Why All Small Business Owners Should Get Workers’ Compensation Insurance
What Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Part of the responsibilities of being an employer is making sure that the workspace is safe. But we can’t completely prevent accidents. Workers’ compensation insurance covers medical treatment, disability, and death benefits in case of a work-related injury or illness. This insurance guarantees employees access to care and also gives them some financial stability in case they’re not able to work for extended periods.
Not all employers are required to get workers’ compensation insurance, but this insurance does protect employers as well. In exchange for these benefits, employees’ rights to sue their employer for damages are limited. Insuring your workers lets your business survive in the event of an accident or illness. Even though the insurance rates will probably increase once you file a claim, the price of insurance is nowhere near the potential cost of having to pay for medical damages out of pocket.
Some injuries aren’t covered by workers’ compensation insurance, such as self-inflicted injuries and injuries incurred while the employee was not following company policy. It’s also important to note that workers’ compensation insurance only covers full-time and part-time employees. Freelancers and independent contractors are responsible for their own coverage.
What About Remote Workers?
Technology has made it possible for more and more small businesses to operate online. But just because you have a predominantly remote workforce doesn’t mean that you don’t need workers’ compensation insurance. Your telecommuting employees may still incur some work-related injuries, but there are few things you need to take note of to reduce insurance-related costs.
Courts will factor in whether or not the injury occurred due to employment activities. Most insurance policies won’t cover home injuries caused by non-work activities, such as housework-related accidents. But because there typically won’t be any other witnesses to accidents other than the employee, it’s prudent to only allow trustworthy employees to work from home.
Employers should also set telecommuting guidelines that cover safety and security. This could include making sure that your remote workers have a dedicated home workstation that has an appropriate chair and desk, as well as proper lighting to reduce eye strain. Making sure that your employees are working in optimal conditions can prevent conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and back injuries.
How Much Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cost?
Getting an insurance policy now can save you plenty of headaches and even higher costs. But workers’ compensation insurance can be pricey. The cost of workers’ compensation policies vary based on the nature of your business, the number of employees, and your company’s location.
More dangerous jobs will require more expensive policies, but you can get discounts by actively promoting workplace safety, such as implementing work safety programs and enforcing a drug-free workplace. To manage your insurance expenses, shop around and look for a provider that offers “pay-as-you-go” billing which bases charges on your payroll numbers in real time. This lets you pay your premium after taking care of payroll instead of making huge payments at the end of each year.
Have written safety policies and make sure that your staff understands them. You can also inform your insurance underwriters of your safety policies. Take note of any safety incidents that occur both in and out of the workplace. By prioritizing safety, you can lower your insurance costs while maintaining a healthier workforce.