Do I need Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

What is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

Workers’ Compensation insurance is a type of insurance that protects business owners from incurring personal liability if an employee suffers a workplace injury. In most states, (49; with the exception of Texas) businesses are required to have workers’ compensation insurance if they have an employee(s). In a few states, there is a mandate for businesses to have workers’ comp insurance, even if they do not have any employees.

What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?

Workers’ compensation insurance provides a variety of benefits to the injured worker. The insurance policy will cover:

  • Medical expenses
  • Travel expenses to and from the doctor
  • Lost wages
  • Death benefits
  • Funeral costs

Why do I Need Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

First of all, unless your business operates Texas, you are likely required to have workers’ compensation insurance. Even if you are not required to have workers’ compensation insurance, it is smart to do so. Without workers’ compensation insurance, you can be held liable for an injury suffered by your employee.

Sometimes, despite following safety regulations, things go wrong. The insurance policy provides your business something to fall back on if something does go wrong. If you do not have workers’ compensation insurance, you can be held liable for the damages suffered by the employee. This can include paying for their medical expenses, lost wages, travel to and from the doctor, pain and suffering, and more.

How Much Does it Cost?

Generally, the cost of workers compensation is a payment per $100.00 in employees wages. The amount you pay per $100.00 varies by state. For example, in New York, the payment per $100.00 is $1.41, but in Alaska the payment is $2.74 per $100.00. Another factor that weighs into the cost of workers compensation is the type of industry your business is in. Lower risk industries, like an office job or sales job, are going to have a lower rate. High risk industries, like construction or natural resource extraction, will have a higher rate.  

The cost of workers’ compensation has reached its lowest rate in 25 years. Many legislators are fighting the low rate. Judges are stating that the rewards are not enough to cover the medical expenses and the lost wages that an injury will cause. Recently, a Florida judge ruled that the benefits from workers’ compensation are not enough. The judge believes that if you are going to give up your right to sue your employer, you should be compensated accordingly, not at the rate of $1.27 per $100.00 (the rate in Florida).

If you would like to learn more about workers’ compensation insurance, talk to an insurance or business law attorney. They can help you navigate this tricky area of the law and make sure you are covered if someone has been injured on the job.

Health Insurance Spikes in Price

In the wake of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act that effectively revamped the world of health insurance (many argue either for the better or the worse) and the inauguration of the Trump administration and efforts to reform or repeal it in 2017, many new developments have come about as a result – many of which the general public appears to suffer even more greatly with so many FAQs.

For those who might be unaware, the Affordable Care Act, in principle, is meant to provide more easily accessible and more thorough and comprehensive health insurance coverage. It attempts to do this with two key changes to the ways health insurance plans are offered: it requires businesses to offer health insurance if that business employs 50 or more individuals (individuals may still defer to an open market), and it requires all health insurance providers to cover 10 health benefits in each of their plans.

The problem with this is that it also mandates all eligible citizens to have some form of health insurance, or it enforces a tax (or penalty – call it what you will) upon them. Many people who found health insurance unaffordable even after the Affordable Care Act was implemented often found that paying the tax afterward was less consequential than paying month-to-month premiums and suffering potentially high-level deductibles. This shift in responsibility for health insurance providers often led to health plans increasing in price on the open market for those who still opted to have them – or simply couldn’t afford not to have them.

Another issue is that, while many people might enjoy the subsidies that the Affordable Care Act provides as a result of the health care reform, there are those who might make a hair too much to qualify. The standards say that a person needs to make more than 400% of the Federal poverty level in order to miss out on government subsidies, and while this may sound like a hefty amount, it actually leaves a significant gap between qualifying for subsidies and being what many of us would consider “well-off.” A one-person household need only make about $48,250 per year, and a two-person household only raises that number to $65,000. Combine that with the fact that lower insurance premiums are (pardon the pun) at a premium due to offsetting immediate costs imposed by the Affordable Care Act, and you have many middle-class households spending the greater bulk of their income on nothing but health insurance.

