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clock December 24, 2022

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What Roofing Contractors Should Know About Workers Compensation

Did you know that an average of 2.8 out of 100 Americanssustain workplace injuries every year? Many factors can contribute to workplace injuries, including poor conditions, exhaustion from too much work, lack of safety programs, and unsafe working conditions. Roofing contractors have a duty of care to prevent injury and harm to their employees and themselves.

For this reason, you will need to purchase workers’ compensation. This type of insurance protects employers from lawsuits from injured employees and works to keep their employees safe and compensated.

In fact, it’s been reported that roof-related injuries cause about 150,000 Americans to receive medical treatment annually, making worker’s compensation a must-have for any roofing contractor. 

However, understanding worker’s compensation may seem overwhelming. Here’s everything you need to know about worker’s compensation when you’re a roofing contractor.

Understanding Worker’s Compensation Insurance

As a roof contractor, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of worker’s compensation insurance for your business. For starters, it provides cash benefits and possibly medical care if you’ve become hurt or ill because of your job. 

Worker’s comp is paid out by your employer, and the employee doesn’t have to pay into the compensation cost. If you’re an employee and find yourself in need of worker’s comp, you’ll benefit from medical care and even weekly cash payments paid to you by your employer’s insurance provider.

These rules are governed by the Worker’s Compensation Board. This state agency processes every worker’s comp claim and intervenes when necessary.

It can even determine if the insurer needs to reimburse an employee for medical or cash benefits or both. This board can also negotiate amounts to be paid out. 

It’s important to understand that with worker’s compensation, no one party is thought to be at fault, meaning the amount you’ll receive isn’t affected by whether you were careless or your boss was negligent. But remember that if your injuries weren’t 100% work-related, then you’re not entitled to worker’s compensation. And if you were under the influence at work, you won’t receive any benefits if you injure yourself or someone else. 

You’ll only receive a payment if your injury is related to work and illness sustained on the job. Should your employer fight your claim, you won’t receive any money until the dispute has been investigated and a worker’s comp judge makes a ruling.

However, you might be able to receive disability payments in the interim. Should you return to work but your injury prevents you from earning the same wages, you might be able to receive 2/3 of the difference. You might even be able to go back to work and complete light-duty work. 

Worker’s Compensation Benefits

Now that you understand more about workplace compensation, it’s important to make yourself aware of the benefits. Here are some key ones to consider. 

Protection from Lost Wages

Roof contractors understand the importance of compensation should they lose wages due to an injury or illness on the job site. Worker’s comp protects you from lost wages and provides medical care as needed. 


Should you become injured on the job, you don’t need to prove that your employer is liable. Any injuries that occur on the job automatically entitle you to compensation. While you can use an employer to try and prove their liability, you won’t have to worry about whether or not you qualify for worker’s comp in the interim.  

Protection for Employers

If you’re an employer and offer worker’s compensation to your employees, you also run the risk of facing lawsuits from employees. Employer’s liability, however, might pay attorney fees and court fees along with damages the court awards your employees. 

Third-Party Lawsuits

As an employer with roof contractors in your employ, you might have an employee sue a third party for accident liability. This might put you in a bad situation if the third party sues you for liability instead. However, if your worker’s comp policy has employer’s liability, you won’t have to worry about legal fees if a third party sues you. 

What’s Covered By Worker’s Comp?

Whether you’re an employer or employee, here’s what you can expect worker’s comp to cover if there’s a work-related injury or illness sustained: 

  • Lost wages
  • Medical expenses
  • Continuous care costs
  • Funeral costs
  • Illness
  • Disability
  • Repetitive Injury

If you or your employees get sick outside of work, these benefits won’t apply, along with claims related to on-site intoxication. 

Let’s take a better look at what each benefit covers. 

Lost Wages

If you or your employee lost wages, worker’s comp can provide partial coverage to help close a financial gap. If you need time off work for a few weeks due to a work-related injury, file a worker’s comp claim for partial payments. 

Medical Expenses

One in 10 American adults has some type of medical debt they owe. Luckily, worker’s compensation for roofing contractors helps pay for these medical expenses should you or an employee sustain a work-related injury or illness. 

An example is if you’re an electrician and cut your hand on the job. Your hospital visit would be covered by worker’s compensation, along with surgery and prescriptions.  

Continuous Care Costs

Not every work-related injury or illness will have you back to work in a short amount of time. Some are severe and require continuous care coverage. If you hurt your back on the job, for example, and need physical therapy, it would be covered by worker’s compensation. 

Funeral Costs

Unfortunately, some workplace injuries or illnesses may be so severe that they lead to a loss of life. To help offset the cost for families, worker’s comp can cover some of the funeral costs and offer a death benefit to beneficiaries. 


Should you find yourself exposed to any harmful substances on the job and end up ill, worker’s compensation can help. It can cover any necessary treatment and continuous care as a result of the injury. 


