Workers' Compensation Basics
Workers’ compensation insurance is purchased by businesses to cover their employees in the event they are injured at work. It is invaluable for both businesses and their employees, providing financial protection in the event of a job-related accident or illness. This safety net is crucial – without it, the impact of a serious accident could be disastrous.
Workers' compensation insurance, which is regulated on a state-by-state basis, is generally mandatory for all businesses. Under California law, all employers in the state are required to carry workers' compensation insurance - even if they have only one employee. In fact, even out-of-state employers may need to purchase workers' comp coverage in California if they have one or more employees who work here regularly, or if they enter into an employment contract in the state.
Typically, small business owners in California are not required to have workers' compensation coverage if they are sole proprietors with no employees. However, it may become necessary to purchase workers' comp insurance if the business hires one or more employees, even on a temporary basis. Thus, for example, California business owners who hire extra help during the holiday season or other busy times may need to insure those workers through the workers' compensation system
Typically, a small business owner with a few employees can expect to pay around $3,000 to $4,000 in workers’ compensation insurance premiums annually. As employee headcount increases, premiums will also go up as costs are associated with employee pay. In California, the average cost per $100 in employee wages is around $3. It will naturally be more expensive to insure employees working on a particularly dangerous job where claims are frequent, such as construction.
As workers' compensation insurance coverage is mandated by law, the coverage offered by all workers' compensation policies looks very much alike. At Huckleberry, we differentiate by offering the only fully digital policy on the market, meaning you can spend less time filling out paper forms and more time building your business.
There is no universal limit to the amount that can be paid to an injured employee. Instead, the amount is determined by the workers’ compensation board in each state. The amount is usually determined by the employee’s salary and the severity of their injury or condition, in addition to medical bill payments.
Our policies are issued by Markel Insurance Company, a publicly traded insurer with decades of experience. Markel have ultimate responsibility for paying out all claims (although you will always have a friendly Huckleberry agent to help you through the process).
Our online product is currently available in California only. We will be expanding rapidly across the United States – contact us to find out more about joining the beta program for your state.
Buying a Policy
Most customers can get coverage in place in as little as five to seven minutes. On occasion, our insurance partner may decide to review your case in a little more detail. When this happens, our target turnaround time is 30 minutes during business hours.
You can pay for your policy using your bank account or credit card. For bank account payments, we have a direct integration with most major US banks – all you need to do is enter your regular online banking username and password.
We’ve designed Huckleberry to save you time and to minimize the amount of information you need to gather. We integrate directly with a number of business intelligence databases to auto-populate much of your application form (e.g. with your business address, telephone number and FEIN). We also use machine learning algorithms to suggest answers to some of the more complicated questions, such as the industry classification that your company belongs to. All you need to do is review the information for accuracy, answer a couple of additional questions and then submit for a quote.
Once you purchase your policy online, you’ll receive an email with a link to digitally sign all required documentation. All company officers that have elected to forgo coverage are also required to sign documentation to that effect. Your policy will not be in force until all signatures have been received, and coverage may be withdrawn if this last step is not completed within one week of check-out.