With more and more healthy people opting out of health insurance to balance out the costs across the spectrum, older working class citizens and those on a fairly limited income are forced to pick up the slack and pay more out of pocket. And those costs only seem to be on the rise for the immediate future. Some may be tempted to blame the free preventive care that the Affordable Care Act provides while it also negates the possibility of being turned down for pre-existing conditions, driving many 2017to their doctors’ offices almost immediately to seek aid for problems that had potentially turned long-term. Whatever the case may be in that regard, health insurance prices spiked around 25% heading into 2017. And many speculate that with the dubbed “Trumpcare” still stalling out in the legislative process, many insurers will be hedging their bets by spiking prices again into 2018. Some have gone so far as to compare premium prices for many health care policies as being on par with mortgage payments or, as one Sharon Thornton put it, “buying two new iPads a month and throwing them in the trash.”

WHAT MIGHT TRUMPCARE DO TO INSURANCE MARKETS?

It started as ObamaCare.

Now TrumpCare is being threatened, though no one seems to have much idea what it will look like. And with all the relative volatility calming down of late, would any adjustments to the Affordable Care Act send the insurance market into more chaotic turmoil?

In the aftermath of the Republican-controlled Congress failing on its best chance to repeal ObamaCare – which the GOP had campaigned on in each of the last three congressional election cycles since the CA was signed into law in 2010 – the Trump Administration has been working on moving on from ObamaCare repeal and was instead working on making ObamaCare more palatable while all the evidence shows it was collapsing in its current form.

Where legal, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is working to ease some of the regulatory burden on consumers and insurers to make the ACA truly more affordable. However, just as that happens, President Trump has been threatening to take away the federal subsidies that insurance companies receive to help mitigate the huge premium increases that have happened every year since the law went into full effect.

Insurance companies have been pulling out of the various state and federal exchanges in order to mitigate losses, and that meant several counties nationwide having either zero or one insurance company in the exchanges, severely limiting options for consumers. And now with the threat of subsidies being removed, that may send the entire insurance industry into an accelerated death spiral, as premiums would likely increase more exponentially to cover the lost subsidy money.

Would that move collapse the insurance market, or open up more competition and perhaps lower prices for insurance? And what about the insurance mandate, which Trump has said would get repealed? If insurance companies don’t get subsidies, and people aren’t going to be penalized for not buying insurance, could the insurance market survive with this stretching out of the universe of consumers?

The latest about health-care has Trump looking to move away from his campaign promise of repealing and replacing the ACA, to now talking with a bipartisan group of congressional members about a “fix” of ObamaCare – though there are no details about what that fix may entail. And of course it leads to the question of whether the law will actually be “fixed” in a way that will favor consumers, or “fixed” in favoring a certain agenda toward either more free-market insurance markets or a lurch into single-payer, socialized healthcare.

Now that Trump’s promise of repeal seems to be off the table, TrumpCare now looks like it might be a “fixed” version of ObamaCare. The real question is whether that fix will be for the benefit of consumers  or for the government. There is no middle ground.

The insurance marketplace was just starting to stabliize after six years, but then the uncertainty of repeal now being replaced by “fix” options. With some insurance companies actually doing a little better now than before (more because of pulling out of individual exchanges to shed costs, rather than gaining more customers), more uncertainty is sure to keep the market on its toes and in continual chaos for the foreseeable future. Chaos is not good for consumers, nor for the economy.

Do I Really Need Health Insurance?

Good health is a right bestowed on us by our Creator.

Health insurance is there to help cover many of the expenses that come with what we sometimes need to keep ourselves healthy. But with the American health-insurance market in a shambles by many reports, the question does arise: Do I really need health insurance after all, or am I better off paying the “tax penalty” for not having coverage according to the Affordable Care Act?

