out of an official Scouting activity. The Guide to Safe Scouting contains a listing of unauthorized and restricted activities. Unauthorized activities are not considered official Scouting activities.

Volunteers (registered and unregistered), units, chartered organizations, and local councils are jeopardizing insurance coverage for themselves and their organization by engaging in unauthorized activities. 

Please do not put yourself at risk.


© Boy Scouts of America - All Rights Reserved - Great Rivers Council, BSA, 1203 Fay Street, Columbia, MO 65201

© Boy Scouts of America - All Rights Reserved - Great Rivers Council, BSA, 1203 Fay Street, Columbia, MO 65201