Work Campers, are they a liability?

Written by Leah Bright—Insurance Agent

May 1, 2023 · Commercial Lines

Blog Work Campers, are they a liability?

What are Work Campers?

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At RV parks across the country, workcampers (or work campers) exchange their labor for the cost of an RV site. From clerical duties to light maintenance work, workcampers help RV parks and campgrounds across the U.S. with their daily chores. While this arrangement is beneficial for both the campground owner and the workcamper, there is a limitation as well: in most states these workers need workers compensation insurance.

Many park owners are unaware of the risks they are taking by employing workcampers without this important insurance. A park owner may feel that workcampers are independent contractors because they are 1099 employees, rather than W-2 employees. This doesn’t actually matter. What matters is whether the workcampers do this type of work for anyone else (like a contractor who has their own insurance, vehicle, and tools), and the issue of “control” where the employer tells them how and when to do their job.

It is critical that business owners correctly determine whether the individuals providing services are employees or independent contractors.

Am I an Employee or an Independent Contractor?

Whether someone is an employee or an independent contractor is determined by Federal law, regardless of how convenient it is for either of you. Likewise, having a worker sign a contract that states they are a contractor, and not an employee, does not make them a contractor.

Workers are more likely to be classified as independent contractors if they:

  • Make a significant investment in business property (a home computer is not significant)
  • Pay their own business expenses
  • Receive a flat fee that is not based on an hourly or similar rate
  • Are not prohibited from doing work for other companies
  • Can pay subcontractors to get the job done
  • Are not performing services as an integral part of your regular business
  • Have a contract with an enforceable liquidated damages provision
  • Can make a profit
  • Can suffer a loss

Workers are more likely to be classified as employees if they:

  • Are assigned hours to work and must report to the employer’s place of business
  • Are given specific instructions and on-going training on how to get the work done
  • Cannot work for others
  • Have expenses paid by your company
  • Are paid with a salary or hourly wage
  • Do not have a significant investment in their trade or business
  • Are an integral part of your regular business
  • Receive direct reimbursement for all, or almost all, expenses

What are the consequences for misclassifying campground workers?

Most parks with one to five employees can purchase workers compensation insurance for around $500 to $2,000 per year. Compare this to the cost if an employee is injured and you are left paying medical bills, or worse, if your state assesses a fee or penalty (could be as high as a $300,000 fine and three years in jail). While some injuries may not seem like a big deal cost-wise, others could add up and quickly exceed the cost of workers compensation insurance.


Workers compensation is a critical piece of every risk management plan. Protect your business and employees from work-related exposures. We provide comprehensive products and services to enhance your workers compensation risk management program, including:

  • • Evaluating your current workers compensation costs
  • • Identifying areas of loss and exposure to your business
  • • Implementing loss prevention services to help control premiums

Our objective is to keep your premium under control so you can capitalize on other aspects of your business.

No matter the size of your property or the ancillary services you provide, we are prepared to get to know you and your business and make sure you have the right coverage in place for your needs. We strive to know you and your worries. Leah Bright spends time listening and learning so she can help you find solutions and better serve you.

You’ve worked hard to build your RV park. The next step is to make sure to protect it. We’ll assess your risks and help you tailor a workers compensation insurance policy. We’d love to chat with you.


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