Canadian home care business insurance - what do you need?

Insurance for Canadian home care businesses

Let’s talk about INSURANCE FOR CANADIAN HOME CARE BUSINESSES!

One of the most common question I receive is about the required insurance when you are starting a new home care business in Canada.

So to try and answer that question in this article I'm going to give you a few things:

  1. A disclaimer (of course)
  2. My philosophy of insurance
  3. A bit of info on why insurance is hard to find (and why that's good for you)
  4. How much insurance should cost you
  5. Some places to go to get insurance
  6. Some types of insurance to consider
  7. One company I found that might help you if you're stuck

Disclaimer

First of course you get a disclaimer, I AM NOT AN INSURANCE AGENT.

Everything I write is merely my personal opinion and comes from my experience. So you are welcome to read my opinions but you definitely are responsible to do your own research!

Now that we have that out of the way, let me share what I know.

My philosophy when it comes to insurance

My personal philosophy is that it’s always best to plan for the worst, but hope for the best.

When it comes to insurance that means, get it, and get lots of it, and hope you never ever need to make a claim!

And remember that first and foremost your business is about trust

Running a home care agency is a trust business. Your clients trust you to provide them with quality services delivered by qualified, trained, and screened employees.

In turn, you hire employees who you trust to provide quality care that is in accordance with your training and standards. You are also trusting that the information provided by your employees is accurate and that they are law-abiding, ethical citizens.  

That trust is critical and it really works out 99.9% of the time!

THANKFULLY in my experience, bad things don’t happen very often. Almost all of the people I have worked with are good-hearted, caring people!

Almost all...

Insurance is the back up plan for that 0.01% when things don’t go as planned. Unfortunately, accidents can happen, and there are times when trust is broken.

Why is Home Care business insurance so hard to find?

Such a great question! Home care is a growing market, but it's very different from many other businesses since your employees are spread out at many locations and often there are no products and no brick and mortar space.

On top of that, for whatever reason, people (probably including you) think that home care is risky and needs gobs and gobs of complicated insurance to manage that risk.

SPOILER: that's not true!

Most insurance agents don't know anything about home care and they think the same thing you do, that home care insurance is complicated and risky.

That's why you won’t have much success calling your home and car insurance provider to get a quote on your home care business insurance. They just don’t do that. 

Another reason insurance companies don't like home care is because the premiums are very low

Some insurance agents have told me that the premiums are just too low to make it worthwhile for the insurance company.

Unfortunately it makes it harder to find insurance but as a business owner you have to remember that this is actually VERY GOOD NEWS for you.

Low premiums means that the insurance company sees your home care business as LOW RISK and their calculations indicate they don’t need to pay claims very often….therefore…you don’t have to pay as much for insurance as many other businesses! AWESOME!

How much does insurance for a small Canadian Home Care Business Cost

In my experience most business owners pay between $1500 and $4500 per year for insurance.  If your business is small you should be at the low end, and if your business is bigger (like > 100 employees) you're probably closer to the high end.

OK Alyssa, why don't you just tell me where you got your insurance and I'll just get mine there and stop reading

Unfortunately I can't do that because insurance is very geographically specific and so you need to find someone in your area to help you.  You need a real person from your own town so that if (God forbid) something does happen you know who to call!

Where to find insurance if you're just starting out

The most success I have had in finding good insurance companies is through a professional association.

If you are a Health Care Aide, Nurse, or a Personal Support Worker, you can call you provincial association to ask about who to use for your business insurance and they will just tell you! 

If you aren’t a member of those associations, you can still reach out to find out who they use.

That is exactly what I did and I've been with the same insurance company ever since

Another option would be to contact your provincial home care association. If you are looking to join an association anyway, you may even get member discounts!

What type of insurance do I need?

 Since I’m not an insurance broker, I can’t tell you that! 😊

I have learned that the type of coverage can vary quite a bit depending on what services you want to offer, where your business is located, and how much coverage you want.

If your company is providing nursing services on oil rigs in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean you're going to need more insurance than I have!  So talk to a professional.

Some types of insurance to choose from

Although you aren't going to be an expert (I'm sure not) you should at least be familiar with what you're buying.  Here are some typical coverages for a home care business 

Blanket Coverage on Contents of Every Description:

This is your basic coverage on building, contents, computers, sewer backup, fire damage etc.

Obviously more important if you actually have an office building but good to have none the less.

Multi-Item Crime Insurance

This one covers if something happens to some material possessions in a home or building.  It covers things like, employee dishonesty, loss inside the premises, counterfeits, and forgery.

Always nice to have peace of mind about that one.

[Funny story, once I had an employee accused of taking something that wasn't hers.  It was an employee I had known a long time and trusted 100%.  Long story short...after much searching, we found the missing item in the freezer.  Don't ask me why, I have no idea.  Welcome to home care! Moral of this story?  ALWAYS check the freezer!]

Commercial General Liability (Third Party Public Liability)

This is the big 'what-if' pot that covers anything REALLY bad that happens. 

Typically policies cover from $1,000,000 to $5,000,000 per occurrence for things like personal injury, physical damage to things, or operations liability.

This is your 'sleep well at night' number.  I like to get a little extra here JUST in case.

 One option you could consider

In my ongoing efforts to help all you entrepreneurs I went out to try and find at least one option to offer you.

There is a Canadian insurance brokerage called Holman Insurance Brokers Ltd. that you could try.

I reached out to have a conversation with Mark at Holman Insurance Brokers Ltd.  and he seems very familiar with insurance for home care businesses and willing to help new small business owners (like you) starting out!

They do offer insurance country wide so even if they're not in your town they can definitely be an option for you.

IN CONCLUSION….

  1. Find an insurance broker familiar with home care
  2. Buy insurance and be amazed that the premiums are so low (typically less than $2500/ year)
  3. Put your mind at ease
  4. Be confident when clients ask about your insurance coverage
  5. Focus on providing quality care and services to your clients!!

 

Your friend in health & GOOD insurance,

Alyssa

 

Purchase the Home Care 101 Complete Start Up Kit to put you on the fast track to starting your own home care agency!

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