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Are Domestic Workers Covered by Homeowners Insurance in California?

When it comes to domestic workers, homeowners often find themselves asking: does homeowners insurance cover workers’ compensation in California? Understanding the nuances of this coverage is crucial given the potential liabilities involved.

Quick answer:
Yes, homeowners insurance can cover workers’ compensation for domestic workers in California, but the coverage is limited and not comprehensive. Specifically:
1. Part-time workers: May be covered for medical expenses if they don’t work more than 40 hours a week.
2. Full-time workers: Generally not covered and require separate workers’ compensation insurance.

Domestic workers such as nannies, housekeepers, and caregivers perform critical tasks in households, but accidents can and do happen. California law mandates that full-time household employees must be covered by workers’ compensation insurance provided by their employers. While some homeowners insurance policies may offer minimal coverage, relying solely on this can leave significant gaps. These gaps can potentially expose homeowners to large liabilities if a domestic worker is injured or becomes ill while on the job.

infographic describing the coverage of workers' compensation in homeowners insurance in California - does homeowners insurance cover workers' compensation in california infographic pillar-4-steps

I’m Chris Lyle, an expert in workers’ compensation law and co-founder of CompFox. With experience in both workers’ compensation and legal technology, I’m here to help you navigate these complex insurance issues.

Continue reading to understand the different types of coverage, limitations, and how you can protect your domestic workers—and yourself—properly under California law.

Understanding Homeowners Insurance Coverage

What Homeowners Insurance Typically Covers

Homeowners insurance is designed to protect your home and personal property. Here’s a quick rundown of what it usually covers:

  • Property Damage: This includes damage to your home’s structure due to fire, theft, vandalism, or weather events like lightning, wind, or hail. It also covers external forces like falling tree branches.

  • Personal Belongings: Items inside your home like furniture, clothing, and appliances are covered. If you have high-value items, such as jewelry or artwork, you may need additional coverage.

  • Liability Claims: If someone gets hurt on your property, homeowners insurance can cover medical expenses and legal fees if you’re sued.

  • Medical Expenses: This can cover minor injuries to guests, like a slip and fall, but is limited to non-residents and non-employees.

  • Policy Limits: Your policy will have limits on how much it will pay out. For example, if your home is damaged in a fire, the insurance will cover repairs up to a certain amount.

Limitations of Homeowners Insurance for Domestic Workers

While homeowners insurance offers some protection, it has significant gaps when it comes to domestic workers. Here are the main limitations:

  • Coverage Gaps: Homeowners insurance often falls short in covering injuries or illnesses that domestic workers may experience while on the job. For instance, it might cover minor medical expenses but not long-term disability or significant medical bills.

  • Part-Time Workers: Some policies cover part-time workers, but the coverage is minimal. For example, a housecleaner working less than 40 hours per week might be covered for basic medical expenses, but this is not guaranteed.

  • Full-Time Workers: If you have a full-time domestic worker, like a nanny or a caregiver, homeowners insurance usually doesn’t provide adequate coverage. California law requires you to have workers’ compensation insurance for full-time employees.

  • State Regulations: In California, homeowners are legally required to provide workers’ compensation insurance for full-time domestic workers. If you don’t, you could face penalties and be personally liable for any injuries.

Example: A homeowner in California hired a full-time nanny who got injured while lifting a child. The homeowner relied solely on their homeowners insurance, which did not cover the medical expenses. The homeowner ended up paying thousands in medical bills and faced legal action.

To sum up, while homeowners insurance does provide some level of protection, it’s not enough for domestic workers. You need to understand these limitations and take additional steps to ensure both you and your workers are adequately covered.

Continue reading to learn more about whether homeowners insurance covers workers’ compensation in California and what you can do to fill these gaps.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Workers’ Compensation in California?

Incidental Workers’ Compensation Coverage

In California, homeowners insurance can provide some incidental workers’ compensation coverage for domestic workers, but it comes with specific conditions. This coverage is generally limited and may not be sufficient for all situations.

For part-time employees, such as a housecleaner who works less than 20 hours per week, homeowners insurance policies often include incidental workers’ compensation coverage. However, there are criteria that must be met:

  • The worker must have worked at least 52 hours within a 13-week period.
  • The worker must have been paid at least $100 in the 90 days preceding any injury.

If these conditions are met, the policy may cover medical expenses up to a certain limit, usually around $100,000. However, this coverage is for incidental or part-time workers only.

Full-Time Domestic Workers and Additional Coverage

For full-time domestic workers, such as a nanny or a live-in caretaker, the situation is different. California law requires that employers provide workers’ compensation insurance for full-time employees.

A full-time domestic worker is defined as someone who:

  • Works 20 hours or more per week.
  • Is expected to work more than 10 days in a 90-day period.

Homeowners insurance policies typically do not cover full-time domestic workers automatically. You would need to add a workers’ compensation endorsement to your policy. This endorsement comes with additional premiums, which are calculated based on the number of full-time employees and the hours they work.

For instance, a homeowner in California faced a lawsuit after their full-time gardener was injured on the job. The homeowner did not have a workers’ compensation endorsement on their policy, resulting in substantial out-of-pocket expenses and legal fees.