If a workplace injury leaves you disabled- either temporarily or permanently- worker’s comp can help. It can provide disabled employees with benefits needed to pay medical bills while replacing a portion of wages they lost. 

An example might be an employee who breaks a bone on the job and is partially disabled and can’t return to work. Worker’s compensation insurance can come with any necessary treatments and supplement a portion of missed wages in the form of disability benefits. 

Repetitive Injury

Not every type of workplace injury has to be from a single accident. Repetitive injuries are the result of repeated overuse on the job.

One of these injuries includes carpal tunnel syndrome and it can take months or years to present. However, worker’s compensation can cover treatment and ongoing care as a result. 

Who Qualifies for Worker’s Compensation Coverage?

Although worker’s compensation varies from state to state, most require it for any full-time employees. Some states do, however, require that temps and interns have access to worker’s comp. 

Familiarize yourself with your state’s rules and regulations concerning worker’s comp insurance. Keep in mind that the size of your company (if you’re an owner and not an employee) along with job roles all determine who needs work’s comp coverage. 

Who Pays for Workers’ Compensation?

It doesn’t matter what state you reside in, employers pay for worker’s comp insurance. It’s deducted as a percentage of your payroll. However, it’s not like health insurance as it’s not deducted from employee paychecks. 

As a roofing contractor, you need to understand that worker’s comp is a type of business insurance and your state might require you to provide it. You can purchase this type of insurance for your employees by contacting a private insurance company or a worker’s comp state fund. 

Depending on your state, you may be able to purchase worker’s comp through a monopolistic state agency. 

Do the Self-Employed Need Worker’s Comp Insurance?

Are you self-employed? If so, you might be wondering if you need worker’s comp to work in the roofing industry. 

Although employers need to provide worker’s comp to employees, it’s usually an option for any self-employed workers, as well as independent contractors and business owners. However, if you decide to hire a staff to assist you, then you need to pick up worker’s comp insurance on their behalf. 

As an independent contractor, there are instances where you want to pick up worker’s compensation insurance. Let’s take a look. 

High-Risk Industries

Roofers face hazardous conditions such as icy roofs, high winds, and wet weather. Also, repetitive movements from tearing off and replacing roofing materials might lead to workplace injuries. 

Any type of manual labor increases your risk of workplace injuries, making roofing an industry where even the self-employed need worker’s comp insurance. 

State Requirements 

Not every state considers worker’s comp optional for the self-employed. Should your state require you to cover this type of insurance, you’ll need to pick up a policy immediately. 

Contractual Obligations

It’s not uncommon for independent contractors to encounter other businesses that only want to work with them if they’re covered by worker’s comp insurance. This type of insurance limits the liability of the other business should the self-employed independent contractor sustain an injury on the job. 

Seeing as roughly 40 million lawsuits are filed annually in the US, it’s not uncommon for businesses to want additional liability protection. 

Independent Contractor Business Obligations

If you’re an independent contractor and sustain an injury on the job, work will come to a grinding halt. This means a lack of income. However, worker’s comp can bridge the gap until you return to work.

Certificate of Insurance

Business owners may need a certificate of insurance proving they have worker’s comp coverage. This is true even if you don’t have employees but need to satisfy a state law.

In this type of circumstance, you can purchase a “ghost policy.” This type of worker’s compensation that’s designed to let contractors provide proof of coverage, even though they’re excluded. The assumption is that if they hire anyone, they’re covered already. 

Opt-Out of Self-Employed Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Unless you’ve picked up contract work, as a self-employed roofing contractor, you most likely won’t need worker’s compensation insurance for yourself. You may, however, need to sign a waiver stating you’re opting out of worker’s compensation. 

You may also need a waiver if you’re providing services to a business other than your own. Depending on your state, business owners may need to provide worker’s comp to independent contractors. However, the business owners may be able to get the independent contractor to waive the requirement if they complete paperwork with the state board. 

Every state has different guidelines, so be sure to familiarize yourself ahead of starting any job. 

Do Contractors Need Worker’s Comp Insurance?

This isn’t a clear-cut question and answer, as every state has varying requirements. For example, in Minnesota, independent contractors can’t get an exclusion from worker’s comp insurance unless they’re part of a specific type of business class. 

On the other hand, Texas doesn’t have worker’s comp requirements, and the number of employees you have has no bearing on this ruling. But just because you’re not legally obligated to carry worker’s comp doesn’t mean you shouldn’t carry this type of essential insurance. 

Your state will take into consideration the following: worker types that qualify for a worker’s comp exclusion, minimum employees required for an employer to pick up worker’s comp, and whether or not you need to pick up worker’s comp insurance in the first place. 

You don’t want to claim employees as independent contractors for several reasons. For example, if you misclassify a worker, you may find yourself on the hook for fines. You may also need to pay back taxes and unpaid salaries. The best way to protect yourself and your employees is to pick up a worker’s comp policy right away. 

