Workers’ Compensation in New Hampshire
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New Hampshire workers' compensation insurance

The State of New Hampshire requires every employer to provide workers’ compensation insurance to their employees. This policy covers the cost of medical treatment for work-related injuries.

Who needs workers’ comp in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire imposes stringent workers’ compensation insurance rules on employers operating in the state. Unless otherwise excluded, employers are required to provide insurance for all their full-time or part-time employees, including family members.

Who in New Hampshire is not required to have workers’ comp insurance?

New Hampshire strives to maintain near-universal workers’ comp coverage. This means that every employer in the state must provide workers’ comp insurance, except for:

  • Sole proprietorships
  • Limited liability companies (LLCs)
  • Corporations with no more than three corporate officers and no employees other than those officers

A limited number of employee types are exempt from coverage, including:

  • Railroad employees involved in interstate commerce whose rights are defined under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act
  • Direct sellers
  • Qualified real estate brokers, agents, or appraisers
  • Individuals who provide services related to the residential placement of disabled people

Do business owners need to be included in workers' compensation?

It depends on the type of business you have.

Sole proprietors, partners, and self-employed individuals are exempt from buying workers’ comp insurance for themselves. However, they may purchase it if desired. Given the high cost of medical expenses, that can be a smart business decision, especially for high-risk professions.

Sole proprietors who operate as subcontractors under a general contractor, but who have no employees, may need to buy insurance if required to do so by their general contractor.

Officers of a corporation or members of an LLC are exempt as long as their business entity has three or fewer executives or members. However, once a fourth executive or LLC member joins the business, workers’ compensation insurance is required.

Entities with employees, regardless of the number of executives or members, must have workers’ compensation coverage for those employees.

Are independent contractors required to have workers’ comp coverage?

No, as long as they can prove they are independent contractors. This involves meeting the criteria defined in the New Hampshire workers’ compensation statute (RSA 281-A:2 VI).

How much does workers' compensation insurance cost in New Hampshire?

A small business owner calculating their workers' comp insurance payments

The average cost of workers’ compensation in New Hampshire is $35 per month.

Your workers' comp premium is calculated based on a few factors, including:

  • Payroll
  • Location
  • Number of employees
  • Industry and risk factors
  • Coverage limits
  • Claims history

How can business owners save money on workers' compensation?

To save money on workers' comp insurance, it's important to make sure you classify your employees correctly. Employees with desk jobs or other jobs with a low risk of injury cost less to insure. This also helps you avoid misclassification fines.

In some cases, small business owners can choose to buy pay-as-you-go workers' compensation. This type of workers' comp policy has a low upfront premium, and lets you make payments based on your actual payroll instead of estimated payroll. It's useful for businesses that hire seasonal help or have fluctuating numbers of employees.

Finally, a documented safety program can help lower workers' comp costs. A safer workplace means fewer accidents, which helps keep your premium low.

How does workers’ comp work in New Hampshire?

When an employee suffers a workplace injury or develops an occupational disease, workers' compensation insurance provides reimbursement for medical bills, from emergency care to medication and physical rehabilitation. It also provides weekly disability payments while the employee recovers.

Workers' compensation benefits for injured workers in New Hampshire include:

  • Medical benefits (all medical care related to the injury)
  • Temporary total disability benefits
  • Permanent total disability benefits
  • Temporary partial disability benefits
  • Permanent partial disability benefits
  • Permanent impairment award
  • Death benefits
  • Vocational rehabilitation

Policies usually include employer's liability insurance, which can help cover legal expenses if an employee blames their employer for an injury. However, the exclusive remedy provision in most workers' comp policies prohibits an employee from suing their employer once they accept workers' comp benefits.

For more information, visit the New Hampshire Department of Labor (DOL) Workers Compensation Division.

How is workers' comp purchased in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire employers can compare quotes and purchase a workers' comp policy from private insurance companies. Insureon offers this service with its online insurance marketplace.

If your firm’s high-risk status makes it impossible to purchase an insurance policy through the voluntary market mentioned above, you can purchase coverage from the New Hampshire assigned risk pool.

The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) manages New Hampshire’s assigned risk insurance pool, serving as the state’s workers’ comp provider of last resort.

The final way to secure workers’ compensation insurance is to self-insure your workers’ comp claims. This means your company will pay for its own workers’ comp claims rather than submit them to an insurance company.

To become self-insured, you must first file an application [PDF] with the New Hampshire Workers’ Compensation Division. You must also:

  • Provide a financial guarantee such as a surety bond
  • Purchase excess insurance coverage for claims that exceed your guarantee amount

What are the penalties for not having workers’ comp insurance?

Violating New Hampshire’s workers’ compensation statute is a serious concern. If you fail to provide required coverage to your employees, you may be liable for a one-time fine of $2,500 and a fine of $100 per employee for each day you failed to provide coverage.

The state may also suspend your ability to conduct business in the state if you remain noncompliant with its workers’ comp requirements.

Find workers' compensation insurance quotes for New Hampshire businesses

Workers’ compensation death benefits in New Hampshire 

If an employee dies from a work-related accident or illness, the employer’s workers’ comp death benefits will pay for:

  • Burial expenses not to exceed $10,000
  • Weekly compensation to the deceased employee’s surviving dependents

Workers’ comp settlements in New Hampshire

A workers’ compensation settlement is an agreement between the injured employee, employer, and insurer that resolves a workers’ compensation claim. This benefits both the employee and the employer.

In New Hampshire, many workers’ comp claims end in settlements. This means the parties to the claim – the injured employee, the company, and the insurer – must agree on a lump-sum payment. In return, the employee (or the employee’s survivors) agree to a suspension of future benefit payments.

Employees who wish to enter into an agreement to take a lump-sum payment in lieu of future benefits must secure the permission of the New Hampshire Workers’ Compensation Division.

New Hampshire workers’ compensation law for statute of limitations

In New Hampshire, employees must file a workers’ comp claim within two years from the date of injury or illness.

In cases in which an occupational injury or illness emerged slowly and the employee didn’t immediately notice it, the person must file a claim as soon as they become aware of the problem (or should have become aware by virtue of reasonable diligence).

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If you are ready to explore workers’ comp options for your New Hampshire business, start a free online application today to compare quotes from top-rated insurance carriers.

Updated: February 5, 2024
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