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IPS / Lighthouse Insurance Group Blog: work comp

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ContractorHave you ever wanted hire a contractor for a home project and didn't know how to go about it?  Hiring a stranger to work at your home can be scary and going to the phone book or online to look for a contractor may not be the way to go.  These few tips can help ease the tension and get the work done right.

Ask Friends or Family.  Ask people you know who have had work done in their home to recommend contractors that they have had good exprience with.  If they have had a good experience and are willing to recommend the contractor that worked for them, chances are that contractor will work well for you.  You may also want to think before hiring someone you are too familiar with as it could make for a difficult situation if a dispute were to arise.  You need to be comfortable enough with the contractor you choose that you can express expectations and disagreements openly.

Do some research. If you aren't able to obtain references you may want to start by looking on the web, but be careful. Once you find a contractor you may be interested in using, look at the Better Business Bureau, your state attorney general’s office, and Angie’s List. These websites will show you complaints, lawsuits, and customer feedback (sometimes for a small fee).  You shouldn't hire someone without checking that out.

Always get more than one bid for your work. Obtain more than one bid / quote for your project. Make certain that the work they're bidding on is identical so that you can do a proper price comparison. While price is a big concern, the quality of their should be even more important.  A lower price isn't lower if you are dissatisfied with the work or need to have something re-done in the future.  When getting bids, be sure to ask for referrals, pictures of previous jobs,  and make sure they provide a warranty. 

A good contractor will provide details. By example, if you are wanting to replace an exterior door, a quote could simply say “door replacement” with a dollar amount, or it could say door replacement, exterior trim, interior trim, insulation, and labor, each with its own price. The more details that are listed on a bid, the better you will know what you’re paying for - and, the clearer it should be for both parties on the scope of work to be done. Make sure the bid includes a time-frame as to when the work should be completed.

Certificate of insurance.  Always insist on receiving a certificate of insurance showing that the contractor has both liability and workers compensation insurance. Don't accept the fact that the contractor does not carry workers compensation insurance because all workers are subcontractors. If truly subcontractors, if one of their employees are injured while working at your home or business, you can be held responsible for the cost of the employee's medical and work loss expenses! 

Things to avoid. If you are asked to pay in cash, be skeptical. Cash payments can enable contractors to skirt around taxes, insurance and other things.  If the work requires a permit, make sure the permit is pulled in the contractor's name rather than yours.  The permit holder is the party that the community will generally hold responsible if something goes awry with the work or it doesn't meet code.

Nothing is foolproof, but doing a little homework before the project begins you can save on some of the stress that can occur with your home project. 

Click here for information or a quote on contractors' insurance.

InjuryThe State of Michigan has a new FORM 100 for filing workers' compensation claims that is intended to help streamline the claims process.  Already, many insurance companies are beginning to require this new form.  It can  be found directly on the State of Michigan's website at  The form is a PDF that can be completed online and then printed to submit to your insurance company.  Using this form will enable insurance companies and the State of Michigan to handle your claim more efficiently since it is now a standardized font and will allow them to use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to obtain data from the forms.

INSURANCE PLANNING SERVICE can assist with workers' compensation, liability, property and all other lines of insurance that your business may need.  Call us at 800-220-5582 or contact us at Contact Us the web today!

We are excited to announce that, effective November 1, 2012, in association with Grand River Insurance, we are able to offer a new Michigan Workers’ Compensation Insurance program to businesses throughout Michigan through the National Specialty Insurance Company!  The new program offers competitive pricing - especially for companies that already have favorable experience modifiers.

Plans include an expansion of commercial lines product offerings to Michigan businesses throughout 2013 that include property, liability, auto and umbrella liability.

The National Specialty Insurance Company is rated “A (Excellent)” by the AM Best Company.


Today, families are feeling the pressure of caring for young children and aging parents.  As a result, many are turning to others for help in their home.  If you hire household help, make sure to get the appropriate insurance coverage.Baby Sitter


Even if you only occasionally hire a baby sitter or a young person in the neighborhood to rake leaves, you can be liable for injuries they sustain while working for you.

  • Talk to your insurance professional to find out how much personal liability coverage is included with your homeowner’s or renter’s policy to determine if it is adequate.  In general, policies start with $100,000 of coverage
  • Consider increasing the amount of personal liability coverage in your policy.  A substantial increase can cost less than $20 per year.  Or, you may want to consider an umbrella liability policy.  This would provide broader coverage and a minimum of $1,000,000 of additional personal liability insurance.
  • Look at the amount of medical coverage included in your policy.  Medical coverage on a homeowner policy will cover medical bills stemming from injury to someone other than a resident of the home that occurs on your property.  The coverage amount often starts at $1,000, but it can be increased for a small additional premium.


If you hire someone to work at your home on an ongoing or regularly-scheduled basis, you should consider purchasing workers compensation insurance.  Workers compensation insurance will provide coverage for medical care and physical rehabilitation for an employee who is injured on the job, and for lost wages if he or she is unable to work because of that injury.Nanny

Michigan’s workers compensation insurance program has specific classifications for domestic workers including categories for “inside workers” (such as maids, butlers, nannies, aids, cooks, nurses, interior maintenance, etc.) and for “outside workers” (such as gardners, lawn care workers, exterior maintenance, etc.).  Each of these categories have one rate for full-time and another for occasional (part-time) which is less than 20 hours per week.


Don’t forget about auto insurance!  If the person working for you will drive your car, make sure that your insurance company knows about the additional driver.  If the person will be using his or her own car, obtain proof that they have proper and adequate insurance in effect.


If you contract with an outside firm to provide services at your home, always obtain a Certificate of Insurance before allowing their employees to work for you.  This includes any type of company that you hire to work in or around your home - including nannies, health care, lawn services, snow removal, tree trimmers, and home improvement. The certificate should come directly from the firm’s insurance agent or company and should have your name and address filled in as the certificate holder.  Be certain that it indicates that the firm carries commercial general liability, professional liability (if the firm is providing professional services), workers compensation and commercial auto liability insurance that includes owned, non-owned and hired vehicles.

We at Insurance Planning Service can help you determine what coverage can best protect you.  Call us today at 800-220-5582 or contact us via the web!

Do you own a business with employees?  If you have even one full-time employee or more than two part-time employees Michigan law requires that you have Michigan workers compensation insurance

Michigan work comp insurance pays for all medical and rehabilitative costs and lost wages that result from an employee’s work-related injury or illness.  The standard Michigan work comp policy also includes employer liability coverage – protection in the event an employer is sued as a result of an employee’s work-related injury or illness.  The cost of the insurance is definitely worth the price paid if an employee is injured on the job. 

An employer without workers compensation insurance can be liable for all expenses that an employee would be entitled to by Michigan law; and that can be hefty!  One accident could quickly put your business out of business.  And, if that isn’t enough, the law provides that employers can be fined up to $1,000 per day for failure to carry proper workers compensation insurance!

Call Insurance Planning Service today at 800-220-5582 for a quote on Michigan Work comp insurance.

By Richard D. Bernard, AAI, CIC

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Lighthouse Group Main Office in Grand Rapids, MI
Mailing Address | P.O. Box 530009, Livonia, MI 48153

Phone: 734.421.9900 | Toll Free: 800.220.5582 | Fax: 734.421.9911

Also serving these Detroit area communities in Michigan: Livonia, Farmington Hills, Ann Arbor, Southfield, Plymouth, Canton, Westland, Northville, Novi, Dearborn, South Lyon & Walled Lake