What you must know about Workers’ Compensation Insurance for HVAC Technicians

HVAC worker fixing ac unit
By: 
Mordechai Kamenetsky
April 26, 2024
Last Updated: 
July 17, 2023
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Workers’ compensation insurance for HVAC contractors protects both workers and employers in the case of an injury or work-related illness. This type of coverage pays for a portion of lost wages, covers medical expenses, and even offers death benefits for an employee’s survivors. And, while the rules and regulations governing HVAC insurance vary from state to state, the coverage acts in much the same way across the country.

HVAC Risks: Understanding the hazards HVAC Technicians face

HVAC technicians regularly face significant risks to their health, safety, and even their life. These are simply part of the job, but HVAC company workers’ compensation helps mitigate the potential ramifications of these risks. Some of the most common threats HVAC contractors face include the following:

Lifting

Lifting – HVAC contractors regularly lift heavy loads, including system components.

Electrical Hazards

Electrical Hazards – Technicians are exposed to shock and electrocution hazards regularly.

Chemicals

Chemicals – Chemical exposure can lead to a range of health problems, including the respiratory system, eyes, skin, and more.

Handling substances like freon requires strict adherence to safety protocols, including proper storage, handling by qualified personnel, and risk management procedures to mitigate potential dangers.

Heights

Heights – HVAC contractors regularly work at heights, such as on rooftops. Safety during these tasks is crucial, particularly when accessing roof areas to install or service units. 
Best practices recommend accessing roofs from the interior of buildings whenever possible to enhance safety.

Ladders and Scaffolding

Ladders and Scaffolding – Whether installing equipment or ductwork, HVAC technicians must navigate ladders and scaffolding.

Weather

Weather – Much of an HVAC technician’s job takes place outdoors, putting them at risk from extreme weather.

Dangerous Driving

Dangerous Driving – Technicians must drive to and from job sites daily, which puts them at risk of an accident on the road.

What does Workers’ Comp Insurance for HVAC Technicians cover?

The primary purpose of HVAC workers’ comp insurance is to cover lost wages and medical expenses. 

For instance, suppose a technician is injured in a fall from a ladder. They go to the emergency room, where their arm is placed in a cast after a series of X-rays. They will also require time off work to heal and while they can return to light duties after a week, it will be six weeks before they can resume their regular responsibilities. 

HVAC company workers’ compensation insurance would cover the costs of the employee’s medical care, as well as a portion of their lost wages during recovery. Let’s break this coverage down into its constituent parts.

Medical Costs

Medical Costs – Medical costs can be short or long-term. In the example above, the employee might be out of work for a total of six weeks, which is not that long. However, suppose the employee fell from a significant height and required several surgeries, as well as months of recovery. That type of situation could result in lifelong complications. In both situations, workers’ comp insurance for HVAC professionals would ensure that the employee received the care required.

Lost Wages

Lost Wages – If an employee is injured in a job-related accident and unable to work, they cannot earn wages to pay their bills. Workers’ comp insurance for HVAC technicians covers a percentage of the wages they would have earned, usually around two-thirds of their average pay. The actual percentage varies from state to state, as does the amount of missed work required before the insurance begins paying lost wages. 

Death Benefits

Death Benefits – HVAC insurance also provides benefits for an employee’s surviving dependents and spouse, as well as coverage of funeral costs if the employee dies because of a workplace accident. The amount of money and duration of payments varies from state to state, as does the amount of money for funeral expenses. 

The three areas above are just the basic types of coverage offered by HVAC contractor insurance. Business owners must protect their employees and businesses with this type of coverage and in most states, it’s a legal requirement. 

Requirements of Workers’ Comp Insurance for HVAC Technicians

There is no single workers’ comp insurance rule that applies equally in all states. Each state sets its own rules and regulations, but most do not exempt HVAC workers. Additionally, this is just one type of insurance an HVAC business or contractor must carry. Others include professional liability insurance and general liability insurance.

Failing to carry HVAC insurance coverage puts businesses in danger of serious financial and legal ramifications, including the following:

No Work

No Work – Some states will issue what’s called a stop work order when they learn that a business lacks mandated workers’ comp insurance. This means that the company cannot do business until the situation is rectified.

