Insurance automatically provided by The Scout Association

Unity Insurance Services

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Unity is your insurance broker, the only one owned by The Scout Association, with over 80 years experience providing cover to the Scout Movement. Not forgetting 100% of our profits go back into Scouting, helping to keep your membership costs down.

Unity Insurance Services is a trading name of Scout Insurance Services Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Scout Association. Unity Insurance Services is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, FRN 312976.

The Scout Association, through Unity (Scout Insurance Services), provides insurance to protect what is most important in Scouting: you, the Members.

There are three kinds of insurance arranged by the Scout Association through Unity, for which the premiums are provided by the Annual Membership Subscriptions:

  • Personal Accident and Medical Expenses Insurance

  • Liability Insurance

  • Trustee Indemnity Insurance 

You never know when an accident may happen. Being prepared is a way of life in Scouting, but sometimes we all need a little help to cope with the unexpected. That’s why we’ve developed Personal Accident and Medical Expenses insurance for the Scouts.

Personal Accident and Medical Expenses insurance - (when a member is Injured)

The Personal Accident and Medical Expenses Policy covers your total Group Membership as shown on your Annual Census return, together with new members joining during the year. The policy provides limited benefits in the event of an injury during a Scout activity. (Leaders and parents need to consider their own, or family, circumstances and decide what cover they need to arrange privately). Information on the current benefits can be found at the back of this guide. 

The policy covers Scouts flying in any aircraft but Headquarters should be notified beforehand if the number of insured persons travelling in one aircraft is 200 or more. 

When travelling away from mainland Britain, members should ensure that they have adequate cover under a travel policy. 

More information can be found on the Unity website 

Click here to view the schedule of benefits

Who is automatically covered?

All members who appear in the annual census, and genuine prospective members.  

Who else can be covered?

Those who do not appear in the annual census of members such as helpers, committee members and instructors are not automatically included within the cover arranged by the Association, but can be added upon payment of a small additional premium.

When am I covered?

You are covered for an accident which arises whilst you are travelling to, participating in, or travelling home from any authorised Scout activity.

What am I covered for?

Benefits are payable if a member of the Association sustains bodily injury as a result of an accident which results in permanent injury or death. In addition to this, benefits are also provided if a member sustains temporary disability as a result of an accident or illness contracted and diagnosed whilst staying away from home at any organised camp.

Cover is also provided for medical expenses as a result of an accident and cover for up to two relatives or friends who, on medical advice, are required to travel to and remain with the member if they are hospitalised away from home.


(i) The total payment as the result of disabilities arising from one accident shall not exceed £15,000 per member for those aged under 18 and £20,000 for those members aged 18 or over.

(ii) If benefits are payable for loss of use of a whole limb then compensation for parts of that limb cannot also be claimed.

Temporary Total Disablement, Accident and Illness

(i) Aged 16 years and over and in full-time gainful employment, £100 per week or weekly wage, whichever is the lesser, for a total of 104 weeks.

(ii) Aged 16 years and over and not in full-time gainful employment, £20 per week, for a total of 104 weeks.

Note: (i) is subject to an excess of £150 and (ii) an excess of £100. The benefit period of sickness claims is limited to 52 weeks.

Medical and Travel Expenses

Medical expenses arising as the result of an accident are provided up to £10,000. Travel and accommodation expenses are provided for two relatives or legal guardian(s) up to £400, accommodation is limited to £75 per night, with the use of private vehicles being reimbursed at 20 pence per mile.

Members are expected to utilise the facilities of the National Health Service (NHS) in the first instance.

Surgical removal of clothing

Cover is provided up to £100 for damage to clothing necessitating surgical removal or being stained by blood beyond reasonable recovery.

What am I not covered for?

  • Participating in aviation as a pilot or crew member unless as part of an authorised Scout activity.
  • Active service in the Armed Forces of any nation, other than members of the Territorial Army Volunteer Reserve, Royal Air-Force Volunteer Reserve, Navy Volunteer Reserve or similar.
  • Declared or undeclared war or any act thereof.
  • The member committing or attempting to commit suicide, or intentionally inflicting self-injury.
  • Loss of earnings.
  • Loss of, or damage to personal effects, including spectacles or dentures.

What do I do in the event of a claim?

Any accident or illness which occurs during a scouting activity or in the course of travelling to or from that activity, which requires treatment by a doctor, should be notified within seven days to Unity Insurance Services, whether you feel there is likely to be a claim against this policy or not.

Extending cover for Non-Members

Group Committee Members and other Helpers have no automatic personal accident cover, although a facility exists whereby Groups can arrange cover upon payment of a small premium. 

