Ask the Expert: Do you need to travel in uniform to be covered by BSA insurance?

expertlogo1Scouting units, volunteer Scouters and chartered organizations are covered by the BSA’s Comprehensive General Liability Insurance.

This insurance provides primary coverage for registered volunteers and excess coverage for nonregistered volunteers for claims arising out of an official Scouting activity. That includes allegations of negligent actions by third parties that result in personal injury or property damage claims.

While your automobile insurance is primary, the BSA’s Comprehensive General Liability Insurance provides secondary or excess insurance.

Speaking of driving, it’s pop quiz time! Which of the following registered Scouting volunteers is covered by BSA insurance as he or she drives a Scout unit to camp?

  • A: A Boy Scout leader, in full field uniform (unofficially known as “Class A”), driving Scouts to Philmont.
  • B: A Cub Scout leader, in T-shirt and Scout shorts (“Class B”), driving Scouts to day camp.
  • C: A Venturing leader, in T-shirt and jeans, driving Venturers to a weekend backpacking trip.
  • D: All of the above.

Find the answer and explanation below.

The answer: D, all of the above. Traveling in uniform is not a requirement for BSA insurance coverage. This speaks to a common misconception in some packs, troops, teams and crews about BSA insurance. (Read more about BSA insurance at this important link).

Consider this email I received from a Scouter named Kirk:

It seems to be a common thing to hear that Scouts must travel in field uniform for the unit to be covered by BSA insurance.

While I fully support Scouts traveling in uniform, I would like to see something in writing confirming or denying this. (I would think such a requirement would be mentioned on the tour permit.) The issue here is honesty. If it is a real requirement, then it should be published well. If it isn’t, it should be put to rest.

– Kirk

The expert’s response

I agree, Kirk. Let’s put it to rest. I spoke with Mark Dama, who leads the BSA’s Insurance and Risk Management team.

His response:

Wearing a uniform is not required to be covered by BSA insurance. The requirement is that the youth and adults be engaged in an official Scouting activity.

So there you have it. As long as you’re engaged in an official Scouting activity, you’re covered — in uniform or not.

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About Bryan Wendell 3282 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.