Workers within the United States are hurt nearly every seven seconds while on commercial job sites or within businesses, for the most part being covered by their workers’ comp insurance. But there are many unlicensed, uninsured workers who are hurt while performing jobs for homeowners, setting the stage for the insured to tap into their homeowners liability coverage and gear up for potentially devastating lawsuits.
Experts have assessed the number of domestic workers in American homes at nearly two million, not to mention millions of contract workers, particularly those who offer their expertise ‘off the books’ for renovation and repairs for homeowners.
If one of these unlicensed, uninsured workers becomes injured, you could be expected to compensate them for their medical expenses as well as lost wages, and possibly pain and suffering. Lawsuits are almost as frequent as there are accidents. But is the insurance carrier going to foot the bill?
Does My Policy Cover Injured Workers?
We all want to go for the cheapest bid when we sign on for contract work or help around the house. Sadly, this work is usually performed by contractors in an ‘off the books’ capacity or other folks we hire who are likely unlicensed, uninsured workers. It should be a concern if the person you hire to wash your windows has insurance or not, particularly if your homeowners insurance is not sufficient to cover what could be extensive bodily injury, legal fees, medical costs.
When you open your home up for hire whether it be a teenager watching your dog for a weekend or a boy raking your leaves, there is the potential for you to have legal woes if one of them gets hurt and, depending on the situation, you could be liable.
Liability is standard with home insurance plans with no extra fees for the basic limit. You are able to raise the limit if you want to pay a higher premium amount. If you are going to be hiring unlicensed folks to do work around your house on a frequent basis, increasing your liability coverage would be the way to go.
The basic liability coverage is going to cover:
- Your legal fees if it goes to suit.
- Depending on the terms/conditions of your coverage that you chose, as well as the limits of the coverage, it will pay for any legal judgment brought against you.
- This basic coverage will also pay for off-property accidents, e.g. if you are playing volleyball and knock someone unconscious with your serve or if your dog runs next door and bites the neighbor kid.
It’s not good to just assume every situation is going to be a covered issue without going over everything when signing up. Also, it’s a smart idea to purchase an umbrella policy to attach to your liability for added protection.
Check Out Your Home Liability Plan
Some plans will require that any type of contracted work be done by a licensed and insured contractor and may decide to not cover you should there be an accident under lesser terms. Hiring someone off the books to, say, trim your trees may seem like an inexpensive option rather than doing it by yourself but is that something you really want to chance? It’s potentially dangerous and the injuries could be substantial. If you aren’t adequately covered for liability, bringing in cheap forms of labor can, in fact, turn into a costly endeavor. The savings that you initially had will seem minuscule compared to what you will be paying out of pocket for the lawsuit that follows if your insurance carrier refuses to cover it.
The ideal if you’re going to employ people in or around your home, is to make sure that you hire licensed, insured contractors and make sure to have the highest amount you can get on your personal liability coverage with an umbrella coverage in place for added protection. The next thing is to check with your insurance carrier when you sign up to see what will and won’t be covered as far as the type of services that you’re going to be hiring for in case there is any type of accidents.
This way there will be no surprises for you or the insurance carrier. In this day and age, you can never be too careful.