Whilst there is no requirement for Helpers etc. to be named, the agreement with insurers is on the basis that Groups using this facility will insure the maximum number of different non-members assisting the Group during the year, not a maximum at any one time. 

Whilst the minimum premium effectively equates to 25 persons, large Groups with more than 25 Helpers must bear in mind that to adequately insure all Helpers they should declare the total number and pay on that basis. 

Short period cover under the policy is also available for non-members taking part in Scouting activities, such as family camps and sponsored walks, on payment of a premium. 

As a charity, with limited financial resources, The Scout Association recognises that the Personal Accident and Medical Expenses Policy is limited in the scope of cover provided and is unlikely to meet the full financial needs of any particular injured person.

However, in conjunction with the Insurers (Lloyds), Unity has developed a unique Personal Injury Plan (PIP) which provides an optional facility to our members and their families, including the parents and siblings of members. 

Details of this additional cover and premiums are available from Unity Insurance Services.

Liability Insurance

The Scout Association arranges a substantial and comprehensive Legal Liability Policy which will, at the request of the Association, provide indemnity for Commissioners, Leaders and other persons authorised to be in charge of, or to assist with, a Scout activity against claims made by members under their control, or their parents/guardians, or by third parties, alleging legal liability arising out of accidents occurring during any authorised Scout activity. 

It extends to all those authorised to be in charge of Beaver Scouts, Cub Scouts, Scouts, Explorer Scouts or members of Scout Network, while they are engaged in a properly organised and authorised activity abroad, as well as British Scout Leaders who assume temporary responsibility for parties of foreign Scouts visiting the British Isles to participate in Scout activities organised by a British Home Unit. 

The policy also extends to protect those responsible for the organisation and running of Scout fund raising events and covers the property owner’s liability which rests upon any Scout authority which owns, or is responsible for the upkeep of, land and/or buildings (except for liability accepted under any agreement - see note on indemnity agreements,). 

The Scout Association’s Legal Liability Policy does not cover legal liability arising out of the ownership and/or driving/piloting of motor vehicles, aircraft and/or gliders. Nor does it fully cover liability for injuries to third parties and/or damage to third party property arising out of ownership or operation of boats. However, additional liability policies are arranged by the Association in respect of marine and air activities. 

If any tree felling or lopping is to be undertaken as a Scout service or fundraising project, those responsible for planning and executing the activity must acquaint themselves with the relevant fact sheets available from the Information Centre at Gilwell Park.

Those responsible for organising Scout Fetes, Bazaars, and so on, need to remember that a large number of people congregating together in a limited space constitutes a high liability risk. Therefore, sideshows must be carefully sited and adequately screened especially where the attraction could be dangerous, such as a coconut shy or darts.) 

There must be sufficient adult supervision and an organising committee conscious of their responsibility to stop the operation of any particular sideshows or attraction which gives any sign of becoming a hazard to the safety of people attending the function. 

Every Leader or Instructor is expected to operate within the rules for sailing, canoeing, rock climbing, abseiling, mountaineering, parascending, building and operating aerial runways, and other adventurous activities. The Association’s schemes of authorization must be used. This is a pre-requisite to indemnity being given under the Association’s policy. 

If aerial runways, abseiling or climbing activities are to be included as an attraction at a public event, then they must be used only by properly supervised members of the Movement or other permitted persons as a form of display or demonstration. In any situation The Scout Association’s aerial runway code must be fully complied with and, of course, the use of climbing walls for climbing or abseiling must comply with the appropriate activity rules (see P.O.R. Rules 40.3) 

Trustee Indemnity Insurance

As a result of a change in Charity Commission rules (which, until June 2007, precluded Scouts from buying a Trustee Indemnity Insurance policy), cover can now legally be purchased.

Broadly, a Trustee Indemnity Insurance policy is designed to cover Trustees in the event that they are held personally liable for the loss of charity assets or for making a decision which results in the charity sustaining a loss in financial terms. It does not cover acts which the trustee knew (or should reasonably have known) would constitute a breach of trust, so deliberate malfeasance would not be covered.

Having considered the merits of such cover, The Scout Association elected to arrange a national policy to cover trustees of any Scout charity. That includes members of executive committees of Scout Districts, Counties and Groups, as well as those who manage other Scout assets such as building or campsite committees.

The provision of cover is designed to protect people who, having acted responsibly and honestly, find themselves being held to account. An obvious example might be where they have sent a cheque to pay for insurance, it is mislaid in the post and an uninsured loss occurs.

The premium is paid centrally by The Scout Association, and as such, they have set a limit of indemnity they see adequate for the membership, so no additional cover need be purchased.

Who is covered?

Any person elected, co opted or appointed to act as a trustee to Scout assets (these will usually be the members of an Executive Committee).

What are they covered for?