There is an expectation for everyone to have health insurance, but whether you need it individually depends on your situation.

First of all, health insurance does not guarantee you health care. It is not a voucher for health care – you can always get health care whenever you need it. The key word here is “insurance” – which means it exists to pay for major costs that might otherwise bankrupt your family yet is deemed necessary for your health (major surgery such as a transplant, cancer treatments, etc.).

Before the Affordable Care Act was implemented, many people had two kinds of policies that fit the bill in protecting families from huge expenses from major doctor and hospital costs – the Health Savings Account, and a catastrophic-coverage policy that covered major medical events and emergencies. Thanks to the ACA, these types of policies have been greatly restricted and even eliminated in some markets.

If you are currently sitting down and thinking about or discussing health coverage and whether it is a need in your household budget, consider asking yourself some questions:

  • What is your annual household income?
  • Do you have debts (including a mortgage)?
  • Do you have a medical history?
  • Do you have an emergency fund of savings (four to six months of expenses)?
  • Do you have children? How many, and ages?
  • What is the health history of your children?
  • Do you have a religious or moral objection to health insurance?
  • What is the value of your assets?

There is a lot of commentary that health insurance is a necessity, even for regular checkups and routine follow-up exams. Believe it or not, cash can go a long way to keep medical costs down, and regular office visits and check-ups are not so expensive as to challenge family budgets. Whether you need insurance depends on your personal situation based on the questions above.

While insurers are required to pay for follow-up care as well as annual checkups, you don’t need insurance for those events. Some compare health insurance to car insurance, which is only similar in that it is supposed to protect your assets from large bills or lawsuit judgments. But if you have a large enough income, sizable savings and a lot of assets, you could be considered “self-insured,” which means you won’t need health insurance. Also, if you use alternative methods of health care outside of modern medicine (such as acupuncture, chiropractic, Christian Science or other faith-based healing treatments), you won’t necessarily need health insurance either, as many of these alternative providers don’t take health insurance or their treatments are inexpensive and can be covered in family budgets.

Insurance comes down to your household and whether you want to protect your “stuff” in order to keep your family healthy. This is something that will involve an honest discussion with a financial planner who can walk you through your financial situation and can help you determine if the government-compliant health insurance is truly necessary.

What Happens If You Are Injured By An Uninsured Driver?

Car accidents are universally terrifying, and for most of us so is insurance. Although the vast majority of us fall under one insurance policy or another, we usually fail to recognize all the finer points of those policies. Under which circumstances are you covered? What if a dog runs in front of your vehicle and you hit someone after swerving to avoid him? What if an asteroid slams into your car trunk and spews paint chips at the car behind you? What if you are injured by an irresponsible driver who has no insurance? Indeed, sometimes dealing with insurance claims after an accident can be just as terrifying and stress-inducing as the accident itself.

So what should you do when you’re injured by an uninsured driver?

Well, first thing’s first: enlist the services of a personal injury attorney who knows what he or she is doing. Shop around, take advantage of free consultations to talk about the ins and outs of an eventual case, and choose the one who is best for you.

Usually, car insurance falls under a couple of different categories that could become relevant should you get into an accident with an uninsured driver. You may have either 1) uninsured motorist coverage OR 2) underinsured motorist coverage.

Uninsured motorist coverage is what it sounds like. Basically, if you get into an accident with a driver who has no insurance, your insurance provider will still help cover the costs of any injuries or damages that result. Although this type of insurance is almost always offered by the provider, you may have neglected to opt-in, and that could mean trouble if you need to file a claim. A few states require this type of coverage, but not all.

Underinsured motorist coverage is similar. If you’re in an accident with a driver who has insurance, but the policy won’t cover the costs of all your injuries or damage to your car, then your own policy will fulfill the rest.