Worker’s Compensation Calculator

You’re probably wondering about the cost of worker’s compensation, should you find yourself in a position to apply for these benefits. Worker’s compensation is calculated using the Class Code Rate (CCR), Experience Rate Modification (ERM), and business payroll. 

For example, the premium would be payroll/$100 x CCR x ERM. 

Keep in mind that this is only a rough estimate of what you’d get from worker’s compensation. CCR and ERM rates are diverse, so use this formula as a ballpark estimate. The state your employees reside in also affects how much they’d receive from worker’s compensation. 

It’s very common for benefits to be calculated and paid based on your employee’s average weekly wage. You’d need to multiply their daily wage by the number of days they work in a full year. Take this number and divide it by 52 weeks for your average weekly rate. 

Worker’s Compensation Insurance Average Cost

Once you’ve determined that a worker’s compensation policy is the best fit for you and your business, you can start shopping for the best worker’s comp policy

On average, you can expect to pay less than $800 monthly, although the number of employees you have affects this cost. Cost varies across states and business operations. However, policies in this price range typically cover medical fees and offer lost wages while protecting business owners from

Worker’s Comp FAQs:

Do you still have worker’s compensation questions that pertain to roofing contractors? Here are some common questions you may need to be answered: 

I Have Health Insurance. Do I Still Need Worker’s Comp?

Even if you have health insurance, you still need worker’s comp. Most health insurance policies don’t cover illness and injuries related to work.

If your policy does cover these types of work-related injuries, you may have a very high deductible. Additionally, health insurance won’t provide you with lost wages should you find yourself out of work. 

I Received a Year-End Worker’s Compensation Bill. Why?

Payroll estimates are used to calculate worker’s compensation insurance premiums all year long. Not every employer knows the exact amount of hours their employees worked or may hire or fire someone mid-policy.

As such, when the policy expires, the insurance provider will need to conduct a worker’s comp audit. They’ll check to see if the premium was appropriately calculated. 

Should they find that payroll was higher than originally estimated, employers will receive a refund. You might opt for monthly premiums to avoid surprise bills at the end of the year.  

I Need to File a Worker’s Compensation Claim. How Do I Do So?

If you need to file a worker’s comp claim, it’s important that you do so as soon as possible. Employers need to report any workplace illnesses or injuries should any of the following happen:

  • One of your business employees is injured on a job site
  • Work caused an employee to become sick 
  • Job-related duties cause your employees to become injured
  • You have an employee who is injured in the workplace. 

You need to ensure all employees receive proper medical treatment if they’re injured at work. Don’t hesitate to call an ambulance so they can be taken to the hospital for appropriate and emergency treatment. Should they need time off work to recover, be sure to approve their request. 

Filing a claim requires information gathering. Here’s what you’ll need to file a claim for an employee: 

  • Your company’s account number, location, and policy number
  • The injured or sick employee’s personal information (address, date of birth, phone number, age, gender, Social Security number, and so forth)
  • Incident details (date, the type of injury sustained, body part injured, cause of injury, an estimate of days the employee will lose from work, anticipated work return date, witnesses, and so forth)

After you collect all this information, you’ll need to file the claim with your insurance company. Be sure to do this as fast as possible. Depending on your state, there may be a time window to report an incident to your worker’s compensation insurance provider. 

Take New York, for example. Employers need to report any incidents within 10 days, and employees need to report incidents to employers within 30 days or risk losing worker’s comp benefits. 

I Have Pre-existing Conditions. Am I Excluded From Getting Worker’s Compensation?

No matter what type of pre-existing conditions you may have, it’s important to remember that they don’t prevent you from benefitting from worker’s compensation insurance should you need it. It also doesn’t prevent employers from picking up this type of insurance. This is because policies pay for new injuries or workplace illnesses and flare-ups caused by existing work. 

Let’s say you have a back problem unrelated to your roofing work. If you happen to sustain an injury on the job that reaggravates your pre-existing injury, you can still receive worker’s compensation insurance benefits since the injury was related to work. Any pre-existing conditions that are aggravated should be covered by worker’s comp. 

You might, however, encounter a claim denial. Talk to your employer about reapplying. 

Worker’s Comp for Roofing Contractors

Now that you know more about worker’s comp and roofing contractors, you can invest in the best policy for your needs. Whether you’re an employer or an independent contractor working for yourself, worker’s compensation can protect you in the event of a workplace injury or illness. Some states require it if you’re self-employed or not, and it’s the business owners to carry this coverage to protect their employees. 

Are you looking for a workman’s compensation policy? National Workman’s Comp Solutions can help.

Click here for an instant quote and get coverage today. We cover high-hazard risks, roofing, landscaping, and more, so reach out to us today so you and your employees are protected. 

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