Personal liability to make good a loss to the charity caused by their joint or several action.

What is not covered?

Criminal actions.

Acts which the trustee(s) knew (or should reasonably have known) could result in a breach of trust. Acts taken in reckless disregard of whether a breach of trust might occur or not.

Indemnity Agreements 

If a Scout Group is arranging to use for an event or activity, land, premises or any other facility belonging to another authority, organisation or individual, and is required to sign an agreement or indemnity, they should contact Unity Insurance Services. The acceptability of the agreement or indemnity terms, and the adequacy of the Association’s Legal Liability Policy in relation to them, need to be confirmed by Unity Insurance Service before proceeding with the arrangements, or signing an agreement or indemnity. 

Additional insurance cover that your Group may need to purchase

The Scout Association’s rules state that every Scout Group must maintain adequate insurance cover, to be reviewed annually, in respect of:

  • Property and Equipment, including the risk of loss or damage to equipment whilst in transit or at camp or on expeditions.

  • Motor vehicles, including passenger risk, in the British Isles or abroad.

  • Marine and boating risks.

  • Aviation and air activity risks.

  • Authorised Scout visits abroad.

In addition to the central insurance policies arranged for everyone by The Scout Association, to cover liability, personal accident and medical expenses, Unity provides a range of additional specialist covers, which your Scout Group, District and County may need.

These can cover:

  • Non-members associated with your Group.
  • The things your Group owns.
  • Events that you run.

For more information, please visit the Unity website,, or call them on 0845 0945 703.

Scout property and equipment

The Group Executive Committee has a responsibility to ensure that the physical assets of the Group are suitably insured (and it’s a POR requirement). Failure to do so could lead to members being personally liable in law.

A lot of money, time and effort goes into building and maintaining Scout buildings and providing Scouts with equipment (especially camping equipment). Unity (Scout Insurance Services) offers a property and equipment policy tailored to the Movement’s needs.

Equipment can be covered for use by the Scout Group who owns it, for use by other Scouts or Guides, or even (for instance with marquees) when items are on loan to other persons or organisations.

Before you enter into any insurance policy agreement your Executive Committee should seek professional advice on the valuation of the buildings. The insured value should represent the full rebuilding cost.

Insuring your Group’s equipment need not be daunting. Here are some of the things to consider, which should help you make an informed decision.

Getting the right value for your equipment

One of the first points is setting the right value for your items. Contents and equipment should be insured at a full ‘present day’ replacement value, even if it was donated as a gift or originally purchased second hand. You may not be so lucky in getting it replaced so cheaply. Unity’s Scout Property and Equipment scheme provides for such cover, with few exceptions. Contents can include tables, chairs, cupboards, kitchen utensils, cleaning materials and so on. Equipment can include tents, camping accessories, special activity items, band instruments and the like.

Storage and usage

Consider how your equipment is used, and where it is stored. Unity (Scout Insurance Services Ltd.), provides two options:

  1. Contents Cover provides a cost effective way of insuring equipment, especially if you occupy brick or concrete premises.

  2. If you are not lucky enough to have all your possessions under one roof and rely on people to store items in their own homes, then All Risks Cover is a more flexible option.

You should check whether your equipment is covered when it is being used. Some other policies may not cover equipment outside the meeting place. Unity understands Scouting. They know it isn't much fun camping inside! Unity can cover your equipment:

  • for loss or damage while stored or in transit
  • for use in the UK (even when left unattended at camp)
  • on overseas trips
  • 'new for old' cover on most items.

If you share equipment in the school or church hall where you hold your meetings, do not assume that their insurance will cover your items.

Something borrowed, something hired

Another issue is borrowing equipment from others and hiring out your own equipment to people outside your Group. If you borrow equipment and it is damaged, lost or destroyed, you will need to reimburse the owner using Group funds if you were not insured. You really shouldn't take the risk, but consider arranging insurance for the period of the loan. If you lend out your equipment, most policies will not cover hiring out/loaning unless you have specified it. It is dangerous to assume that the borrower will insure it. You should seriously consider insuring items you hire out or lend. You can always recover the cost as part of the hire fee. Unity can arrange suitable cover for you, whether it is short period cover for items you borrow, or cover for items you hire out.

Specialist policies for specific equipment

Most of your Group's equipment can be covered under Unity's Scout Property and Equipment policy. Some larger items, such as marine equipment, a minibus or other motor vehicles may be better insured under specialist policies, which Unity also provides.

Where a Scout Group insures its equipment through Unity, cover automatically includes use of the equipment on Explorer Scout activities where the Explorer Scout Unit is partnered with the Group.

Where Explorer Scout Units are not partnered with a particular Group, the District can arrange annual insurance to cover equipment borrowed for use by the Explorer Scout Unit.

