Arson at my church? If you think like most people, you will dismiss the possibility as something that will never happen at your parish. You will say that you have never had an issue in the area and that it happens mainly near urban churches. However, church arson takes place more often than you might expect. According to federal crime statistics, arson leads in the cause of church fires each year. We witness an average of 130 churches destroyed or damaged by arson each year.
What if you have church insurance? Even if you have full replacement value coverage, that may not always solve the issue. Many times churches carry priceless contents that cannot be replaced. The memories of deceased parishioners will often carry a large amount of sentimental value. Even if you do have church insurance, a major building project may take a long duration and become an uphill battle to recovery.
How can I address the issue? First, you can assess the risk. In many cases, insurance providers, locksmiths, police departments and fire departments will conduct a free risk survey. Here is what they examine:
If you have flammables, lock them in a secured area and keep the trash containers away from the building. Next, install alarms. Statistics have shown that security alarms will greatly reduce your chances of being burglarized. A good security system offers decals and window stickers to warn criminals, an audible alarm system, and the appropriate authorities will be dispatched immediately in the event of an attack. Insured property value will often range from $10,000 to $3.3 million. Nevertheless, a lot of churches lack adequate insurance to cover the full replacement costs. You have to understand the terms in your church insurance policy, and it is better to be safe than sorry.
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