Homeowner’s and Renter’s Insurance Riders for Medical Transcriptionists
For many medical transcriptionists who work as independent contractors, a basic homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy is sufficient, but you should read your policy to be sure. You may want to add an in-home business rider to it. A rider is extra coverage for specific purpose that’s added on top of a standard policy. You may want one because:
Your office equipment and furniture may not be insured as well as you think it is. Don’t assume your office computer, multifunction printer/fax/copy machine, high-end ergonomic chair, and the like are covered. Most residential insurance policies place a cap on coverage for office equipment and furniture. While you’re at it, determine whether the policy provides replacement value or current value — you want replacement value.
A basic homeowner’s policy doesn’t cover business-related liability. It may protect you if your neighbor trips on your stairs and develops a chronic back injury, but if a business client or vendor does the same, you’ll likely be on your own. If clients never come to your home, you’re probably in the clear on this one.
If you think you may need more coverage than your existing policy provides, call your insurance company and see what it has on offer. You may find you can gain substantial protection with just a little more money. Plus, the added cost is potentially tax deductible.
Insurance companies spend a lot of time figuring out what may happen to you and your stuff and how to sell you protection against it. You don’t need to run out and buy every policy that includes the word business.
For example, you may want disability insurance or business interruption coverage — or you may not. Talk to an insurance agent (or three). You don’t have to do what they suggest, but it’s wise to know what your options are.
The business hiring you doesn’t get to designate you as an independent contractor for tax purposes but treat you like an employee. The IRS has very specific rules defining the difference between the two. If you’re an IC, you’re working for yourself and you aren’t entitled to company-provided or government-mandated benefits, including unemployment and worker’s compensation benefits.
Some hiring firms may classify you as an IC, thus handing extra taxes and paperwork to you, yet still try to control you as if you’re an employee. Whether they’re doing it through ignorance or because they’re trying to be sneaky, they don’t get to have it both ways!
When in doubt, send them to the IRS website to bone up on the difference. If they don’t see the light, consider filing IRS Form SS-8: Determination of Worker Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding, and the IRS will decide.