To avoid such situations, it’s crucial to check with your insurance provider about adding a workers’ compensation endorsement to your homeowners policy if you employ full-time domestic workers. This ensures compliance with state law and provides broader protection, including medical expenses, disability payments, and legal defense costs.

home insurance - does homeowners insurance cover workers' compensation in california

In summary, while homeowners insurance can offer some incidental coverage for part-time domestic workers, it’s not enough for full-time employees. Adding a workers’ compensation endorsement is essential for full compliance and comprehensive protection.

How to Add Workers’ Compensation to Your Homeowners Policy

Adding workers’ compensation coverage to your homeowners policy in California is a straightforward process. Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Contact Your Insurance Provider: Start by reaching out to your current homeowners insurance provider. Ask if they offer a workers’ compensation endorsement for domestic workers.

  2. Review Your Policy: Go through your existing homeowners policy to understand its current coverage and identify any gaps. Pay special attention to the sections on liability and medical payments.

  3. Request a Policy Adjustment: Inform your insurer that you need to add a workers’ compensation endorsement. This is especially important if you employ full-time domestic workers who work 20 hours or more per week.

  4. Premium Calculation: Your insurer will calculate the additional premium based on the number of full-time domestic workers you employ and the hours they work. For instance, the premium for a full-time maid or gardener will be different from that for a part-time babysitter.

  5. Complete the Endorsement Process: Once you agree to the terms and premium, your insurer will add the workers’ compensation endorsement to your policy. Make sure to get a copy of the updated policy for your records.

Benefits of Adding Workers’ Compensation Coverage

Adding a workers’ compensation endorsement to your homeowners policy offers several key benefits:

Broader Protection: Workers’ compensation provides more comprehensive coverage than standard homeowners insurance. It covers medical expenses, disability payments, and even legal defense costs if a domestic worker sues you.

Legal Compliance: California law requires homeowners to provide workers’ compensation benefits for full-time domestic workers. Adding this endorsement ensures you comply with state regulations, avoiding penalties and legal issues.

Financial Security: In the event of an injury, workers’ compensation can cover costly medical bills and lost wages. This prevents you from facing significant out-of-pocket expenses and potential lawsuits.

By following these steps and understanding the benefits, you can ensure that your domestic workers are adequately covered, and you are protected from financial and legal risks.

Frequently Asked Questions about Homeowners Insurance and Workers’ Compensation in California

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Injured Workers in California?

Yes, but with limitations. Homeowners insurance in California may cover medical expenses for part-time domestic workers who don’t qualify under state workers’ compensation regulations. For instance, some policies cover workers who work less than 40 hours a week. However, this coverage is minimal and often capped at specific limits, such as $100,000.

home insurance policy - does homeowners insurance cover workers' compensation in california

Homeowners insurance typically includes liability coverage and medical payments for injuries occurring on your property. But, if the worker qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits, the homeowners policy may exclude coverage due to state laws.

Can a Homeowner Buy Workers’ Compensation Insurance in California?

Absolutely. Homeowners can endorse workers’ compensation coverage to their existing homeowners policy. This is especially important for full-time domestic workers, such as nannies or live-in caregivers, who work more than 20 hours per week.

To add this endorsement:
1. Contact your insurance provider: Discuss your needs and confirm if your current policy can be adjusted.
2. Review your policy: Ensure you understand the terms, conditions, and additional premiums.
3. Calculate the premium: The cost will depend on the number of full-time employees and hours worked.

Adding workers’ compensation provides broader protection, including disability payments and possibly unlimited medical expenses, which are not covered under standard homeowners policies.

Who is Exempt from Workers’ Compensation in California?

Certain workers are exempt from workers’ compensation requirements in California. These include:

  • Independent contractors: Those who are not classified as employees. For instance, a housecleaner working once a week is considered an independent contractor.
  • Part-time workers: Employees working less than 20 hours per week or not meeting the threshold of 52 hours within a 13-week period.
  • Casual labor: Workers who perform irregular or non-recurring tasks.

Understanding these exemptions is crucial. If you misclassify a worker, you could face penalties from the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DSLE), including fines of $1,500 per employee.

By knowing these details, homeowners can ensure they comply with California laws and adequately protect their domestic workers. Next, we’ll summarize the key points and explain the importance of proper coverage.


In summary, while homeowners insurance offers some protection for domestic workers, it is often limited and may not meet California’s stringent requirements for workers’ compensation. Homeowners insurance policies typically cover medical expenses for part-time workers, but full-time employees require additional coverage. This is crucial to avoid legal pitfalls and financial risks.

Why is proper coverage important?

First, legal compliance is essential. California law mandates that employers provide workers’ compensation insurance for full-time household employees, such as nannies or senior caregivers. Failing to do so can result in hefty fines and legal action.

Second, financial protection is a major consideration. Workers’ compensation insurance covers medical expenses, lost wages, and even disability benefits if a worker is injured on the job. Without it, homeowners could face lawsuits and significant out-of-pocket costs.

At CompFox, we understand the complexities of workers’ compensation and homeowners insurance. We offer resources and services to help you navigate these requirements seamlessly. For more detailed information, visit our California Workers’ Compensation Research page.

Ensuring you have the right coverage protects not only your domestic workers but also your financial well-being. Don’t wait until it’s too late—review your insurance policies today and make any necessary adjustments to stay compliant and secure.


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