Workers Compensation – what does it cover?
A cynical observer once said of insurance contracts that “the big print giveth, and the small print taketh away”. Sadly most of us don’t read either the big or the small print. We hope to never have to make a claim and that we are covered for everything if misfortune occurs. Take Workers’ Compensation as an example.
If you are employed, your employer must take out Workers’ Compensation insurance. Each state and territory has its own “Work Cover” arrangements but generally benefits are payable if:
- You suffer an injury at work.
- You contract a disease through your work.
- You are injured travelling to and from work.
Most claims are for injuries at work and are short-term. You would usually be paid an income whilst you are off work plus medical, hospital and rehabilitation expenses. If you are incapacitated so that you will never be able to work again due to a work-related injury or illness, you may be paid a lump-sum compensation benefit.
The Work Cover schemes provide a safety net if the unexpected happens at work. However, it is dangerous to rely on Work Cover as your only protection. For instance,
- If you are self-employed, you are not covered at all and may need income protection or sickness and accident insurance cover.
- Unless directly linked to your work, Work Cover does not pay out for illnesses such as stroke, heart attack and cancer.
- There are limits on the benefits payable. For instance, the income may be 100% of an award wage but a lesser percentage of any over-award payments like overtime and allowances. In addition, the income benefit is usually limited to two years.
You have a responsibility at work to follow safe work practices and not put yourself in danger. If you contribute to the accident or your illness, you may not receive the full benefits.
Never assume and find out when it’s too late. We can help you analyse your insurance needs and identify any gaps.