Workers Comp

Worker’s Compensation

The Question asked is “Does Homeowner’s insurance cover Domestic Workers / Household Employees?”

The short answer is yes in most cases, but coverage may be limited, and some states require workers compensation in some cases.  There is a chart on what starts require concerning worker’s compensation here. So, it is not quite as straightforward as a yes and no answer.  Below is a more detailed explanation of the question with examples.

Homeowners Insurance coverage for domestic workers is a complicated issue and requires knowledge of your homeowners insurance policy’s provisions, the circumstances particular to how the domestic help is employed and your state’s workers compensation laws. Every state’s workers compensation regulations, available homeowners endorsements and homeowners policy contract wording vary. The answer above is a general response to the question. Read your Homeowners policy, check your state’s laws  and consult your agent for help with your specific situation.

Homeowners coverage may respond for an injured domestic worker IF the worker is NOT required to be covered under your States Workers Compensation regulations. Homeowners policies EXCLUDE coverage for “residence employees” (also known as a domestic worker) IF they are required to be covered under Workers Compensation.

  • Medical Payments:
    • A copy of the standard ISO Homeowners policy[1] is below showing the Medical Payments section. The SAMPLE policy indicates that a “residence employee” (which includes domestic workers) is covered under the Medical Payments coverage part.
    • Important Note: Medical Payments directly pays for “necessary medical expenses” and does not provide coverage if the worker is required to be covered by workers compensation.
  • Personal Liability:
    • Generally a standard ISO homeowners insurance policy’s [2] Personal Liability section will respond if the homeowner/insured is sued by a domestic worker for injuries.
    • Important Note: As with any liability coverage, a domestic worker would have to prove the homeowner/insured negligent for their injuries in order for any damages to be paid. Coverage is not provided if the worker is required to be covered by workers compensation according to your state law.
  • Workers Compensation:
      • In some states Workers Compensation endorsements are a part of Homeowners Insurance Policies.
        • Do not assume however that a Worker’s Compensation endorsement provides coverage for domestic employees! In New York for example a Work Comp endorsement is included but does NOT provide coverage for domestic help because they are not required to be covered under the New York Compensation law[3]. Twisted, but that is how complicated this issue can be.
      • Your state may have a Workers Compensation Homeowners Endorsement available to cover domestic help. The National Council on Compensation Insurance has drafted an endorsement called “Voluntary Compensation and Employers Liability Coverage Endorsement  (WC 00 03 11 A[4])”. This endorsement is meant to be attached to an ISO Homeowners policy.
  • Exposures Not Covered under Homeowners
    • There are some exposures NOT be covered under any Homeowners insurance policy. One such exposure is Employers Practices Liability. This gap would include claims of wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, breach of contract, etc.

Coverage for a domestic worker is a complex issue. Seek the advice of a knowledgeable[5] Independent Agent that can help you wade through the complexities of coverage for a Domestic Employee/Worker/Helper.

Footnotes
[1] Page on iii.org
[2] Page on iii.org
[3] Page on ny.gov
[4] Page on wcrb.org
[5] Professional Designations

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