Can I get workers’ comp as a self-employed worker?
You may have heard that workers’ compensation insurance won’t cover you if you are self-employed, but that isn’t true. You can get self-employed workers’ comp if you’re self-employed, a sole proprietor, or an independent contractor.
Figuring out how to get workers’ comp coverage while being self-employed can seem like a daunting task. Luckily, it's not as bad as you might think. We’ll walk you through it to make sure you have the protection you need.
What is workers’ compensation?
Workers' compensation is a type of insurance that provides wage-loss benefits and medical benefits to injured workers who are hurt on the job or become ill because of their work. It also provides death benefits to dependents of workers killed on the job.
But workers’ compensation coverage isn’t limited to traditional employees. Business owners can get a policy even if they’re only employees, 1099 contractors, or sole proprietors.
Can independent contractors buy workers’ comp insurance?
The simple answer is yes. Self-employed individuals, independent contractors, freelancers, and sole proprietors can buy workers’ comp insurance whether they work part-time or full-time for their business. However, as with all things related to business and law, there are exceptions.
For example, a sole proprietor in Michigan must set up a partnership, corporation, or limited liability company (LLC) to receive workers’ comp benefits—a sole proprietor cannot receive benefits if the business operates as an independent contractor.
How does workers’ comp work for the self-employed?
Workers’ compensation for the self-employed is a form of insurance that covers job-related injuries and illnesses. It can help pay for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses stemming from on-the-job accidents, illnesses, or mishaps.
Workers' compensation policies vary by state but typically provide at least partial wage replacement while a person recovers from an injury or illness.
Do I need workers’ comp insurance if I’m self-employed?
Just because you're running your own business doesn't mean you don't need workers’ compensation. Having protection might be more vital than ever if you run your own company. After all, what happens if you’re self-employed and get injured?
If you work as an independent contractor or are self-employed, you won't typically have access to an employer's workers' compensation benefits if you're injured on the job. A self-employed workers’ compensation insurance policy can help you keep your business up and running while you recover.
Generally, state law doesn’t require you to carry workers’ compensation insurance if you work for yourself and don’t have employees. However, you may need to purchase a workers’ comp policy to:
- Meet state law requirements
- Fulfill terms of a contract
- Guard against medical bills and lost wages
State law requirements
Depending on where you live, your state may have laws that require independent contractors and self-employed small business owners to carry some type of insurance coverage for work injuries. For example, workers’ compensation law may require you to have a policy if you hire employees or work in a high-risk environment like roofing or as a general contractor in the construction industry.
When it comes to buying a workers’ comp policy, your state may govern that, too. Business owners in some states must go through a state-run fund, while others have a competitive market that includes private insurance companies.
Contract and client requirements
Your clients or business partners may require you to carry specific insurance policies, including independent contractor workers’ compensation insurance—it limits the company’s liability and protects them financially if you have an accident while performing work for them.
Protect against medical bills and lost wages
Workers’ comp can be crucial for self-employed business owners, even if they already have health insurance. That’s because most policies don’t cover job-related injuries. But workers’ comp can cover your medical expenses and help replace wages while you recover.
What do you need to file for workers’ comp if you’re self-employed?
Timing is everything when it comes to filing a workers’ comp claim. If you experience a work-related injury or illness, you have a limited amount of time to file a claim. If you miss the window, your insurance company can deny benefits.
Talk with your insurance carrier to ensure you understand the process and have the proper forms and contact information on hand to document and report the incident.
If the provider approves the claim, they’ll issue your payment details. If the claim is denied, you can request a reconsideration or file a formal appeal (usually through your state’s workers’ comp board or commission).
Remember: you can only file a claim if you have an active self-employed workers’ compensation policy and the injury happened at work or due to work conditions.
Other insurance for sole proprietors and independent contractors
Workers’ comp isn’t the only small business insurance you’ll need to protect yourself and your company. Sole proprietors, freelancers, and independent contracts may also need:
- General liability insurance
- Errors and omissions insurance
- Commercial auto insurance
General liability can offer protection for your business against bodily injury, personal and advertising injury, and property damage. If you make a mistake while providing professional services to a customer, errors and omissions insurance can safeguard you and your business. Finally, commercial auto insurance protects you if you’re at fault for a car accident while using a vehicle for business purposes.
While these policies are a good start, the services you provide and your industry may require additional coverages to protect you from other types of liabilities. Check with your state laws or a reputable attorney to discover other coverages you might need for your small business.
Conclusion: How to get the most affordable workers’ comp insurance online
As a self-employed professional, getting compensation for work injuries—including issues caused by on-the-job accidents and chronic conditions—can be very complicated.
But we’re here to help. Huckleberry's self-employed workers' compensation policy is designed to cover medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses for sole proprietors and independent contractors who get hurt on the job.
The best part? It’s easy to get. The process is entirely online and takes less than 10 minutes from start to finish, and you can get your Certificate of Insurance immediately.
Whether you’re looking for workers’ compensation insurance coverage online, general liability, or other protection for your small business, we’ve got you covered—get peace of mind and enroll in the small business policy that protects you and your business.