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Workers Compensation for Income Property Owners: Why You Need It - Even If You Don’t Have Employees

As a business owner, you probably know that California requires employers to carry Workers Compensation Insurance. What happens, however, if you’re a building owner, apartment owner, or even part of a condo association WITHOUT employees?

Actual Stories From Our Clients:

  • A property manager’s handy husband fell from a tree he was trimming to help his wife win kudos from the boss. He sustained injuries requiring medical treatment. The building owner now wished he had not passed on the Workers Compensation Insurance that had been recommended.
  • An on-site manager paid a tenant, who was a handyman by trade, $150 to paint a vacant unit. The tenant performed the work and then stepped on a nail either on the premises or elsewhere during his travels as a handyman – no one could prove where. Five days later, the tenant/handyman died of complications from his injury.  This building owner settled in court for an undisclosed amount.
  • A plumbing vendor’s employee fell off a balcony. The plumber did not have valid Workers Compensation Insurance. Fortunately in this situation, the building owner had coverage. Workers Compensation defended the insured, so there was defense with no out of pocket cost for him.

In each case, the property owner was potentially liable for the incident. If an uninsured vendor, service provider, or even an unpaid volunteer is injured while performing work on your behalf, you could be held liable.  It’s a potential for financial loss that income property owners and condo associations are seldom aware of. Even if you use a professional property management company, you could still be at risk!

What You Can Do: 

  • Before work starts, make sure your independent contractor or vendor is appropriately licensed and insured for Workers Compensation as well as General Liability. (And, beware of counterfeit certificates of insurance!)
  • More importantly, make sure you’re prepared with coverage of your own. Even if you have no payroll, you can close this potential coverage gap often for less than $1,000 a year. 

Accidents happen. As apartment owners ourselves, we at Abernathy Insurance Agency understand the unique needs of your business. For a free consultation on Workers Compensation Insurance and other insurance coverages essential to your business, contact us today! Let us help you identify and close these often overlooked – and potentially devastating – coverage gaps.