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Florida Workers’ Compensation insurance

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Is Workers’ Compensation insurance required in Florida?

Workers’ compensation insurance is required in Florida for most businesses with four or more employees. Every business that does construction work — including contractors and self-employed workers — must have coverage.

It might sound like a good deal for your business of three or less to skip the cost of worker’s comp, but not having coverage also means that you could be held responsible for expenses if you or an employee gets hurt on the job.

If you consider the potential out-of-pocket expenses for an injury vs. the expense of having workers’ comp in Florida, you might find that it’s a worthwhile investment. 

If you or an employee is injured on the job, a Florida workers’ comp policy can help pay for:

  • Emergency treatment
  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Death benefits

Workers’ comp could also be required in the city where you work or for certain business licenses and certifications. It’s not unusual for clients to ask for proof of coverage before signing a contract to work with you, as well. 

Start a free online instant quote to explore options for your business or continue reading to learn more. 

Next Insurance offers a painless and seamless way to explore coverage and cost options for thousands of different types of businesses in about 10 minutes. Our U.S.-based insurance advisors are standing by to help you throughout the process.

 

Workers’ Comp requirements for Florida construction businesses

Florida law requires every construction business to carry workers’ comp for each employee, including contractors and self-employed workers. You can choose to exempt up to three corporate officers if it can be shown that they hold ownership of at least 10% of the company. 

Contractors are also responsible for making sure that their subcontractors provide coverage for their workers.

 

Why Workers’ Compensation is important for Florida construction businesses

Statistics from the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation illustrate the importance of having an active policy for construction businesses. Figures show the average costs of claims in 2017, the most recent year data is available from the state:

Temporary disability claims: $19,727 

Fatality claims: $73,874 

Permanent benefits claims: $601,721

 

Workers’ Comp for agricultural businesses in Florida

Because the agricultural work is often seasonal, Florida has special requirements for the industry. You must provide workers’ comp If you have a business with six or more regular employees or 12 or more seasonal employees who work for more than 30 days per year.

 

What types of businesses buy Workers’ Comp in Florida?

Almost every type of business in Florida — whether you have employees or not — can benefit from the financial protection offered by workers’ compensation insurance. 

Because construction businesses typically have a greater risk of workplace injuries than other types of businesses, they are required to purchase coverage in Florida. A certificate of insurance is required to get a general contractor license in the state

Professional services, consultants and other businesses with a lower risk of workplace injuries might also opt for coverage even though they are not required to have it. That’s because accidents that cause injuries can happen anywhere — even at desk jobs. 

Many clients and professional organizations, regardless of the industry, might also ask you to provide a certificate of insurance for workers’ comp before they’ll do business with you.

 

Workers’ Compensation owners coverage

Many business owners might believe that workers’ comp is only beneficial when you have employees. However, while it may be within the law to skip it as a sole proprietor, it can also benefit owners with no employees. 

If you own a business as a fitness instructor, for example, and sustain an injury during a personal training session that will keep you out of work for a few weeks, workers’ compensation might cover your loss of income that month. 

 

Florida Workers’ Compensation exemption policies

Some business owners, officers and members of an LLC business are eligible for a workers’ comp exemption. However, that would make them ineligible for coverage after a workplace accident.

Any lost wages or medical expenses would need to be paid out of pocket or through medical insurance.

In order to be considered exempt, the person needs to file an exemption application with the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation.

 

How does Workers’ Compensation work in Florida?

Anywhere from 12,000 to 17,000 people file workers’ comp claims each year in Florida, according to data shared by the state [PDF]. 

Workers’ comp can help pay for expenses related to work-related injuries for employees and business owners. In the event of a work-related death, it can cover burial costs and other expenses up to the coverage limits. 

Typically, workers’ compensation coverage can help pay for: 

  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of income
  • Retraining
  • Permanent injury
  • Survivor benefits

 

For example, you own a small plumbing business with a few employees. While on a job, an employee slips on a wet spot on the ground and hits their head hard on a sink. You want to make sure it’s not a serious injury, so the employee goes to the emergency room to check on possible head trauma. Workers’ compensation would help pay for emergency treatment expenses up to the policy limit.

