Employees sometimes get hurt on the job. When this happens, workers’ compensation insurance can cover the associated costs. This mandatory insurance protects employees and business owners alike by preventing workplace injuries from creating unmanageable expenses.
If you are among the many employers in Lexington, MA, an independent insurance agent can help you find the best and most affordable workers’ compensation policy to cover the people who work for you. Contact an insurance agent near you to learn more.
What Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Workers’ compensation insurance is a commercial insurance policy that is designed to cover the costs associated with workplace injuries and occupational illnesses.
This insurance can protect your business against liability lawsuits by covering medical treatments and lost wages if your employees are injured on the job.
Are Businesses in Lexington Required to Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
With few exceptions, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires workers’ compensation insurance if you have at least one employee, even if that person is part-time. Exceptions are made for:
- Domestic workers that are employed fewer than 16 hours a week
- Sole proprietors, partners, and LLC members, but only if they are not also considered employees
A local insurance agent can help you be sure that you are in compliance with all state insurance mandates.
What Are the Penalties for Not Carrying Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Lexington?
In Massachusetts, failure to carry this required coverage can result in your business being issued a Stop Work Order (SWO) and a fine of $100 a day from the time the SWO is issued until your business acquires workers' compensation coverage and the fine is paid in full.
Additionally, business owners who are issued SWOs can face criminal charges, fines, and up to one year in prison. In other words, foregoing workers’ compensation coverage when it is required is not worth the risk.
How Much Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cost in Lexington?
Massachusetts is among the least expensive states for workers’ compensation insurance. This is great news for employers in Lexington who are looking for an affordable policy.
Rates can vary significantly from one business to the next because they are calculated based on:
- The number of employees you have
- The types of jobs your employees do and the likelihood they will be hurt while doing them
- Your company’s overall payroll amount
- Your company’s claims history and safety record
Comparing customized quotes from a few competing insurance providers lets you be sure that you are getting the coverage you need at a reasonable price. Independent insurance agents make comparison-shopping easy.
What Are Some Base Rate Examples in Lexington?
Every occupation is assigned a classification code, and coverage rates for each of these class codes are assigned and regulated by the Commonwealth’s Workers’ Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau (WCRIBMA).
Insurance companies must use these designated base rates when calculating costs, but they are permitted to be competitive by offering discounts, credits, and incentives. That’s why it pays to compare rates before selecting a policy.
Let’s take a look at the base rates per every $50,000 in employee payroll for a few different jobs you can find in Lexington, MA:
- Roofers: $7,120 a year
- Masonry construction workers: $4,465 a year
- Drywall contractors: $2,800 a year
- Lawn service specialists: $510 a year
- Clerical workers: $15 a year
As you can see, the costs for these different jobs vary significantly according to how dangerous they are.
While rates may seem rather high for some occupations, consider this: In 2018 alone, workers’ compensation companies in Massachusetts paid out more than $1.25 billion in claims to injured workers. Talk to a local independent agent to get quotes for covering your Lexington business.
What Does Lexington Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cover?
Workers’ compensation insurance is designed to cover the various costs that are associated with on-the-job injuries and occupational illnesses. You can expect your policy to cover the following:
- Medical treatments: All necessary medical care will be covered including ambulance rides, hospital stays, medical appointments, follow-up care, prescription medications, physical therapy, and other treatments. Injured employees should pay nothing out of pocket.
- Travel reimbursement: Injured workers can be reimbursed for miles driven to and from medical appointments and the pharmacy.
- Temporary total disability: If an employee needs more than six days to recuperate from a work-related injury, they can collect a weekly benefit of 60% of their average weekly pay until they are able to return to work. Benefits can continue for up to 156 weeks.
- Temporary partial disability: If an employee’s injury enables them to continue working but in a limited capacity, they can receive a benefit of 75% of the difference in pay if they are earning less in their alternate job. This benefit can continue for up to 260 weeks.
- Permanent disability: If a worker is left permanently disabled, they can receive an ongoing weekly benefit of two-thirds their average wage. This benefit continues indefinitely and comes with annual cost-of-living increases.
- Death benefits: If a work-related injury or illness is fatal, workers’ compensation can cover burial expenses up to $10,000 and can provide the employee’s spouse and dependents with compensation of two-thirds the employee’s average weekly pay for as long as they qualify for coverage.
Weekly disability benefits cannot exceed the state’s average weekly wage, which is adjusted annually. On October 1, 2020, the maximum weekly disability payment was set at $1,487.78.
You can learn more about workers’ compensation insurance by speaking with an independent insurance agent in Lexington.
What Does Lexington Workers’ Compensation Insurance Not Cover?
As with any insurance policy, workers’ compensation insurance has exclusions for what it will cover. For instance, your insurance provider will likely deny coverage for claims involving injuries that:
- Occurred while the employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Were sustained outside of working hours
- Are related to pre-existing conditions
- Were incurred by workers who were not official employees of the insured at the time of the injury
- Were intentionally self-inflicted
- Happened while the injured employee was committing a crime
If you believe that a claim was unjustly denied, you can appeal the decision to the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents.
Where Can Lexington Business Owners Buy Workers’ Compensation Coverage?
Workers’ compensation insurance can be purchased from any commercial provider that is authorized to sell this insurance in Massachusetts. Most businesses in Lexington get their coverage this way.
High-risk businesses that are unable to find a commercial insurer willing to provide coverage can purchase an assigned risk policy through the Workers’ Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau of Massachusetts.
Alternatively, your company may opt to self-insure. You will need to demonstrate that your business has the financial means to cover workplace injuries before you can be approved by the state to do so.
How to Find the Best Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Lexington, MA
Let an independent insurance agent help you find an ideal workers’ compensation policy to cover your Lexington business. These agents can obtain customized quotes from a few insurance providers that specialize in covering businesses like yours. That way, you can be sure you are getting the coverage you need at a competitive price.
Set up an obligation-free consultation with an insurance agent near you to discover how easy it can be to find the best workers’ compensation policy in the Granite State.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Jeffrey Green
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