Top tips on insurance for care workers

As a business owner or self-employed contractor, having the right insurance policy to cover you – or your team – for the work you do is crucial, writes Skye Theodorou.

As a business owner or self-employed contractor, having the right insurance policy to cover you – or your team – for the work you do is crucial, writes Skye Theodorou.

A claim against a business or business owner can be financially devastating. What’s equally as important as having an insurance policy, is ensuring it covers all of the activities you do as a care worker and is updated regularly.

Not all insurance policies are created equal and, as a care worker, the activities that you may need to be covered for could differ greatly from your colleagues’ or industry peers’. For this reason, the number one priority when looking for insurance cover for yourself as a care worker should be the inclusions and exclusions.

Why do they matter?

Skye Theodorou. Image: Salty Dingo

Different insurance products have different inclusion and exclusions. It’s important to identify these and check them against the types of activities you do with clients to ensure each and every activity you undertake with your clients is covered. You may be surprised to find out that not all activities are, or can be, covered through certain insurance policies or insurance partners.

For instance, a small disability support business based on Australia’s east coast was undertaking a range of activities with their clients including trips to the beach and attending local music performances. They realised quickly that their insurance policy didn’t actually cover them for certain parts of these activities.

For example, it did cover them for taking their clients to the beach – but with the exception that it did not cover them when taking their clients directly onto the sand. Likewise, their policy covered them for taking clients out to music gigs, however, it didn’t cover them for the activity of dancing.

These small differences in policy inclusion and exclusions can have a profound impact if a client ever has an accident, or a claim is made, in these particular settings.

Top tips to consider when looking for insurance

  • Consider what insurance is right for you: Start your search by looking into professional indemnity and public liability insurance. These are the two most common cover options for care workers. Professional indemnity insurance can protect you for claims made against you in the course of you providing your professional services and public liability insurance can protect you against any liability if someone is injured on your premises or while you are providing your services. You might also need to consider cover outside of professional indemnity and public liability insurance too. Do you utilise your car for work? If so, you might need to look into commercial motor insurance. Chat to an insurance expert to find the most comprehensive cover option for you.

  • Focus on inclusions and exclusions: Write down a list of all the activities you do with clients. Be granular with your list; the small details are important. Take that list to your insurance company and ask them to confirm if the activities you’ve detailed are covered. If not, look into alternative options. If you can’t find the appropriate cover for what you need, then you need to consider whether you can still engage in those activities, and if you do, how you can best protect yourself and your clients from the risks involved. Using a third party and their insurance or signing waivers could be some alternative options to manage the risks.

  • Consider notifying complaints or concerns that might become a claim in the future: A good way to protect your business is to tell your insurer about incidents or circumstances that might be a claim in the future but you are concerned about. This might be a complaint, or a specific incident you want to report. This can ensure that the active insurance policy from when you notified the circumstance or incident can be used in the event of it ever becoming a claim in the future. Best of all – it doesn’t impact your premium at all as it isn’t a claim. 

  • Update your policy and activities if ever they change: Whenever your business changes significantly, with revenue, employees, or even in new activities or services you are providing – such as permanent accommodation, 24/7 care or supported independent living – it’s important to notify your insurer as there may not be cover under the policy for these activities. These activities, for example, and even growing revenue need to be confirmed with the insurance partner and additional premium might be payable.

  • Consider blending your other business activities and your caring work to one policy: If you are a nurse, with cosmetic injectables and caring, or life coaching and disability support work, check to see if you can combine these covers under one policy to save you money.

  • Check your policy limits: Insurance limits vary, and you don’t want to be paying for more than you need or end up not having an adequate amount of cover if a claim is made. If you’re not sure what limits would be best for you, chat to an insurance expert.

Once you’ve chosen the right policy for you, it’s important to update it yearly, or as your circumstances at work change, to ensure ongoing cover for the activities you undertake.

Information provided is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account any person’s particular objectives, financial situation or needs

Skye Theodorou is chief executive officer and co-founder of upcover, an insurtech platform for small-to-medium enterprises in Australia

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