December 11, 2018

Worker's Compensation Insurance for Domestic Employees

Most people are not aware of the fact that their domestic employees (nannies, au pairs, nurses, housekeepers, etc...) are required by law in many states to be covered by a Worker's Compensation policy.  Below is a list of the requirements for DC, MD, and VA:

  • DC - Required by law for any domestic worker that works more than 240 hours per quarter (or about 20 hours per week).
  • MD - Required by law for any domestic worker that earns more than $1,000.00 per quarter (or about $85.00 per week).
  • VA - Not Required by law.

Failure to have this coverage can leave you personally liable for millions of dollars in medical bills for an injured employ.  It is important to understand that under Work Comp laws, you are liable for injuries to your employees, regardless of whether or not you were at fault in any way.  For example, if your nanny is driving to pick up your kids, and he/she runs off the road and hits a tree, you are still liable for 100% of their medical bills and lost income. 

Homeowners and Umbrella policies typically provide Liability coverage for people who are hurt on your property; however, they specially exclude coverage for any individual that "should" be covered by a Worker's Compensation policy.   The key word here is "should", because this means they don't provide coverage regardless of whether or not you have a Work Comp policy.  If you "should" have had a policy and didn't, they still don't pay anything.  If you are required to have a Work Comp policy by your state's Work Comp laws, then the only way to protect yourself is with a Work Comp policy. 

Even in states like VA, were you are not required to have a Work Comp policy, you still may want to get a policy.  The benefit of having the Work Comp policy is that unlike your Homeowners and Umbrella policies, the Work Comp policy has no limit.  It also provides you protection because in most situations, if the employee accepts the Work Comp benefits, they can't sue you in addition.  In most cases, people will take the Work Comp benefits because they pay 100% of medical bills and lost wages.  The other advantage of taking the Work Comp benefits is that they don't have to prove it was your fault.  If they decline the Work Comp Benefits and sue you under tort law, they have to prove your were actually negligent.  If they can't prove you were negligent, they would get nothing. 

We don't have any carriers that will write a Worker's Compensation policy by itself (monoline), but we do have several carriers that will write a policy if they also write your Home.  Unlike typical Commercial Worker's Compensation policies that are rated based on the employee's payroll, these policies are rated based on the number of domestic employees.  A policy for one employee typically runs between $350 to $700 a year.

Contact us today for more information about Worker's Compensation insurance for your Domestic Employees.

3201 New Mexico Ave NW #300
Washington, DC  20016
202-966-0700
Info@howard-hoffman.com