Why Workers’ Compensation Insurance Is Important
Workers’ compensation insurance is important for businesses because it helps provide benefits to employees who get work-related injuries or illnesses. Also known as workman’s comp, workers’ compensation coverage can also provide death benefits payments to an employee’s beneficiaries if the employee dies from a work-related accident. Workers’ comp coverage is mutually beneficial for both employees and employers.
Without workers’ comp, employees might have to pay medical bills out of pocket for work-related injuries or illnesses. They may also take an additional financial blow if they are unable to work because of these injuries or illnesses. Without workers’ comp coverage, an employee who suffers from a work-related illness or injury might make a claim against their employer to help pay for their damages and/or loss of wages. The employee and employer could end up expending a lot of time, energy and money working to settle the claims.
Because workers’ compensation insurance helps cover these costs to the employee, it may help reduce the likelihood of these claims. Even if the employee is at fault for an unintentional covered accident, Workers’ Comp Coverage can still provide them with benefits. Typically, employees who intentionally injure themselves are not covered by Workers’ Comp, however.
Most states require businesses with employees to buy workers’ compensation insurance. However, each state has different policy requirements. The state or states you do business in determine the requirements for your workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
It’s important to remember that workers’ comp insurance doesn’t cover personal injury claims. To help protect your business against those types of claims, consider general liability insurance.
What Does The Hartford’s Workers’ Compensation Cover?
If an employee dies or gets sick or injured on the job, workers’ comp coverage from The Hartford can help cover:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Ongoing care costs
- Funeral expenses
These workers’ comp coverage benefits may not be available to employees involved in accidents outside of work. Benefits may also not be available if employees are intoxicated during the accident or intentionally hurt themselves.
Description: Workman’s comp insurance from The Hartford can provide coverage for medical expenses related to a workplace injury or illness. This can include emergency room visits, necessary surgeries and prescriptions.
Example: An employee cuts his hand while performing maintenance on work equipment. He needs to be rushed to the hospital via ambulance. He gets stitches in the emergency room. Workers’ compensation insurance can help cover the costs of the ambulance ride, hospital visit and medical care.
Description: Workers’ comp insurance coverage can provide some wages to employees who miss work because of a work-related injury or illness.
Example: An employee becomes ill after being exposed to volatile chemicals while working. As a result, she is unable to work for a week. Workers’ compensation coverage can provide part of her salary while she’s unable to work. This helps her stay afloat financially while recovering.
Description: The Hartford’s workers’ comp insurance can help provide benefits for ongoing care needed for a workplace injury or illness.
Example: An employee hurts her back while lifting boxes of files during an office reorganization. She is able to return to work, but needs several months of physical therapy for the injury. Workers’ comp insurance can help cover the costs of the ongoing physical therapy.
Description: In the unfortunate event that an employee dies because of a work-related accident, The Hartford’s workers’ compensation insurance can help cover the funeral costs. This can be a tremendous relief to the deceased worker’s loved ones in their time of grief.
Example: An employee dies in an accident at work. Workers’ compensation coverage can help provide benefits to cover the costs of the employee’s funeral. Generally, workman’s comp covers accidents and injuries, occupational illnesses, repetitive stress injuries and work-related disabilities. Again, this coverage is typically not applicable:
- In incidents that happen while an employee is driving to or from work
- If the employee is intoxicated while working
- If the employee causes their injury intentionally
Accident or Injury
Description: Workers’ compensation insurance can help cover medical costs and some lost wages for injured workers.
Example: An employee slips while walking down a flight of stairs at work and injures his back. He is unable to work for a week and needs to go to a physical therapist for several months.
Description: Working conditions may expose employees to harmful chemicals or allergens that can lead to illness. If an employee becomes ill due to a work-related incident or condition, workers’ comp insurance can help provide benefits to the employees.
Example: An employee is accidentally exposed to harsh chemicals while working in a factory. These chemicals cause respiratory illness and the employee is unable to work for several weeks while she recovers.
Description: Not all work-related injuries happen in one isolated incident. Repetitive injuries can take months or years to develop. Workers’ comp insurance coverage can help provide benefits to employees while they receive treatment and recover.
Example: A clerk at an accounting firm develops carpal tunnel pain as a result of repetitive computer data entry work. This happens over the course of several years.
Description: Some work injuries are so severe that employees may never be able to return to work. In some cases, they may be able to return to work, but not in the same capacity. Workers’ compensation coverage can provide benefits to pay for medical bills and some lost wages for disabled employees.
Example: An employee loses the use of his leg because of a work-related accident. He is unable to return to work and needs continued medical and financial support.
Who Is Covered by Workers’ Comp?
The employee status and the number of employees will help determine who needs to be covered by workers’ comp insurance. Employee status requirements vary from state to state. Most states require full-time employees to be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Some places have state laws for contractors, temps and interns. It’s important to make sure your workers’ comp coverage is up to date and correct.
Some states do not require the following types of employees to be covered by workers’ comp insurance:
- Insurance agents
- Family members under a certain age who are related to the business owner
- Casual workers
- Business owners and partners
- Real estate agents
Federal government employees are also not covered by state regulated workers’ compensation insurance. They are covered by federal workman’s compensation insurance.
There are also workers’ compensation laws on whether businesses need coverage based on the number of their employees. For example, businesses with four or fewer employees in Alabama don't have to buy workers' comp.
Some of the states where businesses can be exempt from buying workers’ comp based on the number of employees are:
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
How Does the Workers’ Compensation Claim Process Work?
The workers’ comp claim process may vary depending on the state where the claim is being made. For the most part, it is a straightforward and simple process. A workplace injury or illness can have a major impact on the employee, as well as their beneficiaries, family and the organization they work for. So it’s important to start the claim process as soon as possible after a work-related illness or injury occurs.
- The most important first step is to make sure the injured or ill employee receives the care they need right away.
- The employee or their representative should notify the employer about the workplace injury or illness as soon as possible.
- The employer contacts their workers’ comp provider and submits a claim. Depending on the state the business is in, the manager may also need to notify a state-run workers’ comp board member.
- The insurer reviews the claim and approves or denies the benefits.
- The employee receives benefits and necessary compensation.
It’s important that the illness or injury is reported and the claim is filed as quickly as possible. Most states have a time limit for when a workers’ comp injury can be reported to their manager. This time limit is usually between 30 and 90 days. There is also a time limit for when an employer can report a workers’ comp injury to their insurance company. These limits are usually determined by the state government and it’s important that employers understand them. Employers should discuss policy terms and conditions with an insurance agent or state regulator on a regular basis.
Select the Right Workers’ Comp Coverage for Your Business
For over 200 years, The Hartford has been helping businesses protect themselves from unexpected perils. We understand that no two businesses are alike. Whether you’re a large corporation or a small business with a few employees, we’ll help you find the coverages that are right for your business and budget.
You can be rest assured when choosing The Hartford for your workers' comp coverage. We're helping protect your business and employees with industry-leading care. Our claims’ specialists are responsive and consistently receive top scores for customer satisfaction. We also offer convenient billing solutions for business owners so you can focus on running your business. Get a quote today and learn more about workers’ comp coverage.
This article provides general information, and should not be construed as specific legal, HR, financial, insurance, tax or accounting advice. As with all matters of a legal or human resources nature, you should consult with your own legal counsel and human resources professionals. The Hartford shall not be liable for any direct, indirect, special, consequential, incidental, punitive or exemplary damages in connection with the use by you or anyone of the information provided herein.