Landscaping Business: Complete Guide to Workers’ Compensation
When you own your own business, counting every dollar in and out of your business is important. Business owners often look at ways to reduce costs to help make their business more profitable. This might entail rethinking benefits or figuring out where to cut corners. But there is one area where you should always ensure that you have adequate coverage: workers’ compensation.
Almost every state mandates employers carry workers’ compensation. They set standards for different industries, including timelines and rates.
But beyond the coverage baseline, there are a lot of decisions to make about coverage levels and costs. It can be difficult to know where to start.
Whether you are starting a landscape business or have an existing one, there are some very good reasons to have adequate workers’ comp. Keep reading to find out what you need to know about this product and how it can help protect your landscaping company and the people who work for it.
Workers' Compensation Basics
Workers’ comp is an insurance plan that can provide medical benefits and wages for employees who become injured or ill on the job. Most plans also include liability coverage for employers who are facing a suit brought by an employer.
Note that workers’ compensation is distinct from disability insurance. The latter is a separate plan that covers employees regardless of where they became injured or ill. Workers’ compensation is only for injuries that occur on the job or illnesses that stem from a work environment or conditions.
This includes, for example, someone who becomes hurt by equipment on the job or injures their back while working. Workers' compensation could cover these scenarios. If an employee is out of work because of a skiing accident, disability benefits (if offered) could kick in.
While some states require workers’ compensation, disability insurance is not mandated. Many states also set limits for the window in which employees must report an injury (usually between 10 and 90 days). They can also stipulate how long the employer has to investigate a claim.
Benefits of Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ comp covers three major areas of need related to illness or injury. The first is medical costs for emergency response or ongoing treatment related to the condition.
This can include all immediate medical costs like ambulance services and emergency room visits. It can also cover ongoing medical costs for the duration of the injury or ailment. This can include everything from doctor's visits to medication, physical therapy, and specialized treatments.
Workers’ comp can also reimburse an employee for lost wages related to an illness or injury. Policies will set a limit for the duration.
The severity of an injury can determine how long the benefits last. This is especially true as it relates to the worker’s ability to return to their old job or any job at all.
Temporary vs. Permanent Disability
Workers’ comp benefits for lost wages usually fit into four categories. These categories can determine the amount an employee gets and the duration during which they receive it.
"Temporary partial" and "total" are benefits paid to employees who have a minor injury. This can provide support while they are recuperating. "Temporary partial" is for those who can return to work in a limited capacity.
Permanent "partial" and "total" benefits can cover employees who will not recover from a workplace injury or illness. "Permanent partial" applies to someone who may be able to return to work in some capacity. The amount of payout usually depends on the severity of the injury or ailment.
"Permanent total disability" applies when an employee cannot return to the workforce period. In some cases, benefits may be reduced if the individual qualifies for Social Security. This is the federal program administered by states for people with permanent disabilities.
Protection for Your Landscape Business
The final benefit of workers' comp is employer liability coverage. There are countless dangers involved in landscaping work. Even the strictest safety measures sometimes cannot prevent certain accidents.
The use of lawn equipment like mowers and trimmers can result in minor or major injuries. Workers exposed to harsh chemicals could, over time, experience health problems.
In four states landscaping companies must buy workers’ comp policies through a special state fund. These are North Dakota, Ohio, Washington, and Wyoming. In certain cases, such plans do not include employer’s liability insurance. You can still buy plans that provide this coverage though and might want to consider doing so.
Workers’ Compensation Cost
The cost of workers’ compensation for a landscaping business varies depending on several factors. Your rate could be higher or lower, depending on where you live and operate, and the types of risks your workers are exposed to, and the number of employees you have.
Most reputable insurance companies offer free estimates for landscaping businesses. Requesting a quote is easy and will give you a sense of what different levels of coverage will cost.
Learn More Landscaping Business Tips
We hope you found these landscaping business tips helpful. Now that you understand the basics of workers comp and its benefits, you can find a policy that's best for your landscape business and employees. It can give you peace of mind that your employees could be taken care of and your business could reduce its risk of financial liability.