Your own things

It is perhaps worth remembering that no automatic insurance is provided by The Scout Association for Members’, helpers’ or supporters’ personal effects. the advice to Leaders and to parents is that these should be adequately covered under household insurance because, of course, damage or loss can occur at anytime and not only during Scout activities. Unity can help by providing separate cover, under a section of the Scout Property and Equipment Insurance Scheme, for members’ personal effects during Scout activities.

If you are travelling abroad you should ensure that your travel insurance policy has suitable limits of cover for all personal possessions you intend to take with you. 

Other Issues

Below are a few specific issues which often come up in relation to Scouting and insurance.

Helpers, who are not members

If accidents or incidents occur during any authorised Scouting activity, then legal liability cover for non-members, such as helpers, committee members and instructors, may be granted by The Scout Association under its Liability Policy.

However, if the helpers are injured in an accident themselves, they will not be covered under the Association's Personal Accident and Medical Expenses Scheme (as with any member of the public involved in a Scouting activity).

Unity recommends that Groups buy extra cover for individuals who help out by adding them to the Personal Accident and Medical Expenses Scheme, and can arrange this for you.

Using your own car for Scout activities

Motor insurance for transporting Scouts to and from events in your own vehicle is not covered by The Scout Association’s policies.

Under United Kingdom law, the driver of a motor vehicle must hold a suitable third party insurance (including indemnity to passengers) and the minimum levels of cover have to be provided by any motor insurer. As this is a statutory requirement, The Scout Association does not provide any cover to individuals in respect of their liability as car drivers as this would be a pointless duplication of cover. Therefore you will need to check with your own motor insurers to see if this is covered under your policy.

Scouting is considered by the majority of insurers to be a social, domestic and pleasure activity, therefore transporting Scouts is judged to be no different from transporting your child's friends home from a birthday party or similar event.

The Scout Association’s Personal Accident and Medical Expenses policy will still cover members whilst being transported to and from Scouting activities.

Non-members at activity events

Non-members are not covered by the Scout Association's policies while taking part in Scouting activities at fun days, fundraising events or similar. However, should a non-member have an accident and subsequently bring a claim of negligence against the Group or its helpers, legal liability cover may be granted by The Scout Association under its Liability Policy.

The rules of the Association do not allow non-members to use aerial runways or climbing walls, or to abseil. So that campsites can allow non-members to use their abseiling towers and climbing walls, Unity can arrange extra cover, if requested.

Hiring Out Your Headquarters 

Many Groups will be tempted to hire out their headquarters, as a source of fund-raising. In principle and practice, this may be a good idea as it can generate significant financial returns as well as improving security, as an occupied building is less prone to vandalism. 

You will need to check with the property damage insurer that such use is not excluded under your policy (if you insure through Unity Insurance Services, your cover will not be affected). 

Your potential liability as property owners is covered under the existing Association’s Liability Policy. However, you should make potential users aware that they too have responsibilities. 

Any equipment brought onto your premises by, say, a playgroup, would remain their property and responsibility. If such equipment were faulty and subsequently caused injury to a Scout, the Scout’s parent could sue the playgroup. 

For regular users of your premises, particularly other organisations, it is advisable to have a formal written agreement. This need not be complicated and the Legal Department at Gilwell Park Headquarters, can provide model forms. 

Remember your property damage policy will almost certainly carry an excess. Anyone who obtains permission to use your Group’s ‘home’ should be prepared to (and be capable of) paying for minor damage caused by their use.

If things do go wrong

Accident and incident Reporting

If any person, whether a member of the Movement or not, suffers personal injury (where injury necessitates treatment by a doctor, dentist or at a hospital) or requires rescuing (where rescue involves an Emergency Service, i.e. Police, Fire, Ambulance, Mountain Rescue or Coastguard) or dies in the course of, or arising out of, a Scout activity or while on, or in conjunction with, any Scout property, Unity Insurance Services must be informed. 

Notification of injuries can be given either by letter or telephone but must be given within seven days of the incident. A Scout Group can write or telephone direct to Unity Insurance Services, but some Districts or Counties require the notification to be routed through them. On receipt of the notification, the necessary instructions and forms will be issued. Notification of injuries is required whether or not there is to be a claim on the Personal Accident and Medical Expenses Policy. 

Accidents or incidents which result in injury, loss or damage should be notified promptly to Unity. Unity staff will then advise you what needs to be done, see P.O.R. chapter 7 Emergency Procedures, for more information.

The incident report form is now available in an electronic format including the completion of the form without having to first print it out.

There is an excellent fact sheet available from the Information Centre at Gilwell Park onthe subject of accident reporting.