While in Toronto and others places that I speak, the question often comes up from volunteers, "what about liability insurance?"
Could I lose my house if I am just using my training and trying to do the right thing?
For example, if you see an accident happen and pull over on the side of the road and use the skills that you learned from a training class, would you be covered by the agency that trained you?
A volunteer may hear they are covered under the "Good Samaritan Law". And more often than not, in this example, that is probably how you are covered.
* Note - It is important to note there are often specific regulations as it relates to traffic management.
You will see there is much discussion in the industry about this. For example, check out the description and comment on Wikipedia -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Samaritan_Law
Some additional questions to consider:
- What if a person is asked to volunteer in a booth at a fair providing awareness to the public, are they covered?
- If a person is trained to act in a disaster, but there is no formal deployment plan and they help their neighbor are they covered?
- What if you are trained by one agency but deployed by another or volunteer for multiple agencies?
- Are you covered when you are at a training exercise?
- What about when you drive to the meeting or activity, are you covered?
Some jurisdictions require activation or a state of emergency to be declared at the state level for certain coverage and deployment to occur.
Have you ever asked these questions and found the person you volunteer for needed to research it? Have you ever asked multiple people and got different answers? If so, which answer really applies?
Bottom line, if you have any concerns about this, you might want to ask for the official document that specifically highlights the coverage. And if you find that for your type of volunteering that it is not covered, might you want to ask why? After all, are you not an extension of that agency?
And no matter what you hear, you might also consider a personal liability umbrella insurance policy. The following website provides some addition information -> http://personalinsure.about.com/cs/umbrella/a/aa110503a.htm
Again, keep in mind, this is just something to think about and not legal advice.