Think Before You Loan Your Ministry's Vehicles

Has your church or school ever been asked to loan one of your vans or buses to another?

Before you decide to loan your ministry vehicles to another organization, seriously consider the potential risks associated with such a decision. You would do better to practice your generosity by assisting financially in leasing or chartering a vehicle from a rental agency, rather than risking your own vehicle.

If you do choose to allow another party to use your vehicle, here are some important things to consider:

  • Your ministry will be held fully liable for damage caused by improper operation of your vehicle by others.
  • Your policy covers you and your organization, but it may not adequately cover others outside your organi­zation.
  • If the user damages your vehicle, he most likely will expect you to turn in the damages under your insur­ance rather than pay the damages out of his own pocket.
  • When you loan or lease your vehicle, you lose all supervisory control over who may drive it and how it’s operated and cared for.
  • Specify in writing who will be responsible for damage to your vehicle. If the other party agrees to be responsible, it will have to purchase special physical damage protection. Verify coverage on a certif‍icate of insurance that the other party gives to you.
  • Outline your requirements to the user regarding who may operate your vehicle and under what conditions. Make sure that the driver has a valid license, a good driving record, and experience operating your type of vehicle.
  • Make sure any vehicle you loan is in top mechanical condition.
  • Before you lease your vehicle for hire, consult your attorney to verify that you comply with state and interstate laws governing vehicles operated for transporting passengers for hire. Stricter standards apply when you lease than when you loan.
  • Make sure your vehicle will be used for ministry activities. Your coverage may be voided or limited it’s used for some other activity or commercial purpose.