If you are an employee of a company (you get a W-2 tax form at the end of the year) then your workers’ compensation options and procedures are pretty clear-cut. In Florida your employer is required to carry workers’ comp insurance to cover employee injuries, lost wages and medical expenses, depending on the number of employees they have and how inherently dangerous the work is.
For example, a construction company with at least one employee is required to carry workers’ comp insurance in Florida, while the threshold in non-construction industries is 4 or more employees, including business owners who are corporate officers or Limited Liability Company (LLC) members.
But what if you are a self-employed contractor or freelancer? What are your options concerning workers’ comp insurance?
When Does Workers’ Comp Insurance Make Sense for You?
The amount if danger your job involves will mostly determine whether or not you need your own workers’ comp insurance. While some employers find benefit in hiring independent contractors who carry their own workers’ comp insurance, many decide that the liability this opens them up to in not worth it and will instead keep permanent employees covered under company workers’ comp insurance.
If you are independent contractor who uses subcontractors if may be worth getting workers’ comp insurance since a general contractor is typically liable for injuries incurred by any subcontractors they hire.
If you are self-employed and have no employees, getting workers’ comp insurance on the private market may be worth it if you do a particularly dangerous job, like roofing or house painting. Even though you may have medical insurance, an injury can keep you from work and workers’ comp insurance can keep you afloat financially.
Where Can You Get Coverage
To be sure, it is much easier for a company or independent contractor who hires subcontractors to get workers’ comp coverage from a large insurance firm. Self-employed people who work alone will have a harder time finding a company that will cover them simply because the cost of covering a single person in the manner is too much for most insurance companies to accept.
In Florida there are places like the Florida Workers’ Compensation Joint Underwriting Association, which can help place you with a carrier that is willing to cover you. But your best course of action is probably hiring a workers’ comp attorney who can advise you on your options and whether having workers’ comp insurance is right for you and your situation.