Will My Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Injured Household Workers?

Whether you’re hiring a contractor to tackle a big project or a babysitter to watch over your little ones, having employees working on your property comes with certain liabilities that you may not be aware of. In fact, if you don’t have the proper insurance protections in place, you may be in serious trouble if any accidents or injuries occur. 

Fortunately, most homeowner’s insurance policies come equipped with personal liability coverage that can lessen the financial burden you may be under if something goes wrong, but will that liability coverage apply to accidents involving household employees? Or will you need to invest in worker’s compensation or an equivalent policy type before hiring anyone?

Let’s dive into the ins and outs of homeowner’s insurance coverage before reviewing key classifications for household workers and the kinds of insurance you may need when employing them.

What Does a Homeowner’s Policy Typically Cover?

Homeowner’s insurance is necessary for anyone looking to protect their home and personal property against a wide range of potential damages. These policy types are customizable to an individual’s needs, and they reflect that by offering numerous benefits and protections.

Your homeowner’s policy can provide coverage to offset the damage caused by natural disasters including fires, hurricanes, and lightning. It also grants homeowners protection against vandalism, displacement due to damages, and certain personal liabilities. These coverages can be supplemented by umbrella policies that can exceed one million dollars in coverage.

With the majority of homeowner’s insurance policies, worker’s compensation and equivalent coverage for household employees is not included. But you may have the option to purchase additional coverage through a rider or endorsement if your state’s laws permit it. 

Homeowners Insurance and Personal Liability Coverage

Your homeowner’s insurance policy likely comes with a minimum of $100,000 in personal liability coverage. This can be applied to any claims of bodily injury or property damage that take place at your residence if you are found to be legally responsible. Typically, it is used to cover medical bills that result from a visitor having an accident in your home, legal expenses from policy-related damages, and bodily injury or property damage caused by your pets.

It’s important to note that personal liability coverage often does not cover damages relating to a car accident, injuries that were caused intentionally by you or a family member, and injuries relating to your professional or business-related activities.

When Am I Liable for Worker Injuries?

One of the main factors determining whether you’re liable for an accident or injury is your worker’s classification. If the individual has been hired as an independent contractor, you carry significantly less responsibility over their welfare as they are typically self-employed individuals. However, if the individual is hired on as an employee, you are much more likely to be held liable for incidents they’re involved in because of the additional control you can exercise over them.

Of course, specific regulations governing your liability will be subject to your state’s law, so make sure to double-check with your insurance agent to make sure you’re compliant with local rules and have the coverage you need.

Classifications of Household Workers

There are a few different classifications of household workers that you may employ to perform jobs around your property. Some of them may require you to take out specific insurance policy types like worker’s compensation insurance before you employ them while others come equipped with their policies. Let’s dive into each of the three main classifications of household workers to better understand when you may need extra insurance coverage.

Domestic Workers

Domestic workers are individuals whose primary role in your home is to perform household duties on a regular basis. These jobs typically include cleaning, meal preparation, and childcare. If you employ a domestic worker directly, you will likely need to carry worker’s compensation insurance, but if you hire a domestic worker via a third party–like a cleaning or nanny service–the third party may be responsible instead depending on your state’s requirements. 

The number of hours the individual works each week and the amount you pay them may factor into your liability, as well as potential unemployment insurance requirements, so make sure to discuss your situation with your insurance agent to make sure your coverage is where it needs to be.

Casual Workers

Casual workers perform jobs around your property on an irregular basis and can include handypeople hired for odd jobs and underage babysitters. Most of the time, worker’s compensation is not needed when you employ casual workers and any accidents or injuries that occur while they’re on your property are likely to be covered by your homeowner’s insurance.

Professional Employees

Professional employees are those individuals you hire for a specific purpose based on a formal contract such as landscapers, plumbers, and electricians. Typically people working as professional employees in contracted positions like these are required to have their insurance through their state or local governing authority before they’re able to become licensed. 

Additionally, some professional employees may come from companies that advertise being licensed, bonded, and insured. This typically means that if any personal injuries occur, or if your property is damaged by employees during their work, the bonds and insurance they’ve already taken out should be able to cover any repair costs.

Make sure you check all licenses and certifications for professional employees you plan to employ before you sign any contracts to ensure that they have appropriate insurance coverage in case of an accident.

Key Takeaways

Homeowner’s insurance covers a wide range of potential damages that you may face, but it may not cover every kind of accident around your home–especially where independent workers and contractors are concerned. If you’re concerned about whether you have sufficient coverage to protect yourself if an accident or injury occurs on your property, talk with your insurance agent today to see whether worker’s compensation or an umbrella policy may be right for you.