Insurance for a sitter staying with elderly person.

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Sep 14, 2010

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Insurance Question from Anderson, SC

Asked on 09/14/2010

Insurance for a sitter staying with elderly person. My mother is 88 yr old and needs a sitter to help her get around. I am not sure if homeowners insurance would pay claims if the sitter is injuried in the home. Should I hire a sitter as a contract person and pay her by check wkly or go thru an agency where I believe she would be covered with workman's comp? I realize injuries could result in thousands of dollars in medical costs that my mother could not afford. What what would be the safest way to hire to protect my mother? We live in SC.

Answer given on September 16, 2010

While each state has different laws for workers compensation for household employees, if there is a separate endorsement for “full time” employees, which is more than 20 hours per week (in California) there is protection even if there is no coverage listed for a full time employee. This means that an employee is covered, even if not declared on the homeowner policy.  You need to talk to your insurance agent to understand the requirements of your state.

Just because you hire an employee from an agency, it does not mean they are automatically covered by the agency.  Many agencies require the employer to provide the workers compensation insurance.  You need to clarify who is covering the employee before you proceed with the employment of the caregiver.  If they say they are covering the employee, get it in writing.

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