Businesses in Volusia County reported 813 employee injuries in 2019. As an employer in Gainesville, you can cover your workers against financial losses related to workplace injuries and occupational illnesses while shielding your company against potential liability lawsuits by investing in workers' compensation insurance.
When you are looking for the best and most affordable workers’ compensation insurance policy to cover your business, an independent insurance agent in Gainesville can help. Contact an insurance agent near you to learn more and to start comparing a variety of customized quotes.
Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance Required in Gainesville, FL?
Employers in Gainesville must comply with Florida state employment laws. In this state, all businesses that have at least four employees are required to cover their employees with workers’ compensation insurance.
Exceptions to this rule are as follows:
- Construction businesses must purchase coverage if they have a least one employee.
- Agricultural businesses need only purchase coverage if they have at least six regular employees and/or twelve seasonal employees who work more than 30 days a year.
Primary contractors are not responsible for covering subcontractors. However, they are responsible for ensuring that their subcontractors have workers’ compensation policies in place.
Out-of-state employers must ensure that their in-state workers are covered by an insurance company that is authorized to provide coverage in Florida. This may mean they need to purchase a separate policy for these workers.
Employer compliance with workers’ compensation requirements is enforced by the Florida Bureau of Compliance.
Failure to carry coverage can result in your company being issued a Stop-Work order and fined two times what you would have paid for coverage over the last two years, or $1,000, whichever is greater. The Stop-Work order will not be lifted until your company has purchased coverage and paid all assessed fines.
How Much Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cost in Gainesville, FL?
The amount you will be expected to pay for workers’ compensation insurance is based primarily on the types of jobs your employees do and your company’s overall payroll amount.
Every job is designated a specific classification code, and base rates for each class code are assigned and regulated by the Florida Department of Insurance. The more likely it is that a worker will suffer a serious injury on the job, the higher the cost for coverage will be.
Insurance providers are required to use the state’s assigned rates when calculating costs for coverage. They are, however, permitted to offer discounts, credits, rebates, and incentives in order to stay competitive. That is why shopping around for rates can be so beneficial.
Base rate examples
The following are base rates for every $50,000 in employee payroll for three very different jobs that can be found in Gainesville, FL:
- Roofing contractor: $7,390 a year
- Restaurant staff and caterers: $900 a year
- Clerical workers/office employees: $85 a year
As you can see by these large cost differences, more hazardous jobs are far more expensive to insure. Talk to an independent insurance agent in Gainesville to find out how much workers’ compensation insurance will cost for your particular business.
How Can Employers in Gainesville Save Money on Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
For many businesses, particularly hazardous ones like roofing, construction, and long-haul trucking companies, workers’ compensation costs can be quite high. Fortunately, there are ways that business owners can earn discounts on their coverage.
Discounts for maintaining an approved safety program
In Florida, providing your employees with safety education as well as training in the use of provided safety equipment can earn your business a discount of up to 2% off your base rate for coverage.
Using the example of the roofing contractor above, the base rate for coverage if the roofer makes $50,000 a year would be $7,390. If your company earns the full 2% discount for having an approved safety program, you could save $148 a year, just for this one employee.
The more employees you have, the more valuable this discount becomes.
Discounts for maintaining a drug-free workplace
The state of Florida allows for a discount of up to 5% off coverage base rates for employers who maintain a drug-free workplace, enforced by periodic mandatory drug testing.
Companies that apply for this discount are expected to cover the cost of drug testing themselves, but the potential savings can make it worth it. For instance, with the roofer mentioned above, this discount can mean savings of up to $370 a year, just for this one employee. This is much greater than the cost of running a drug test, which typically costs about $30.
Discounts for earning a good experience modification factor
Florida companies that have paid at least $10,000 in workers’ compensation premiums over the previous two years qualify for an experience modification factor, or “X-mod.”
Your experience modifier is assigned according to how your company’s safety record compares to similar companies in your industry. If your record is better than expected, your experience modifier will be less than one, and your base rates will be lowered accordingly.
However, if your company’s safety record is not so great, your experience modifier will be higher than one, and your rates will be increased. This is yet another reason to institute an employee safety program and a drug-free workplace.
Talk to a local independent agent to learn more about experience modifiers and other potential discounts for which your business may qualify.
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Gainesville Workers’ Compensation Covers the Cost of Medical Treatments
Workers’ compensation insurance ensures that if employees suffer work-related injuries or occupational illnesses, they will be able to receive appropriate medical care with no out-of-pocket costs.
This insurance covers the cost of any necessary ambulance services, hospital stays, doctor’s visits, follow up care, medications, physical therapy, and other associated medical care. This care must be coordinated through an authorized provider, as determined by the employer and the workers’ compensation insurance company.
In many cases, employees can also be reimbursed for the cost of driving to and from medical appointments and the pharmacy. Terms and compensation rates are not standard in this state but are instead determined by each insurance company individually.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance Provides Disability Coverage for Gainesville Employees
If an employee needs to take more than seven consecutive days to recuperate from a job-related injury or occupational illness, workers’ compensation insurance can ease their financial burden by offering disability coverage until their doctor releases them to return to work.
Disability benefits are paid bi-weekly in an amount that is two-thirds of the injured employee’s average wages. If an employee needs 21 or more days of recovery time, workers’ compensation will pay for all lost time. However, if the recovery period is under 21 days, the first seven days will not be covered.
If an injury is so severe that the worker will never be able to return to work, their disability benefits will continue until they reach the age of 75, with annual cost of living increases provided until they reach age 62.
There is, however, a cap on how much can be collected per week. This amount cannot exceed the average weekly wage in Florida. Maximum benefit rates are updated annually. As of January 1, 2021, the maximum weekly benefit is $1,011.
Workers' Compensation Covers Fatal Work Injuries in Gainesville
Unfortunately, workplace injuries and occupational illnesses sometimes result in fatalities. Workers’ compensation insurance can help surviving family members manage the financial difficulties of this loss by providing them with death benefits.
These benefits include up to $7,500 in burial costs, educational benefits for the employee’s spouse, and up to $150,000 in compensation paid bi-weekly at a rate of two thirds the deceased employee’s average pay.
Talk to a local independent insurance agent to learn more about workers’ compensation death benefits in Gainesville.
Where Can Gainesville Employers Buy Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Gainesville employers can purchase their coverage through any commercial provider who is authorized to sell workers’ compensation insurance in Florida.
If your business is high risk and you are unable to find an insurance company willing to cover you, you can purchase a policy through the state-administered fund.
Alternatively, businesses that can demonstrate the financial means to self-insure may do so with approval. Most businesses in Gainesville purchase coverage through a commercial provider.
Find the Best Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Gainesville, FL
When you are shopping for a workers’ compensation insurance policy to cover your Gainesville employees, an independent agent can help. These agents can match you up with an insurance provider that specializes in covering businesses like yours. Your agent can also help you compare rates so that you can be sure you are getting your policy at a competitive price.
If you ready to find the best workers’ compensation policy for your business, you can get started by contacting an independent insurance agent near you.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Jeffrey Green
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