Fines

Fines – All states that require workers’ compensation insurance also levy fines against businesses that do not comply. In some states, the amount you’re fined can climb to $10,000 or even $50,000 very quickly. 

Civil Penalties

Civil Penalties – Failing to provide required workers’ compensation insurance puts businesses at risk of civil suits and penalties, including financial judgments.

Criminal Penalties

Criminal Penalties – Most states will charge businesses with a crime for not providing workers’ comp coverage within a specific timeframe. Depending on the date and the situation, this could be a misdemeanor, or it could be a felony.

As you can see, the repercussions of not carrying coverage are much greater than what you’ll pay in premiums.

How much does HVAC Insurance cost?

HVAC Workers’ Comp Estimated Premium

The average HVAC workers’ comp premium is $133 per month. This estimate is based on a $50,000 payroll and does not include taxes and fees.

To receive an exact premium for your HVAC workers' comp insurance, we encourage you to fill out our instant quote form. This will provide you with a tailored estimate that considers your specific business needs and details.

Many factors go into determining the cost of workers’ comp insurance for HVAC technicians. Your company’s expected payroll, the number of claims you’ve had in the past, and more, all play a role. However, class codes, also known as comp codes, play the greatest role. These are set by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) and are the same for all states. 

HVAC Workers’ Comp Class Code 

Class codes tell how much risk is associated with a specific employment position. For instance, a salesperson who works at a desk has a much lower level of risk than one that works in the field. Several class codes can apply to HVAC technicians, depending on the nature of the business. These include:

  • 5537 – This class code will apply to most HVAC technicians who work in the field installing, servicing, and repairing forced air heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and combination systems. 
  • 5536 – This class code applies to HVAC technicians who fabricate, erect, install, and/or repair ductwork, including air conditioning and blower unit installation. Note that this code does NOT cover repair or servicing those units after installation, which falls under Code 3737.
  • 3724 – This class code is used specifically for technicians installing and repairing refrigeration systems that are not connected to the building’s HVAC system.

It’s also important to understand that your state may use a different class code than what the NCCI recommends. This can complicate matters and is one of many reasons it’s important to work with a trusted partner to help you find the right workers’ comp insurance coverage.

How to reduce the costs of Workers’ Comp Insurance for HVAC Technicians

While there is no way to avoid paying for workers’ comp coverage, there are many things you can do that will reduce your costs. 

Class Codes

Class Codes – Coming back to class codes once more, it’s important to ensure that yours are accurate. Because each code comes with a specific level of risk, incorrect codes could drive your premiums up. That’s one of the primary causes of high workers’ compensation costs. 

Safety Training

Safety Training – Make sure your HVAC technicians complete safety training. This should include a written safety program, as well as physical training in how to use safety equipment and wear personal protective gear, such as hard hats.

Form a Safety Committee

Form a Safety Committee – Creating an employee-led safety committee is another important step. This committee should be responsible for identifying safety hazards and implementing solutions, including workplace practices, adopting new safety-related systems and equipment, and more.

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Finding the right Workers’ Comp Insurance Policy

Finding an affordable workers’ comp policy that fits your business’s needs and budget while protecting your employees is more than a little challenging. That’s complicated by the fact that not all insurance companies offer workers’ compensation coverage, while others might not insure HVAC technicians simply due to the risks that workers face.

If you’re unsure where to turn to get workers’ comp insurance for HVAC technicians, Kickstand Insurance is here to help. We work with HVAC companies across the United States to help them find the right coverage for their unique needs. It all begins with our brief online form – it takes just a few minutes to complete, and then we’ll connect you with one of our expert representatives who will help find the right coverage while saving as much money as possible. 

You cannot go without workers’ compensation insurance. The penalties are simply too steep, and your employees deserve protection and peace of mind.

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Note: The information provided in this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional legal or insurance advice. Laws and regulations regarding workers' compensation insurance are complex and vary by state and by specific circumstances. Therefore, readers are encouraged to consult with a qualified legal or insurance professional to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem they might have.

Mordechai Kamenetsky

Mordechai Kamenetsky, co-founder and lead agent of Kickstand, is recognized as an expert in workers' compensation. He is passionate about helping small businesses manage risks and lower their workers' comp costs. In his articles, he educates readers and clients on the intricacies of workers' comp insurance.

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