Understanding Domestic Worker Insurance

Imagine if your cleaner, gardener or babysitter were to fall and break his or her arm while in your home. You could be sued for medical costs and wage compensation, which could amount to thousands of dollars.

Have you ever considered whether or not any staff you employ around the home are covered by your home and contents insurance policy?

If someone comes in to clean your house, for example, or somebody comes and tends to your garden regularly, you could be at risk of a compensation claim if they were to become injured while in your employ and on your property.

Should You Have an Extra Insurance Policy in Place?

According to Safe Work Australia statistics, in the period 2010-11 there were 20 serious workers’ compensation claims made against private households employing staff in Australia.

It would certainly seem to make sense to have some sort of insurance policy in place, and you shouldn’t just assume that your home and contents covers it. While most home and contents policies include public liability insurance, this only covers visitors to your house and not people you employ to work on your property.

Domestic Workers Compensation is a requirement by law for some employers, but there are some exemptions. For instance, in NSW it is not required by anyone paying all staff less than $7,500 a year in total. So if you had a cleaner who came once a week for two hours and was paid $60, and a gardener who came for two hours a week that you also paid $60, you would still be paying under the threshold ($6240 a year).

Also, if the worker is a contractor or from an agency, they may have their own insurance protection – in which case you’ll be covered should anything happen to them on your property. Generally, when you’re the employer, you’re the one that’s required to have a workers compensation policy.

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About WorkCover Queensland Household Workers Insurance policy

Who offers domestic workers compensation cover?

Included in many home and contents insurance policies will be a phrase something along the lines of “this optional extra [domestic workers compensation cover] is only applicable in states or territories where domestic workers compensation can be offered in conjunction with a home contents policy. At the time of writing, these applicable states/territories are the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania and Western Australia.

So in other states you’ll have to take out workers cover insurance on its own – i.e. the cover is not available as an optional add-on to home and contents insurance. In NSW, Victoria and South Australia, the government authorities have designated insurers operating as scheme agents on their behalf. In Queensland however, the scheme is wholly operated by the state.

Here’s a state-by-state rundown of who offers domestic workers cover:

  • Allianz
  • CGU Workers Compensation
  • EML
  • GIO
  • QBE
  • Allianz
  • CGU Workers Compensation
  • EML
  • Gallagher Bassett
  • Xchanging
  • WorkCover Queensland’s Household Worker’s Insurance policy

WA Private Providers (May be available as optional add-on to home and contents insurance):

  • Allianz
  • Catholic Church Insurance
  • GIO
  • Guild Insurance
  • CGU Workers Compensation
  • QBE Insurance
  • Wesfarmers General Insurance
  • Zurich
  • EML
  • Gallagher Bassett

Tasmania Private Providers (May be available as optional add-on to home and contents insurance):

  • Allianz
  • Catholic Church Insurance
  • GIO
  • Guild Insurance
  • CGU Workers Compensation
  • QBE
  • Zurich

ACT Private Providers (May be available as optional add-on to home and contents insurance):

  • Allianz
  • Guild Insurance
  • Catholic Church Insurance
  • QBE
  • CGU Workers Compensation
  • Zurich
  • GIO
  • Allianz
  • CGU Workers Compensation
  • GIO
  • QBE

Rules about insurance in these situations vary from state to state, so it pays to check the following government websites to see the rules in your area:

Are Your Staff ‘Employees’ or ‘Contractors’?

If you want to work out whether your domestic staff are officially “employees” or “contractors”, use the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) Employee/contractor decision tool, which has a selection of questions to determine which category your staff fits.

Compare Home Insurance with Canstar

If you’re comparing home and contents insurance policies, the comparison table below displays some of the policies currently available on Canstar’s database for an Australian aged under 50, seeking cover in NSW or ACT for a cost to replace building and contents of below $550,000. Please note the table is sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest), followed by provider name (alphabetical) and features links direct to the providers’ websites. Use Canstar’s home insurance comparison selector to view a wider range of policies.

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