Workers’ Compensation Insurance
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How much does workers’ compensation insurance cost?

Every state has its own rules when it comes to workers’ compensation insurance, so the cost of a policy will depend on where your employees are located. Companies with more employees and greater risks pay higher rates for workers' compensation coverage, because they’re more likely to face workplace injuries.

The cost of workers’ compensation depends on:

  • The state(s) where your employees work
  • Your annual total payroll
  • Your industry
  • The type of work done by your employees
  • Your claims history

Physically demanding work usually results in higher premium rates – so does a history of workplace accidents. The state where your employees work can also have a big impact on the workers’ compensation premium you’ll pay.

Workers' comp rates are unique because they tend to decrease over time, as overall workplace safety continues to improve.

What is the average cost of workers' comp insurance for small businesses?

Insureon customers pay a median premium of $45 per month, or $540 annually, for workers’ comp insurance. Insureon typically lists median (midpoint) costs, as averages include extremes like high-risk construction businesses that pay much more in workers’ compensation premium.

The average cost of a workers’ comp claim is $40,000, according to the National Safety Council. By comparison, paying for a workers’ compensation policy is probably a much better deal for your business. That’s why small business owners may purchase it even when it’s not required by law.

30% of Insureon's small business customers pay less than $400 per year for workers' compensation insurance and 39% pay between $400 and $800 per year.

Annual cost of workers’ compensation for Insureon small business customers.

High-risk businesses pay more for workers' comp

About 20% of worker fatalities in private industry occur in construction. The strong chance of an on-the-job accident means construction companies will pay higher premiums. Likewise, businesses in an industry like finance and accounting will have low premiums, because there’s minimal risk of a work-related injury.

Median workers’ comp premium for Insureon customers by industry.

Bigger businesses pay more for workers' compensation

Businesses with more employees pay more in workers’ comp premium. As you grow, the odds that one of your employees could be injured at work go up, and so do your workers’ compensation rates.

Median workers’ comp premium by number of employees.

How are workers’ comp premiums calculated?

The amount you pay for workers’ compensation is a specific rate for every $100 of your company’s payroll. Your premium is calculated based on the type of work done by your employees (classification rate), your experience modifier (claims history), and your payroll (per $100).

Employer costs for workers’ compensation per $100 of covered payroll range from a low of $0.55 in Texas to $2.25 in Alaska. However, these numbers are deceptively simple. They include all types of jobs, which means they don't reflect the different workers’ comp costs for low-risk versus high-risk work.

The formula is:
Classification rate x Experience modification factor x (Payroll / 100) = Premium

Many states set their workers’ comp rates based on guidance from the National Council on Compensation Insurance, an insurance rating and data collection bureau that specializes in workers’ comp. NCCI analyzes trends and makes recommendations based on data from millions of claims and policies. It also has information on how workers' compensation insurance premiums are calculated in many states.

The NCCI also has a searchable database of workers’ comp class codes online. Insurance companies use these classification codes to determine the level of risk for different job classifications, estimate workers' compensation rates, and set premiums.

How do you buy workers’ compensation insurance?

In most states, you can purchase workers’ compensation insurance coverage from a private insurer. With Insureon, you can compare workers’ compensation quotes from top U.S. carriers. Select your industry and profession in the dropdown below, fill out our easy online application, and we’ll send you quotes that fit your business.

Some states also run their own insurance funds that sell workers' compensation insurance. In four states – North Dakota, Ohio, Washington, and Wyoming – businesses are required to buy their workers' comp policy from the state fund, also called a monopolistic state fund.

How can you save on a workers’ comp premium?

You can’t change your industry or the type of work your employees do to make coverage more affordable. There are, however, a couple of steps you can take to keep your workers’ compensation insurance costs down.

Improve workplace safety

You can create a safer work environment and reduce the risk of work-related injuries by:

  • Conduct employee training: Train new employees on how to safely do their jobs, from proper lifting techniques to handling hazardous materials.
  • Outfit your employees with the right gear: Equip employees with safety equipment and properly maintain tools to help minimize risks.
  • Identify any potential hazards: Use signs and labels to alert workers to potential safety issues, such as dangerous chemicals or slip-and-fall accidents.
  • Create a clutter-free workplace: Hallways, work areas, and exit routes should be free of clutter and debris like power cords or boxes to avoid tripping hazards.

Pay your premium annually

When you purchase a workers’ comp policy, you have the option of paying premium annually or monthly. Consider paying your premium in annual installments, as many insurers offer discounts to businesses that elect to pay premiums annually.

Learn more about business insurance costs

Updated: June 28, 2022
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