One thing you should know: these types of insurance only come into play if the uninsured (or underinsured) driver is found to be at fault for the accident. If the accident was your fault, it’s a whole different thing and you should talk your options over with your lawyer before you say anything to your insurance company (or the policy). In addition, the time frame you usually have to make an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim is usually extremely limited and you absolutely must present your case to your lawyer as soon as possible in order to guarantee you get the compensation you deserve.

These kinds of things are nearly impossible to deal with on your own, which is why you got help from an attorney. Your legal representation will walk you through not only what you need to know, but who to talk to (or who not to talk to), when and what to do, and what to expect when the case is concluded. You deserve compensation for both your physical and emotional trauma and in most cases you will get it.

Explanation of Liability Insurance

The insurance policy which provides an individual or a business protection from the risk of them being sued and held legally responsible for situations such as injury, negligence or malpractice is called liability insurance, according to a long term care planning attorney Staten Island. Both legal costs as well as any legal payouts that the insured could be held responsible for, if they were found to be legally liable is covered by liability insurance policies.

There is no government sponsored form of liability insurance, it is still, however, a form of coverage that is important to have. Here are the main kinds of liability insurance:

  • Personal Liability
  • Workers´ Compensation and Employer’s Liability
  • Product Liability Insurance
  • Indemnity Insurance
  • Director and Officer Liability Coverage
  • Umbrella Liability
  • Commercial Liability
  • CGL (Comprehensive General Liability)
  • Homeowner’s Insurance

Personal liability insurance is of course about you and your family´s financial protection. What it covers is bodily injury and property damage sustained by others that you or members of your family may be legally responsible for. Medical Payments to Others coverage is also included in Personal Liability insurance.  It provides the payment of any medical expenses that guest who has accidentally be injured on your property may require. This is regardless of whether you are legally responsible or not.

And of course, business owners are exposed to a wide array of liabilities, any of which are able to subject their assets to claims that are substantial. This is why all business owners must have an asset protection plan in place which is built upon the liability insurance coverage which is available.

Liability insurance is crucial for anyone who may be held legally responsible for others´ injuries, this is especially true for business owners and medical practitioners. It is important to seek professional assistance in determining the type of liability insurance coverage that will best suit your needs and therefore avoid an unnecessary, and frustrating legal and/or financial issues.

Flood Insurance Will Help Protect Your Home And Belongings In Case Of A Flood

Depending on the location of your home, you may be required to purchase flood insurance. Many insurance companies won’t cover a home that sits in a flood zone if the owner doesn’t have flood insurance. Regular renters and homeowners insurance do not cover damage from flooding. A homeowner must purchase a separate flood insurance policy. The only flood insurance policies through the federal government cover any flood-related losses or damage.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) runs the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This insurance is sold by private insurance companies but the coverage is provided by the federal government.

It isn’t difficult to purchase flood insurance. Private insurers will often work with the Federal government to offer flood insurance. In order to get flood insurance, the home must be located in a community which participates in the NFIP. There are currently about 100 hundred insurance companies which sell NFIP policies.

Flood insurance doesn’t cost much and is important to have if there is a possibility of flooding in your area. The average annual cost is around $140 a year. This premium will increase according to the amount of coverage required and the likelihood of a flood. The maximum amount of insurance under the NFIP is $275,000 for structural damage and another $100,000 for personal property loss.

Homeowners must wait 30 days after purchase before flood insurance takes effect. There are more than 20,000 communities across the country which are part of the NFIP. If a homeowner isn’t sure about their area, they can check with the online FloodSmart Tool by entering their zip code.

It is also possible to purchase excess flood insurance from private insurance companies. This insurance will cover losses over and above what the NFIP insurance covers. A homeowner must have NFIP flood insurance before they can qualify for excess flood insurance.

Casualty Insurance Helps Protect You Against Loss

Casualty insurance covers a broad range and may include property insurance, liability insurance, and vehicle insurance. There is both private and commercial casualty insurance. A good example of commercial casualty insurance is workers’ compensation insurance. This type of insurance protects a business when an employee is hurt while performing their job responsibilities. Without casualty insurance, individuals or companies could end up owing a great deal of money.

