Independent and Self-employed Contractors: Who needs workers’ compensation insurance?

As an independent or self-employed contractor, you never know where work might take you. Jobs vary, and you could find yourself taking gigs here, there and everywhere. The one constant should be a protective policy from Contractors by Zinc. No matter what comes your way, you know you’re safe. Let’s see how this meets up with workers’ compensation insurance, and how it directly affects you.


Why Workers’ Compensation?

We can hear you from here: “I don’t have workers, do I really need to carry a workers’ compensation policy?” The short answer? Yes, and no. You might not legally be required to have this coverage in your state if you don’t have employees, but this varies widely–be sure to check into it first. Your state’s Department of Labor is a good resource.


That said, it’s always a good idea to carry a workers’ compensation policy, whether legally required or not. This sort of falls into the “just-in-case” lane, but doesn’t insurance always? You don’t want to have to use this policy, but then again if you do need it, you’ll be so glad it’s there. Here are a few reasons why it’s a good idea for independent contractors to carry a workers’ compensation policy:


Protection Against Injury

In the end, your livelihood depends solely on you, and that’s how you want to keep it. We totally get that. But what happens if you’re injured on the job? Without an employer to step in and make provisions for medical payments and paid time off to recover, how can you stay afloat? The contractor who brought you on the job isn’t going to cover you. This is precisely where workers’ compensation comes in to help the most important worker: you. 


Protection for Others

Sure, you don’t normally hire others to help you, but let’s say your friend or relative wants to get some on the job training and you’re paying them for their time…are they an employee? Even if they’re only working part-time or as an independent contractor, you could be called on to help cover costs if they are injured while on the job with you. If you are a self-employed or independent contractor who does have employees, then this is a no-brainer and a non-negotiable–you need workers’ compensation coverage.


Meeting Contract Conditions

In general, clients don’t want to be responsible for injury that might happen while you’re working on their project. So they could ask for it to be included in your contract that you will carry that policy yourself. And while it might not feel right, it’s perfectly legal for a potential client to refuse to work with you if you don’t have this vital policy. This means that if you are injured and require time off of work to recover, you wouldn't look to your client for help, you’d turn to your workers' compensation policy. Clients might want to see proof of coverage, in the form of a certificate of insurance. That’s something that Contractors by Zinc can get you on the double.


Income Protection 

You could be thinking that your health insurance is enough to handle any injuries you might sustain while on the job. And it’s true that health insurance is a vital piece of the puzzle for any independent contractor. But a health insurance policy might not be too keen on paying for a work-related accident or illness. And it certainly won’t repay you for lost income as you get treatment and need time off to recover. Without the right coverage, income simply stops.


Beyond Workers' Compensation

So we’ve established why you benefit from having a solid workers' compensation package, but there are other risks you face everyday that this policy won’t cover. You could be in many locations each week, out on the road day in and out, and online constantly. Right there our risk radars are going off in about four directions: general liability, errors and omissions, commercial auto, cyber protection. Anything you do more than the average person is a risk, and it’s worth covering. That could mean protection in the face of repetitive movements, chemical exposure, heavy manual labor, proximity to heavy machinery or, fill in your own blank–risks are many and varied, and insurance is here to protect you.


Work With an Insurance Agency Who Gets You

Contractors by Zinc is just one of the family of brands that make up Zinc Insurance, and we’re coming in strong with experience and know-how to help you avert risk at every turn. Not every insurer will cover independent contractors, because not every provider gets small businesses. As a neighborhood agency that understands the risks small businesses face, we are in the best position to help. Get in touch with us today to learn more about who we cover and get your free, personalized quote.

This blog post does not provide insurance advice and is intended for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional insurance advice from a licensed representative. Never ignore professional insurance advice because of something you have read in this blog post. Contact your licensed representative if you have any questions about your insurance policy.

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  • Josh Freet

    ZINC's Contractor Insurance Expert

    Josh Freet, ZINC's contractor insurance expert


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