Do you want to protect your company and your employees in case workplace accidents occur? Learn your workers compensation insurance options.
If you own a business with employees, you must prepare for any eventuality. Workplace accidents are quite common. In fact, 5,333 workers died on the job in the United States in 2019. Approximately 2.8 million incidents of workplace injury that do not result in fatalities also occur annually. When workers are injured or killed on the job, they or their families require compensation. Workers compensation insurance, informally called workers comp, is used to pay for expenses related to those incidents.
One of the first steps to take when hiring employees is making sure you have sufficient workers compensation insurance coverage. However, you may not know exactly how to obtain such coverage or what to look for during your search for workers compensation insurance. Many companies and organizations offer workers compensation, but not all provide the benefits your workers or your company need. Some also may not meet state standards. Understanding those standards and the ins and outs of the workers compensation process can help you choose the right coverage for your company.
What is Workers Compensation?
Workers compensation is an employer-purchased service available to employees and their families under specific circumstances. Employees do not contribute financially to the service. It provides funds to workers or family members according to specific predetermined criteria. A common use of workers compensation is to pay for medical bills when a worker becomes ill or injured as a direct result of workplace activity. Sometimes such events require one-time or short-term compensation, but some workers' comp claims are long-term. Workers compensation is also designed to provide the following when required criteria are met:
Lost Wage Coverage Due to Work-Related Injuries or Illnesses
Physical Therapy Costs
Funeral Benefits in Cases of Workplace Accident or Workplace Illness-Related Deaths
Survivor Benefits for Family Members
Who Needs Workers Compensation?
If you have employees, it is almost always a good idea to have workers compensation insurance. However, it is not always legally required. Most U.S. states do require businesses of certain sizes to have such coverage. However, exact rules vary by state. A couple states have no requirement at all. Other states set minimum required numbers of employees, such as three or five employees.
There are also industry and situation-specific rules that govern who needs workers compensation. For instance, many states require companies in high-risk industries to have workers compensation coverage for all employees, even if their businesses are small. High-risk industries are industries in which workplace accidents are particularly common. For example, construction is one of the most high-risk industries. Also, special rules about workers compensation apply to seasonal employees in various industries in certain states. Therefore, it is vital to familiarize yourself with the regulations in every state in which your company operates.
What Are the Benefits of Workers Compensation and What Does it Cover?
The purpose of workers compensation is to address the financial needs of employees who have suffered directly due to performing their jobs. However, workers comp only covers illnesses and accidents due to performance of work-related tasks in the workplace. It does not cover medical expenses related to other special circumstances. For example, injuries incurred from physical fighting in the workplace between employees are not covered.
The benefits of workers compensation to employees are obvious. Having that coverage allows employees to focus on recovery without experiencing financial burdens. However, there are also many benefits of workers compensation for business owners. The legal benefits include avoiding fines, lengthy lawsuits, and possible prison terms in states or situations where workers compensation is legally required. Even when it is not legally required, having it prevents employees and families from filing civil lawsuits.
Workers compensation also helps business owners by removing the necessity to pay certain financial burdens. Medical bills for a single employee who suffers a work-related accident can cost thousands of dollars. For a fraction of the cost, an employer can get an insurance provider to pay such medical expenses on the company's behalf.
What Are the Best Workers Compensation Insurance Options?
When looking for workers compensation insurance, it is important to select a reputable insurance provider. Some workers compensation insurance providers provide general coverage for businesses in any industry. However, certain providers are known for providing coverage with extra industry-specific benefits. Here are some examples:
Travelers has a reputation as an excellent insurance company overall. It provides insurance coverage of multiple types for individuals and businesses. Business coverage types offered include property insurance and workers compensation.
biBERK specializes in providing workers compensation benefits for small business owners. Commercial auto and other insurance policies for business owners are also available.
The Hartford is the second largest workers compensation provider in the United States, based on market share. It is a company with a long-standing reputation for excellence. The Hartford offers policies for many types of businesses, but it is most known for being an ideal choice among medical industry professionals.
Nationwide is one of the most popular insurance providers in the United States. It is known for providing policies ranging from personal auto insurance to insurance for professional business owners. Its workers compensation policies are particularly popular in construction and related industry circles.
Progressive is another nationally-recognized insurance brand known for offering general policies of various types for personal and professional clients. Its workers compensation policies are known for being particularly ideal for business owners who operate professional offices.
How Much Does Workers Compensation Coverage Cost?
Workers’ compensation coverage costs are determined by many factors, including the size of your business. According to The Hartford, its customers with $300,000 or less in payroll paid average premium fees of $70 per month in 2021. However, each company has its own policies and calculation tools. State rules can also impact your ability to find workers comp deals. For example, in some state’s businesses are required to purchase coverage through state agencies. Other states allow the purchase of coverage through private companies. In the latter instance, you can also take advantage of online offers like "Get a Free Quote & Save 30% Now" campaigns. Such deals are frequently offered by various companies.