Frequently Asked Questions
Workers' Compensation Basics
Workers’ compensation insurance is a policy purchased by a business to cover its employees in case they are injured or get sick because of work. Usually, you’ll just hear it referred to as “workers’ comp.”
Workers’ comp is a pretty important coverage because it protects workers from financial hardship because of work-related injuries and protects businesses from being sued. It’s a crucial safety net for everyone, which is why it’s required just about everywhere.
(Read more about workers' comp.)
Workers’ comp covers any illness or injury related to work. For example, if an employee gets burned by toxic chemicals while cleaning out a closet at their job, workers’ comp would pay benefits to help offset any financial losses caused by that injury.
Here are the 5 basic benefits workers’ comp can provide:
- Medical care covers any expenses for the injury or illness so that the employee doesn’t have to pay for their own care.
- Temporary disability benefits can help replace lost wages while an employee recovers from an injury.
- Permanent disability benefits can provide ongoing financial support if an employee doesn’t recover completely from an injury or illness.
- Job displacement benefits can help pay for job retraining or career education if an employee can’t return to their old job.
- Death benefits help pay for funeral expenses and can provide payments to the dependents of an employee who dies from a job-related injury or illness.
Workers’ comp will apply even if the accident was an employee’s fault, but it probably won’t pay out if an employee was breaking the law or violating a clear safety regulation at the time of the accident. (Learn more about what workers’ comp does (and doesn’t) cover.)
Generally, any business which has at least one employee must purchase worker's comp (although this requirement varies by state).
Not necessarily. Sole proprietors in California aren’t required to get workers’ comp, for example. However, you should consider the business you’re in: Can you afford to suffer an on-the-job injury? Even if you already have health insurance, workers’ comp could provide further financial relief (like reimbursing you for lost wages) if you sustain a work-related injury or illness.
That said, if a sole proprietor of a business hires help for any length of time, they’ll probably need to get workers’ comp coverage for that. For example, a California business owner who hires extra help during the holiday season would need to get workers’ comp to cover the temporary workers.
The price of your workers’ comp is based primarily on the size of your payroll. Typically, a small business owner with a few employees can expect to pay around $2,000 to $3,000 a year in workers’ comp premiums. As employee headcount goes up, premiums will also go up.
In California, the average cost of workers’ comp is about $3 per $100 of payroll. If your business is in a more dangerous industry (like construction), you’ll probably pay more than that.
(Learn more about workers’ comp pricing.)
Your workers' comp premium is calculated as a percentage of your payroll. (For example, you might pay $3.28 per $100 of payroll.) This means the amount you pay for workers' comp will increase as your payroll gets larger and decrease as your payroll gets smaller.
Of course, the exact percentage you pay will depend on your industry, the kinds of jobs your employees do, your safety record, and your location. A factory will probably pay more for workers' comp than a clothing store, for example, since factory workers file more workers' comp claims than retail workers.
(Find more information on workers' comp prices.)
Because workers’ comp premiums are based largely on your business’s payroll, it’s important to reconcile your actual payroll with the estimate that insurance companies used to price the policy. A workers’ comp premium audit is the process that verifies that a company paid the correct amount for workers’ comp during the preceding year. In an audit, your insurer will look at your payroll and other financial records and, if necessary, correct the price of your workers’ comp accordingly. After an audit, you may get a refund. Or, you may need to pay a little more.
For most small businesses, audits aren’t a big deal and take place via mail (the insurer is mostly interested in the size of your payroll).
Read the full details on workers’ comp audits.
The most common reason is that your payroll went up. The bigger the payroll, the higher the workers' comp payment.
Of course, it might also be that your rate went up because you filed a claim, that your business changed in a significant way, or simply that rates went up for all businesses in your industry.
First things first: Make sure your employee gets medical attention. If the injury requires emergency treatment, get your team member to the nearest doctor as soon as you can. (If it's not an ER situation, you’ll have your employee choose a medical provider.)
Should you need to file a workers’ compensation claim, please refer to your policy documents. You can also give Huckleberry a call at (855) 255-4825. Our team will be happy to assist you.
Business Owner's Policy (BOP) Basics
A Business Owner's Policy (often called BOP) is a bundle of important coverages that are sold together. The main coverages included in a business owner's policy are general liability insurance, property insurance for your building (if you don’t have a building, you can drop this coverage), business personal property insurance, and business interruption insurance.
In summary: If you buy BOP and workers’ comp, chances are you’ll have the insurance you need to run your business without fear of the unexpected.
General liability insurance covers your company's legal responsibility for any harm it may cause to other people or their property. If you or your employees do something (or fail to do something) that results in bodily injury or property damage, or if a customer is injured in your shop, this coverage kicks in.
If you don’t want to be caught off guard if you are sued, this is the coverage you need. (Also, it's often required by clients and landlords.)
Business property insurance is coverage for the things your business owns. There are two main components to property insurance: coverage for your building (if you own it) and coverage for your business personal property (think furniture, equipment, and technology).
Business interruption insurance provides a financial benefit if your business is ever forced to suspend operations for a covered reason. It will pay for rent or payroll expenses and replace some of your income while you work to get your business back up on its feet.
Yes. You can opt for a standalone general liability insurance policy. Keep in mind that this policy will not include add-on coverages that can come with a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP), such as business interruption insurance or commercial property coverage. It should be about the same cost as a standalone general liability policy, even with few add-ons included. That’s why a BOP is typically a better bang for your buck.
Nothing. We never charge broker fees.
Huckleberry partners with some of the largest and most respected small business insurance carriers in the country. All of our current insurance partners are admitted and licensed to do business in the states where Huckleberry insurance products are available (see below).
For more information regarding your particular insurance carrier, please refer to your policy documents or feel free to contact Huckleberry at (855) 255-4825.
Claims eligibility and payout are determined by each assigned claims adjuster employed by the insurance carrier. Huckleberry does not determine claims eligibility or payout.
Our online product is currently available in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virgina, West Virgina, and Wisconsin. We will be expanding across the United States soon! Contact us to find out more about joining the beta program for your state.
Buying a Policy
Sure. That said, 1099 workers need to purchase their own insurance coverage. Our carrier partner may ask for proof of this insurance, either now or at some point during the lifetime of your policy.
Most Huckleberry customers can get covered in minutes. Once in a while, our insurance partners may decide to review your case in a little more detail. When this happens, our usual turnaround time is within the same business day (so maybe a day or two longer if you’re applying at midnight on a Saturday).
A lapse in coverage doesn’t necessarily mean that your application will be denied. Be aware, though: Our carrier partners may need to request additional documentation before approving a quote.
Absolutely. You’ll choose the start date of your policy before you complete your purchase—it just needs to be within 90 days. Keep in mind that you’ll pay for your first month on the day you purchase (even if it doesn’t start until later).
Sure. You’ll need to choose a start date to see a quote, but you can always change it later by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
With Huckleberry, everything happens online.
Once you purchase coverage, you’ll sign your policy digitally. (All company officers that have decided to decline coverage are required to sign documentation at that point, too. So give them a heads-up that they’ll be getting an email!) Once all the signatures have been received, your policy will be in force.
By the way, you should be sure to sign as soon as possible. If signatures aren’t submitted within a week after policy purchase, coverage may be withdrawn.
As a Huckleberry customer, you can generate unlimited copies of your Certificate of Insurance. Then we'll email them to whomever you choose—either to you or a third party! You'll also have the option to add multiple certificate-holders or additional insureds and can even request common endorsements.
To get started, head over to huckleberry.com/certificate. It's all simple and straightforward.