Workers’ compensation does not cover incidents that are not job-related or situations when the injured person violates company policies, commits misconduct or uses drugs or alcohol.

 

Workers’ Comp income benefits

Income benefits with workers’ compensation in Florida include one of three options with a maximum annual amount determined by the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation:

 

Temporary total disability means a doctor has verified that the injured person cannot work because of a work-related injury. They can receive up to two-thirds of their average weekly wage for up to 104 weeks. 

 

If a doctor assesses an injury will not improve significantly anymore, they can be eligible for permanent impairment disability. This means they could receive up to 75% of their temporary disability rate and benefits will be based on a doctor-assed impairment rating.

 

Cases of permanent total disability occur when the person is permanently unable to work. Up to two-thirds of the person’s average weekly wage will be covered until they are 75 years old.

 

Workers’ comp death benefits 

In the unfortunate event of an employee’s death, workers’ compensation provides 66.67% of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage to dependents, up to $150,000. 

 

What are the penalties of not having Workers’ Comp coverage?

Failing to provide workers’ comp when required under Florida law can result in a stop-work order enforced by the Division of Workers’ Compensation. Stop-work orders happen about 2,500 times a year or an average of almost seven times a day, according to data provided by the state. 

 

Any business that receives a stop-work order has to close until it is in compliance. In some cases, there could be a penalty of double the estimated workers’ comp insurance costs for two years.

If you are not required to provide workers’ comp based on Florida workers’ compensation laws, employees can still file a lawsuit to recover medical expenses or lost wages after a workplace injury. 

For example, if one of your employees slips and breaks an ankle resulting in surgery, your workers’ compensation insurance could provide coverage. If you don’t have an active policy, your employee could take legal action and ask you to pay for medical expenses, resulting in significant long-term financial losses.

How much does Workers’ Comp insurance cost in Florida?

Because the risk of a job-related injury is greater for certain professions, workers’ compensation costs vary across industries. Factors that influence price include:

  • The number of employees and the type of work they do
  • Your insurance claims history
  • The locations where you do business

Next insurance offers workers’ compensation insurance that is designed to meet the needs of thousands of different businesses in Florida. 

Start a free instant quote online to see how much coverage will cost for your business. You’ll just need to answer a few questions to get a quote in about 10 minutes.

How Next Insurance helps Florida businesses

Next Insurance offers workers’ compensation insurance designed for small businesses and self-employed workers

With our online services, you can get a quote, review coverage options, purchase insurance and have your certificate of insurance in about 10 minutes. 

Start an instant quote online today.

If you need some help during the process, our team of licensed insurance advisors is standing by to assist you.

 

Other business insurance policies that are important in Florida

Workers’ compensation insurance provides many important protections, but you’ll still need to include additional coverage with your business insurance package to make sure you are protected from all the risks you face every day. 

Most Florida businesses also consider these options:

 

General Liability insurance

General liability insurance protects your business from common mistakes or accidents that can occur in your industry, such as customer injury or damages to someone’s property. 

 

Professional Liability insurance (a.k.a. E&O insurance)

Professional liability insurance provides financial protection against claims of professional mistakes and negligence. 

 

Commercial Auto insurance

In Florida, all business-owned vehicles must be covered by commercial auto insurance. If you’re driving and using your personal vehicle for work-related purposes, commercial auto insurance also protects your business from unexpected expenses if you are involved in an accident. 

 

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If you’ve expanded your business and need coverage for more kinds of work, please let us know! An agent will go over your new operations and next steps with you and in most cases, we’ll be able to set you up with a new policy on the same day (so there will be no gaps in your coverage). Unfortunately though, we can’t remove any exclusions from the policy. So if you see your operations listed in our exclusions section, we’re very sorry, but our policy isn’t going to be the right fit for you just yet.
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