Should You Insure Your Domestic Staff?
Though in-home staff may feel like family, they need to be insured like employees.
Do you have a staff that manages your household, or people who tend to your garden, clean your home or cook your meals? Many times these folks become like family members. So it’s important to ensure they are well-protected against any mishap or circumstance.
In some cases, that may mean insuring the people who work for you.
Not all workers need to be covered by your insurance. Independent contractors, like electricians or landscapers, ought to have their own policies in place, something you should confirm before hiring them. Those who work solely or regularly for you, however, are typically considered your employees. Nannies, au pairs, housekeepers, chauffeurs and other live-in or daily attendants in your home are good examples of those who should be covered by insurance.
Your homeowners insurance policy might not offer protection for these paid providers. It makes sense to add domestic workers to your home and auto insurance policies so property loss and injuries can be covered.
If a staff member is severely injured while in your service, it's essential that their needs are covered, including medical costs and loss of income. A workers' compensation package may be required to ensure they have the right coverage. Many such policies include a return-to-work program to help with the injured person’s recovery.
You might even wish to offer your hired help benefits, such as disability insurance, health insurance or a retirement plan.
Should a conflict arise, employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) is needed. In the event of a dispute (be it over hiring practices, accusations of harassment or discrimination, wages, or work environment), EPLI can help cover your legal bills as well as any settlements or court-mandated damage awards. If the employee is making accusations of a sensitive nature — claims of sexual harassment, for example — a policy with public relations or crisis management solutions can help protect your personal reputation.
Take the right steps
Great relationships — personal and professional — are built on trust. Any individual working directly in your employ should undergo a thorough background check and have their references confirmed before they are hired. Having a contract that specifies work terms, including hours, pay and duties, is also essential and can reduce the chance of employment-practices complaints.
Because employment laws vary from state to state, it’s wise to consult with your insurance professional to confirm your requirements. Keep in mind, some states don’t mandate workers' compensation for in-home staff, but that doesn’t mean you should skip it.
Insurance policies can cover a wide scope of assets, including your property, personal liability, and specific possessions like boats and cars, but there may still be gaps in your coverage that individual policies miss when it comes to the activities of domestic staff.
Speak with an experienced insurance professional at V.F. McNeil Insurance about the best insurance coverage options to ensure you, your loved ones and your trusted employees are protected. Contact us today at 203.481.2684! We're happy to help!