Household Help and Your Homeowners Policy
Do you think Mike and Carol Brady had coverage for Alice’s injury?
If they were living in Massachusetts now, they would need a worker’s compensation policy because Alice worked exclusively for them and for more than 16 hours each week.
Most of us do not have a dedicated housekeeper, landscaper, or babysitter who works more than 16 hours a week, so we are not required to purchase a worker’s compensation policy for service people we hire to work in and around our homes. For those people working for you less than 16 hours per week, your homeowners policy would cover you if they brought a suit against you due to their injury.
What happens if one of these service people contributes to someone getting hurt on your property?
Again, your homeowners policy will respond to most liability claims at your home including those caused by someone your hire. That said, it’s a good idea to ask them for a certificate of insurance so you can take comfort in knowing that they have their own coverage.
I don’t worry so much about a housekeeper because the risk is very small, but it makes good sense to be sure some of your other service people have insurance. For example, slip and fall claims on snow and ice are very common. Your snow removal contractor should provide you with evidence of insurance.
What happens if a service person damages my property while performing their job?
These types of claims are most common. Your homeowners policy will again provide coverage for direct damage to your goods, subject to your deductible. However, a claim against your policy will generally cause the price to increase the next year.
A better route is to be sure your contractor has liability insurance to pay for any damage caused to your home. I recently had a severe water damage claim due to an ill-fit drain pipe and it was good not to have to make a claim against my insurer.
If you have questions about your liability relative to the service people you hire and what your homeowners policy will cover, please call your account manager and we will be happy to discuss them with you.