Agriculture is a staple in Iowa, as the state is the largest exporter of corn, feeds, fodder and processed grains in the U.S. If you run or plan on running a farm in Iowa, you have much opportunity to gain—but also much to lose in terms of an accident or lawsuit.
If a farmhand or other worker is injured on your farm, you could face thousands of dollars in medical bills and possible legal expenses without the right protection.
While it may come as a surprise, workers compensation isn’t always required in Iowa depending on your industry and the size of your business. Agriculture is one of these industries.
In Iowa, agricultural employees may be excluded from workers compensation requirements if the cash payroll is less than $2,500 a year. Workers compensation is also not required for certain positions within the agriculture business, although they can choose to be covered. These individuals include presidents, vice presidents, secretary or treasurer along with family members and spouses.
When Should You Have Workers Compensation on a Farm?
Even if you are not required to carry workers compensation, it is still a valuable asset. Without it, you could face employee injuries and lawsuits all out of pocket which can make a heavy financial hit on your business.
You should ideally purchase workers compensation before potential employees begin work. This way, you can be covered for an injury from the moment they step foot on your farm.
Employers should purchase workers compensation through insurance agencies after comparing quotes and shopping around to find the best coverage for the right price. Keep in mind that workers compensation policies often have limitations and exclusions. Accidents that occur while the employee is committing an illegal act will generally not be covered under workers compensation insurance.
What Does Workers Compensation Cover?
Workers compensation covers expenses related to medical bills, disability benefits, wage replacement and even death benefits. If an employee is injured at work by a piece of equipment or farm animal, they can file a claim with their employer’s workers compensation policy to receive compensation for their injuries as well as a portion of their wages if they are unable to work due to the injury.
Claims and compensation are paid differently depending on the accident and injury. Medical bills are generally paid as they arise while wage replacements occur at the same time as regular income would.