Is your cleaner, nanny or carer covered by your insurance?
July 6, 2021
In our busy lives, many of us hire additional help to keep our lives in order. This might be a cleaner, lawn mower, nanny, in home carer or a personal concierge. Have you considered if they are covered on your insurance if they hurt themselves? This is likely something that has slipped under your radar or you haven’t thought you need it.
Let’s face it, injuries happen all the time so chances are at some stage you might have a claim against you.
You can still be found liable to pay compensation even if you have public liability insurance in your Household Policy. This is because public liability insurances do not normally apply if the person injured is considered an “employee”. It does not matter if you believed you had engaged your cleaner or gardener as an independent contractor and not as an employee – if the terms and conditions of their engagement indicate that they are an “employee” at law, then they will be considered as such. If the helper was paid on an hourly rate, was primarily paid for their labour, the homeowner dictates work times, they may be seen as “employee” and not a contractor.
Such was the outcome in a Queensland case where a 61 year old gardener, sustained a significant injury to his leg while pruning trees when he fell through a metal cover that was placed over a water tank. Initially, the gardener’s injuries did not seem too severe. However, he later developed a blood clot in his injured leg and that clot resulted in a pulmonary embolism that eventually caused his death. The gardener’s s widow brought a claim against the Householder and was awarded $445,000 in compensation plus legal fees were required to be paid.
To make sure you’re covered, a WorkCover Queensland Household Worker Insurance Policy will protect you for as little as $50 for 18 months for workers deemed to be “employees”.
It is a simple online application. Click here: (https://ols.workcoverqld.com.au/ols/public/newBusiness/hhw.wc) to view the application.
WHAT IF YOU’RE RUNNING A BUSINESS FROM HOME?
IS IT DIFFERENT?
It should be noted that a WorkCover Household Worker Policy will not cover workers, including family members engaged in connection with a business operating from home, such as a home photography studio, home hairdressing business, office or operating a sharing economy like AirBnB.
In this situation a WorkCover Accident Insurance Policy with WorkCover Queensland should be purchased to cover accidents or injuries to workers employed in their home operated business.
This policy can also be purchased online. Click here:
WorkCover online system – Workplace personal injury insurance policy (workcoverqld.com.au) to view the application.
WorkCover Queensland advises that uninsured employers who lodge WorkCover claims are held to account and subject to significant financial penalties, including the cost of WorkCover claims lodged by their employees.
The penalties can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars for severe injuries, if you do not have the adequate types of cover for either the Household Worker Insurance policy or the Accident Insurance policy.
Likewise, General Insurance products for Home Based Businesses requires separate consideration.
If you are not sure if you are covered or want to know more about what coverage you need talk to one of our personal insurance experts.