Navigating Insurance as a Support Worker in Australia: What You Need to Know

As a support worker in Australia, your role is invaluable. Whether you’re providing care for the elderly, people with disabilities, or individuals facing mental health challenges, your dedication to improving lives is commendable.

As a disability support worker or care worker, you take on a great deal of responsibility. You are often making decisions for and acting on behalf of the people you are caring for. Because of this, if something were to go wrong, you could be held liable.

The way you protect yourself against this is by purchasing insurance. There is some insurance that is necessary for all support workers and some that isn’t necessary, and understanding which is which can be overwhelming. Below we will delve into the essentials to ensure that you have the necessary and adequate level of protection against all risks.

Did you know?

Under the NDIS Terms of Business for Registered Providers (2017), participants are required to maintain an adequate level of insurance including Public Liability insurance and Professional Indemnity insurance.

When working for a company like Mable, or another similar support worker agency, insurance is usually provided for you. This is something you will need to check with your employer. However, if you work as an Independent support worker you don’t have anyone covering you so you will need to purchase your own insurance. 

what insurance do you need as a support worker in australia

Understanding Necessary Insurance Coverage

  1. Public Liability Insurance: This is arguably the most crucial insurance for support workers. It protects you against claims of personal injury or property damage that may occur while you’re performing your duties.

    Consider this real life example:
    Amidst a bustling day brimming with pressure and responsibility, you find yourself without the usual support of a family member. In a moment of distraction, you inadvertently administer the wrong dosage of medication to the individual under your care. Consequently, they require immediate medical attention. Such a mistake could lead to allegations of negligence, malpractice, or even professional misconduct. Thankfully, Professional Indemnity insurance provides a shield against such claims of professional impropriety.

    Companies like Allianz and CGU offer comprehensive public liability policies tailored for support workers.

  2. Professional Indemnity Insurance: This insurance is particularly important if you provide advice or professional services as a support worker. It covers you against claims of professional negligence or malpractice. While not mandatory for all support workers, it’s highly recommended, especially if you’re offering counseling, therapy, or medical advice.

    Consider this real life example:
    you inadvertently position a wheelchair or crutches in a manner that causes someone to stumble and sustain an injury. In such instances, you may be held accountable for compensation and medical expenses. Fortunately, Public Liability insurance steps in to cover your legal and defense expenses, court appearances, the injured party’s medical bills, and any ensuing compensation.

    Providers such as AAMI and NRMA
    offer professional indemnity policies suited for various professions, including support work.

  3. Workers’ Compensation Insurance: If you employ staff or work as part of an agency, you’re legally required to have workers’ compensation insurance. This covers medical expenses and lost wages for employees who are injured or become ill due to their work. Your employer or agency should provide this coverage, but it’s essential to ensure it’s in place.

Optional Insurance Coverage

  1. Personal Accident Insurance: While not mandatory, personal accident insurance provides additional protection for support workers in case of accidental injury or death. It offers financial support for medical expenses, rehabilitation, and lost income resulting from an accident at work. Consider providers like QBE for personalized accident insurance policies.

  2. Income Protection Insurance: This insurance provides a regular income if you’re unable to work due to injury or illness. While not specific to support workers, it can be beneficial for ensuring financial stability during periods of inability to work. Companies like Zurich and TAL offer income protection policies with various coverage options.

What You Don't Need

  1. Travel Insurance: Unless your job involves significant travel, standard travel insurance is usually unnecessary. However, if you frequently travel for work, it’s worth considering travel insurance with additional coverage for work-related activities.

  2. Pet Insurance: Unless you’re providing support that involves caring for pets, pet insurance is irrelevant to your work as a support worker.

[Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Always consult with an insurance expert or financial advisor to determine the most suitable insurance coverage for your specific situation.]

If your a support worker and your're looking for a wheelchair accessible vehicle to take your client out, give us a call on 1800 133 320

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