Is Your Home Contractor Insured and are You Liable if They Are Not?

contractorWhat is the risk of hiring an uninsured contractor to work in our home?

The potential risk is that you could be sued for the workers compensation injuries suffered by the contractor and employees. Your homeowner policy may or may not respond to the claim depending on whether the contractor should have had his own workers compensation policy.

In other words if you, as a homeowner, hired someone who legally should have his own policy then there is no coverage under the homeowners policy.

But how do we know whether they need a policy??

All employers in Massachusetts are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance covering their employees, including themselves if they are an employee of their company. This requirement applies regardless of the number of hours worked in any given week.

Members of a Limited Liability Company (LLC), partners of a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), and partnerships or sole proprietors of an unincorporated business are not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for themselves.

Employers operating without workers’ compensation insurance will be issued a STOP WORK ORDER by the DIA Office of Investigations and shall be assessed a minimum fine of $100 per day. In addition, the employer may be subject to criminal and economic sanctions including up to one year in jail $1500, a fine upon conviction, and debarment from public contracts for a period of three years.

What Can You Do To Protect Yourself?

The Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents’ (DIA) online Proof of Coverage Verification Application, a search engine, enables the public to verify workers’ compensation insurance coverage for businesses operating within Massachusetts.

This website application will:

  • Assist homeowners in ensuring that hired contractors have workers’ compensation insurance
  • Assist general contractors with ensuring that all subcontractors are properly insured.
  • Assist medical providers with coverage questions when treating an injured worker.
  • Assist state and municipal officials with ensuring workers’ compensation compliance with licensing, permitting, and awarding public contracts.
  • Help protect employers from agent and broker fraud allowing them to verify their own coverage.

Click HERE to check to see whether your contractor or company has worker’s compensation insurance.

For any questions or if you need more information leave us a comment or visit us at Wolpert.com.

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