2/27/2018 5:00 AM | 0 Comments

As the owner or manager of a shelter, you have committed your life to protecting and helping others – but are you protecting yourself? Shelters that support people in need have a unique set of exposures that you should be aware of so that you can make sure your valuable resources are spent serving those in need instead of responding to a liability claim.

Below are just a few of the things that should be top-of-mind when considering your insurance liabilities. For more information on how to better protect your clients and staff, reach out to a member of the Eastern Insurance Commercial Lines team so that they can help you develop an appropriate risk management plan for your organization.


In many cases, and especially if you are receiving public funding, you are responsible for maintaining certain standards of habitability for the guests staying on your property. It is important to be familiar with all local codes, including fire codes, health codes, tax codes and electrical codes, and to also stay up to date on any changes that may be made. Requirements may include the following:

  • Structurally sound buildings

  • Sanitary conditions

  • Clean water supply

  • Adequate air quality

  • Sufficient space and security for each occupant

  • Lack of lead-based paint hazards

  • A certain number of smoke detectors

Premises Liability

If a visitor to your shelter suffers harm from unsafe or unhealthy conditions and subsequently decides to sue you, you could be held negligent and be responsible for damages. As a property owner, you are legally responsible for taking reasonable care to prevent visitors from being injured or sickened on your property. When someone is injured on your property due to your failure to repair or warn about a danger on the property, you are liable for damages. The extent to which you are liable depends on case history in each state.

Protecting your organization from this exposure could comprise a variety of actions such as:

  • Providing proper warning of known hazards can be as simple as posting signage around the facilities and can satisfy your legal duty.

  • If you notice a potential or current hazard that could cause sickness or injury, such as an aging water heater, a faulty furnace, or other issues, take preventative actions immediately to avoid harming those staying on property.

  • Take precautions against careless or criminal conduct on the part of a third party. This may include providing a sufficient number of people to protect against it, hiring security, or installing security systems, gates, or fences.

Examine your organization’s property and facilities, and determine which preventive measures are appropriate to protect against liability claims. It is important to remember that the degree to which you could be held liable is largely dependent on your jurisdiction and the outcome of past cases.

In addition to taking necessary preventive steps, contact Eastern Insurance’s commercial lines team to ensure that you have purchased sufficient liability insurance to help cover you in the event of a claim.

To learn more about the services we provide, to contact a member of our team, or to request a quote online, please visit our website at https://www.easterninsurance.com/insurance-quotes/business-insurance. Or, feel free to call us at (800) 333-7234 (Option 3).


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