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Do I Need Workers’ Comp Insurance for Nannies and Household Employees?

What Is Household Employee Workers’ Comp Insurance?

Every job presents a set of physical risks to employees, which can translate into financial liability for employers. Domestic jobs like caregiving and cleaning are no exception. You may think of your home as the safest place in the world, but if it functions as someone else’s workplace, it’s important to minimize the potential for work-related injuries and illnesses — and be prepared in case they strike anyway. 

Workers’ comp for household employees is a type of annual insurance coverage that protects both the employer and the employee. Should the employee sustain an injury or become ill during the course and scope of their work in your home, workers’ comp will help shield you from lawsuits and legal fees. Your employee will receive coverage for reasonable medical care and lost wages. 

Why Would I Need Workers’ Comp Insurance for a Household Employee?

There are countless ways your employee could be injured on the job. It could be back strain from lifting a toddler, a fall from a step stool while dusting, a car accident on the way to pick up groceries, or an illness resulting from exposure to your contagious child. Any one of these incidents could result in a household employee needing thousands of dollars in medical treatment and weeks off from work. You could be held financially liable for doctor’s visits, surgery, medications, rehabilitation, and wage replacement. But with a comprehensive workers’ comp policy, you and your employee are both protected from devastating financial losses.

Am I Required to Get Workers’ Comp Insurance for My Nanny or Other Domestic Employee?

First, determine whether you’re required by state law to obtain a policy that covers your household employees. If you call a babysitter over once a week on date night, your state does not require you to obtain coverage. But if you have a nanny who regularly works multiple days per week, that may be a different story.

Around half of all US states require workers’ comp insurance that covers household employees who make above a certain wage or work more than a certain number of hours per week. If you don’t comply with the law, you could be looking at fines in addition to the financial exposure you will already face due to a lack of coverage. 

Here’s a list of states where workers’ comp insurance is voluntary for employers of domestic workers:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Florida 
  • Georgia 
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania 
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

These are states where workers’ comp is mandatory, depending on hours and/or wages:

  • Alaska
  • California 
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Iowa 
  • Kansas 
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina 
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Washington D.C.

Should I Still Get Workers’ Comp Insurance Even If It’s Not Required?

State laws play a crucial role in the decision to buy workers’ comp insurance, but laws shouldn’t be the only factor you consider. Here are other benefits in addition to financial protection that you may want to take into account:

  • Peace of mind. You want to feel comfortable employing someone in your household, and your employee wants to feel both respected and protected. Knowing that the benefits are available if you need them can help foster a healthier professional relationship. 
  • The ability to hire a temporary replacement. If you find yourself paying out of pocket for your employee’s medical treatment and wages, as well as any legal fees involved, you may be unable to hire someone to take their place while they are recovering. 
  • A swifter return to business as usual. With a trusted intermediary processing the claim and providing compensation, you won’t need to endure lengthy negotiations and legal proceedings. Your employee will be able to receive necessary treatment in a timely manner without fear of unreasonable medical expenses. 
  • Support and resources. In addition to workers’ comp insurance coverage, Cerity offers 24/7 online access to registered nurses and a learning center with advice on making your home a safe place to work. 

How Much Does Workers’ Comp Insurance for Household Employees Cost?

Your premium will depend on state regulations and the number of household employees requiring coverage. Visit our free online quote tool to get an online quote and find a policy with flexible payment options that work for your needs.