There's no one-size-fits-all solution for modern childcare. But increasingly, many parents find it's not realistic to be home 24/7 with their kids. As a result, families turn to a variety of creative solutions to keep their children safe and sound. One option is to hire in-home care. This solution is often preferable because it allows the children to stay in a familiar environment.
On paper, it looks simple: You vet potential nannies and babysitters until you find an ideal candidate within your budget. But the actual logistics of hiring a childcare professional are a little more complicated. For example, you may need to compare homeowners insurance quotes to find a policy that can handle added liability.
As the Insurance Information Institute points out, hiring workers—even on an occasional basis—often necessitates ramping up liability coverage. This is a good time to consider whether your current policy still meets your needs, or whether you should upgrade. Some homeowners choose to tack on an umbrella to their existing policy.
You'll also want to examine the amount of no-fault medical coverage your homeowners insurance policy contains. This crucial protection allows you to submit the medical bills of non-family members injured on your premises to your carrier. This win-win solution helps head off possibly lengthy and expensive legal struggles in the wake of an accident. Typical policies carry around $1,000 of no-fault medical coverage, but you may want to double or quadruple that before hiring.
Let's say you and your partner both work full-time jobs. This means you'll need an in-house nanny full-time nanny to watch the kiddos after school and during holiday and summer breaks. You'll also need this childcare professional to be there throughout the day if your children aren't of school-age yet. You may even ask this employee to drive your children to various events, like sports practices and music lessons. In this situation, the person you hire is more than an occasional helper; they're an employee.
Families should reduce their risk here by paying full-time professionals as employees and covering them with workers' compensation insurance. Attempting to "save money" by discounting a childcare professional's employee status can actually cost you big time. Why? Because without protections like workers' compensation, they could sue you for any injuries they sustain on the job. This includes medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation, and more. In cases like these, your homeowners insurance will exclude injuries that fall under the jurisdiction of workers' compensation.
Parents can also save themselves legal trouble by creating a contract for both parties to sign upon hiring. That way, there are no misunderstandings between you and your in-home childcare professional down the line.
When you're hiring a nanny or babysitter, make sure you cover yourself against liability. The exact route you take depends on a few factors, including their classification (i.e. employee vs. occasional independent contractor). But one thing is clear: Now is the time to check on your homeowners insurance policy to ensure its adequacy. You may need to beef up your coverage before allowing any workers onto your property. For full-time hires, add workers' compensation coverage.
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