Does Restaurant Insurance Include Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

When purchasing restaurant insurance you can pick and choose from a myriad of policies—general liability, property coverage, business interruption, liquor law liability, food spoilage, water backup and utilities coverage, and more. You may choose to purchase some but not others. Depending on the state in which you are doing business, you will likely have a legal requirement to obtain certain insurance coverages, while for others it is down to personal choice.

But, with the exception of Texas, every state in the US requires private employers to carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance (often referred to simply as workers’ comp) or an equivalent (Oklahoma). Each state has its own rules, but it is up to you, the employer—even if you employ just one person—to find out what the rules are.

For example, in New Jersey, current legislation requires that all corporations, LLCs, and sole proprietorships must maintain workers’ compensation insurance if the business hires at least one employee. (In the case of sole proprietorships if there is no worker other than the principal owner, no workers’ comp need be provided). Failure to provide insurance in New Jersey can be penalized by fines of “up to $5,000 for the first ten days and up to $5,000 for each additional ten-day period of failure to insure thereafter.” Furthermore, “where a work-related injury or death has occurred, the employer, including individual corporate officers, partners or members of an LLC, is directly liable for medical expenses, temporary disability and permanent disability or dependency benefits.”*

Thus, it’s easy to see how not having workers’ comp is a bad idea both legally and financially.

What is workers’ compensation insurance, and can it be included in your restaurant insurance policy?

Workers’ compensation insurance is a stand-alone insurance and cannot be incorporated into your other restaurant insurance policies. It protects you and your employees if an employee sustains an injury or illness while at work.

Consider your restaurant: your kitchen staff are using sharp knives, working at cook stoves, carrying pots of boiling water…there are any number of ways in which an employee may be injured. In the dining area your wait staff may fall, be injured when dropping a plate of food or tray of glasses, be hurt when going through the connecting door between the dining room and kitchen… Such injuries can lead to medical costs and time off work. Workers’ compensation insurance meets those costs.

When it comes to illnesses contracted at work, employees in restaurant settings are in a particularly vulnerable environment—not only can they be infected by the customers they are serving, but they may also contract diseases from contaminated food.

Of course, some parts of your restaurant insurance will protect you from many of the costs associated with accidents or food contamination, but when it comes to the cost of your employees’ medical needs, time off for recovery or doctors’ visits, rehabilitation fees, and more, workers’ compensation insurance will pick up the tab.

To calculate the cost of workers’ comp for your restaurant, and to set up the policy itself, contact your broker today.

* https://www.nj.gov/labor/wc/employer/require/insure_index.html

Find out more about workers compensation coverage for your New Jersey restaurant. Contact Vozza Agency for restaurant insurance coverage in New Jersey.