Private casualty insurance helps protect your property such as a car or a house. It also provides liability coverage which protects you in case someone is hurt on your property or you damage someone else’s property. There are several types of casualty insurance.

Homeowners Insurance covers your home and your belongings against loss from fire or theft. This policy also provides liability coverage which can protect you if someone suffers personal injury while visiting or if you damage another person’s property.

Car insurance is another type of casualty insurance. This type of policy protects your car against theft or fire. The policy will also include liability insurance which is required in order to drive a car in many states. Liability insurance protects you in case you are found to be legally responsible for damaging someone else’s car or causing them injury during a vehicle accident. If your car is financed, your lender may require you to also buy collision and comprehensive insurance.

Renters insurance is also casualty insurance. When you rent, your landlord should have a policy protecting the building and their own personal property, but this policy will not protect your belongings. You’ll need to purchase renters insurance so your own belongings are covered in case of a fire or theft. Renters insurance also provides liability coverage in case you cause damage to someone else’s property or if a guest is injured while visiting in your home.

Income Protection Insurance And How It Helps If You Can’t Work

Income protection insurance will cover an individual if they become incapacitated and can not work. This insurance may offer monthly payments while the insured is off work. It can also offer protection against sickness, accidents or unemployment.

These policies typically offer protection in three situations. First, you can purchase a policy that will protect against sickness and accident only. For a bit more, you can purchase a policy against unemployment only or you can purchase a comprehensive policy that protects you against all three situations.

These policies typically don’t start paying until the insured has been out of work at least six months. Once this waiting period is over, the policies may cover up to 80 percent of the insured’s salary. The policy will continue paying until the insured returns to work, reaches retirement age or dies.

How long and how much a policy pays will depend on the terms and conditions of the policy. If an employee is able to return to work at reduced hours or in a different position for less pay, the policy will usually take this into account and adjust payments.

Income protection policies are primarily offered in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and South Africa. There are two types of policies, group income protection, and individual income protection.

Group income protection is available through the employer and will replace an employee’s income if they can’t work due to injury or illness. This type of income protection insurance is available as part of an employee benefits package.

Individual income protection insurance may be purchased through private insurance brokers. It is also sold by some independent financial advisers.

Group income protection policies will generally cover pre-existing conditions while many individual income policies do not. Group policies also tend to pay more than individual income policies.

Life Insurance Explained

Life insurance is basically a form of insurance that pays a sum of money to your beneficiaries right after your demise or after a given period. It is also known as life assurance or life cover and it’s a way to help protect your family financially if you die.

You choose the amount of cover you require and the period and you can pay premiums either monthly or annually. In return, your loved ones are assured that if you passed away while covered by the policy, they will get a cash payout when a valid claim is made.

Why Should You Consider Life Insurance?

If you have a partner, kids or a person who relies on you for financial aid, then you may want to consider life insurance. If you are the breadwinner, without that money, your loved ones will be left in a struggle to pay the rent or mortgage and other bills.

Also, if you have outstanding debts such as a home loan, life insurance could be used to cover these debts when you die. It could also help your loved ones with every day living expenses and even cater for your funeral costs and helps avoid insurance fraud.

There are various types of life insurance but the most common are term life and whole life insurance. Term life covers you for a set period of time. Your premium won’t change and you’ll not accrue any money. It is the cheapest form of life insurance in the market, but if you happen to die outside the set period, you’re not covered.

Whole life, on the other hand, is a permanent option. Here, the policy covers you your whole life. The premium will be level and the insurance provider will invest a portion of the premiums. It’s slightly expensive than term insurance but cash values are accrued and accessible at any time. Also, your beneficiaries are awarded death benefit.

There are numerous competent insurance companies and organizations that provide life insurance and it is up to you to do your research to find the best for your needs and budget.