By: Virginia Reames
The Policy Center
Jackson, MS

Whenever an incident occurs – out in the field or in the shop, “was anybody hurt?” is the first question that crosses your mind. And well it should be!

A worker injured on the job can be handicapped for life – and who’s gonna pay for his care? If he works for you and you don’t have workers’ comp insurance – guess who’s gonna pay for all of this.

If anyone works for you – even part time – you’re really rolling the dice if you don’t carry workers comp.

“My state says I don’t have to.” No, your state says you must have it if you have a certain number of employees. It doesn’t say anything at all about how you’re not liable to pay medical bills and rehab and lost wages if someone who works for you gets hurt on the job. Because you are liable.

Consider a car wreck for just a moment. Let’s say you send someone to the bank to make a deposit or drop off mail driving one of your vehicles, truck hauling equipment for example, and there is a wreck. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is. What matters is that your employee is hurt—wait, was there more than one employee in that vehicle? Workers Comp pays for unlimited – yes unlimited – medical bills. And rehab. It even pays lost wages for a certain number of weeks

Why would any businessman put himself in that predicament when Workers Comp is a cost of doing business and is deductible? Just as deductible as the diesel fuel used to run that excavator. OK, they often only buy liability insurance because it is required – either by their Board of Contractors or the job they are doing. But if something goes wrong, the insurance agent is the 4th person to know about it, right behind the guy who did it, the guy he did it to, and you, the contractor.

You can exclude yourself from coverage if you choose, but why on earth would you?? It’s the most inexpensive, most comprehensive coverage for job related injury on the planet! Remember that part about “lost wages”? You also need to know that a lot of health insurance companies are declining to pay work—related injury claims.

Yes, workers’ comp companies audit your payrolls every year to be sure they are collecting the right amount of premium – and yes, if your payrolls are less than expected, you will get a refund. More importantly, if your payrolls exceed what was anticipated, your workers are covered anyway, and the premium won’t be collected for them until next audit or renewal!

Guys – going short on insurance isn’t saving you money at all–it’s costing you in the long run. I was once told, “Your job is to sell me insurance.” No, actually, my job is keeping you out of financial trouble in the event of an accident, whether it’s a mistake you might have made, a red light your guy decided to run, a ladder that slipped—the opportunities for loss are endless!

In most cases, count on Workers’ Comp to tak