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Armed security and your insurance coverage

If your organization has people who carry weapons for protection, you will need security guard insurance. It can be tricky to navigate armed security, concealed carry and insurance coverage, which is why Church Mutual offers extensive guidance both before you create your policies, and while they are in effect. Below are some helpful tips to help you decipher what type of security is right for you, and what kind of security guard insurance you need.

Armed security

When you ask or allow individuals to carry a weapon on behalf of your organization or while serving your organization, much of that responsibility and liability for their actions transfers to your organization. Therefore, we strongly recommend that only highly trained individuals be allowed to carry a weapon as part of a formalized security team. Generally, an armed security team of untrained volunteers is the least desirable option, because they often lack the training and experience to handle a weapon safely in a high-stress situation. Additionally, it could cost significantly more to acquire security guard insurance in such a case.

If I have armed security, will it be covered in the event of an armed intruder?

First and foremost, each situation is evaluated independently. If liability insurance for security guards is not specifically excluded, you generally have coverage depending on your situation. However, an armed security team is an additional exposure that must be reviewed by Church Mutual’s underwriting department. There is also an additional survey that needs to be completed. You should provide the survey, along with your security team policy/procedures, so that our underwriting department can review them and determine potential armed security insurance costs.

Why might CM exclude security guard insurance?

An armed security team creates an additional exposure that may not be covered in your policy. Church Mutual must review your security policies and procedures to determine acceptability for security guard general liability insurance. If they do not meet best practices, we may add an exclusion, and we may provide recommendations to help you develop an acceptable security team exposure.

What might make a team unacceptable for security guard insurance?

  • No policies/procedures and written security plan

  • No training or minimal training

  • No background checks on security team members

  • Fully automatic weapons

  • Security team members under the age of 21

What about concealed carry holders at my church – are they covered?

When it comes to concealed carry in church by members or visitors, it is your choice to either allow or prohibit weapons in your facility. It is imperative, however, that those individuals and your organization comply with local or state laws, and that you document your decision within policies, procedures and/or signage.

As a best practice, anyone carrying a concealed weapon who is not a part of a formalized armed security team should not be carrying a weapon on behalf of your organization or while serving your organization. If you choose to allow for concealed carry, members and visitors should be carrying on their own behalf and in the interest of self-defense, thus bearing responsibility for their own actions. Be mindful: If you allow a concealed carry holder to serve in a non-security related function (usher, teacher, etc.), you may still be liable.

If there is an armed security team, we recommend that you don’t allow concealed carry on the premise. This could result in confusion for the armed security team and members of the organization, should an event ever occur.

What to do before implementing armed security

If your organization has decided to start an armed security program, there are some important steps you should take first:

  1. Know your state laws about the type of weapons security guards can carry. If there are specific licenses required in your state, armed security guards should acquire those licenses.

  2. Post notices that you are using armed security guards. Communication is vital, as visitors to your organization may be alarmed by the sight of weapons.

  3. Perform background checks on all individuals who will be armed. Part of the requirements for security guard insurance are that each person who carries a weapon must undergo a criminal background check.

  4. Require that your armed guards undergo regular training. Most states require that armed guards go through training on each specific weapon at least once every six months.

Looking for help with next steps?

If you are working through the complexities of armed security guard insurance and would like to talk to an expert, please utilize the free resources on Church Mutual’s website, We provide an overview of armed vs. unarmed security, a 10 Essentials of Security plan, a security assessment and many other helpful documents.

We also have a Risk Consulting department that can answer any questions you may have. Risk Consulting can be reached at 800.554.2642, ext. 5213, or at