Solar contractors, just as other business owners, need workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. As a medical chart review company assisting workers’ compensation attorneys, we understand that solar contractors and their employees could experience injuries from falls, from lifting something heavy and from other types of accidents. Typically, these workers work on the roofs of buildings and on raised platforms, which increases the risk for work-related injuries. With a good workers’ compensation insurance program, solar contractors can provide coverage for workers who are hurt on the job and have to stay away from work.
All types of businesses – whether a one-person solar contractor with no employees or a larger business with many employees and solar projects – workers’ compensation coverage will keep the business safe. The workers’ compensation policy will cover the injured employee’s medical bills as well as the lost wages if the employee requires time off from work to recover. Employer’s liability, which is a component of workers’ compensation insurance, will protect the solar contractor’s business financially from claims of negligence or an unsafe work environment.
Most U.S. states require solar contractors to have workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. For example, the state of California’s Licensing Board will not grant a solar business a license to do business unless they provide proof of workers’ compensation coverage. Moreover, the general contractor or a homeowner that is hiring the solar business may require the business to have workers’ compensation insurance. There may be heavy fines and penalties to pay if a solar business is found to be working without this coverage.
When it comes to U.S states, some states may have minimum requirements, such as Alabama that does not require you to have workers’ compensation insurance if you have less than five employees. However, this does not mean that the employer is not responsible in case the worker suffers an injury. Almost always, employers are held liable for their workers. If an employee is hurt and you don’t have workers’ compensation coverage, you may have to pay for the expenses the employee incurs from your own pocket.
Apart from workers’ compensation insurance, solar contractors must ideally have the following types of insurance also.
General liability insurance: This insurance policy provides a broad, general protection for business owners. It protects you if a customer hurts herself when visiting your showroom, pays for damages that occur to a customer’s property if they are on your business premises, and also provides coverage for mishaps caused by natural disasters, advertising mistakes, and product malfunction.
Professional liability insurance: It protects your business from liability that could arise when you make mistakes. An example could be when an employee forgets to secure new solar panels to a client’s roof and the panels fly off during a storm. In such instances, professional liability insurance will cover the associated damages.
Business owners’ policy or BOP: This program allows you to add particular types of commercial insurance protection according to the design and needs of your business. This policy includes general liability while also providing a selection of property and asset protection options.
Commercial auto insurance: It protects the solar business owner from the losses and recovery expenses that arise from car accidents. It covers vehicles that you use for business purposes, even those not owned by your business.
Surety bond: This is a guarantee to your customers that your company will provide the work and services as specified in the contract drawn up.
All the above types of insurance are important for a solar business to ensure proper coverage in the event of a mishap or injury. Workers’ compensation attorneys, medical review companies that provide them with support services, and workers’ compensation insurers know that workers’ compensation insurance is not only helpful, but also mandatory by law. The consequences of not having this coverage may vary by state, but it is best to stay risk-free by obtaining workers’ compensation coverage. General liability coverage reduces the chance of losing your solar business in case of an accident, and is considered among the most important aspects of business insurance. Commercial liability insurance covers physical injury, property damage, personal injury and medical bills. Solar business owners must be confident about the adequacy of their insurance programs. This is because insurance policies are not one-size-fits-all, and solar business models are of different types. The insurance coverage that is applicable to a solar business that procures and sells solar systems may not suit a company that does only solar installations. Therefore, contractors must carefully review their policy to identify any problematic exclusions that may be important to their business model. This will help them avoid undertaking jobs that are not covered by the policy.