Workers’ Compensation Requirements for Florida General Contractors

Workers’ compensation insurance is required for contractors in Florida. What are the requirements for coverage? Should you apply for exemptions? What are the pros and cons of coverage versus exemptions? This is your guide to workers’ compensation insurance for general contractors in Florida.

Florida Coverage Requirements

All contractors working within the State of Florida must carry workers’ compensation insurance for each of their employees. This includes the owner and any corporate officers or LLC (Limited Liability Company) members. General contractors are responsible for making sure that subcontractors carry the proper insurance for their own employees. If the subcontractor is not covered, those employees are considered, by law, to be the employees of the general contractor, who is now liable for any injuries that occur. For this reason, many general contractors require the subcontractors that they work with to provide proof of current workers’ compensation coverage before any work can begin.

Exemptions

Certain individuals within a company, such as the owner and corporate officers, may obtain an exemption from workers’ compensation coverage. These individuals must hold at least 10 percent ownership in the company. No more than three officers are eligible for exemption at any time.

The exemption requires an application form called the Notice of Election to be Exempt. Once this is approved, a Certificate of Election to be Exempt is issued. This certificate must be renewed annually to remain valid.

Coverage vs. Exemption

Workers’ compensation coverage is the option preferred by the State of Florida. It reduces your liability in the event of on-site injury. Even if an independent contractor, not covered under your policy, is injured, they cannot sue you or your company. They will have to settle for suing the insurance company. Having this protection gives you peace of mind. It also gives peace of mind to your employees, since they will have some relief from medical expenses if they get hurt.

The downside is that coverage is not cheap. Some insurance companies may also be hesitant to sell a policy to general contractors. Let’s face it, construction is a dangerous industry with a substantial risk of injuries. Once you find an insurer willing to provide you with a policy, it will cost you.

Exemptions provide owners, officers, and LLC members with an alternative to costly workers’ compensation coverage. This is especially helpful for sole proprietors and single-member LLCs hoping to avoid that cost.

However, exemptions come with plenty of disadvantages. If an exempt individual is injured, they will have no benefits coming to them. Someone with 10 percent ownership is not likely to sue their own company, yet they wouldn’t have any other options. If an independent contractor is injured, they can sue the company or even the owner. There is no peace of mind provided for anyone involved.

Ask a Professional About Your Workers’ Compensation Options

General contractors in Florida need to have either coverage or exemptions in place. Contractors Reporting Services in Tampa, Florida, will help you decide which option is best for you. We will answer your questions and help you with all paperwork and requirements. Contact us today or leave a comment below this post with your questions or concerns.