As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to provide a safe work environment for your employees, but accidents and injuries may still happen. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.8 million workers in private industry were injured on the job in 2019, causing 888,000 lost work days.
To protect your staff, workers’ compensation insurance is essential and is even a legal requirement in most states. It provides financial support and medical benefits to employees who are injured or who become sick due to their employment. In addition, it prevents you from paying costly expenses; the average cost per workers’ compensation claim is $41,003.
We looked at 19 top workers’ compensation companies to help you find an insurer for your business. We selected the best companies based on their coverage options, reputations, and their ratings with AM Best, the credit rating agency that focuses on the insurance industry.
The 7 Best Workers’ Compensation Insurance Companies of 2021
- Best Overall: biBERK Insurance Services
- Best for MicroBusinesses: CoverWallet
- Best for Retailers: AmTrust Financial
- Best for Medical Providers: The Hartford
- Best for Professional Offices: Progressive
- Best for Construction and Contractors: Nationwide
- Best for Household Employers: GTM Payroll Services
Best Overall : biBERK Insurance Services
biBERK Insurance Services is our choice as the best overall workers’ compensation insurer because users can purchase policies online in a matter of minutes, bundle workers’ compensation with other business insurance policies, and save a significant amount of money over buying plans from other companies.
Save up to 20% compared to other companies
Get a quote entirely online
No additional discounts for bundling policies
Workers’ compensation insurance not available in all states
As part of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Group, biBERK Insurance Services combines decades of experience with a technology-driven approach to insurance, allowing you to get a policy within minutes. Business owners can use biBERK’s platform to get a price quote and purchase workers’ compensation insurance entirely online, without ever having to talk to a representative or go through extra hurdles.
We tested it out ourselves. Based on the information we entered, a copywriting business in Florida with one full-time W-2 employee earning $30,000 per year would pay $298 for coverage with limits of $100,000 per incident, $500,000 per policy, $100,000 per employee, and would make a $29.80 down payment to start coverage that day.
biBERK isn’t an insurance broker or middleman; it insures businesses directly, so it’s able to offer lower rates than some other companies. According to the company, its rates are up to 20% less than you can get with policies from other companies.
It does offer other insurance products, such as general liability, professional liability, and umbrella insurance. However, it does not offer any discounts for bundling policies.
biBERK offers workers’ compensation insurance in almost all states. The only exceptions are North Dakota, Ohio, Washington, and Wyoming. Berkshire Hathaway Group has an “A++” rating from AM Best, its highest designation.
Best for MicroBusinesses : CoverWallet
CoverWallet is best in our review for startups, people with side gigs, and microbusinesses. You can get a policy even if you have just one part-time employee, and your coverage can start immediately.
Policies available for just one employee
Workers’ compensation can be bundled with professional and general liability coverage
Coverage can start immediately
Instant, online quotes not available for everyone
Pay-as-you-go options not always available
For microbusinesses—meaning companies with fewer than 10 employers—CoverWallet is an excellent option for workers’ compensation insurance. CoverWallet allows you to get coverage for just one employee if you wish, even if that worker is part-time, and you can bundle workers’ compensation insurance with professional or general liability coverage, too.
Depending on where you live, your industry, and your past claims history, you may be able to get an instant quote online. However, that may not be an option for everyone, and some users may have to call and speak to a representative to get an insurance quote.
When you submit your information, CoverWallet will match you with one of its insurance partners. You may be eligible for pay-as-you-go premiums, rather than making upfront payments based on projected payroll. If satisfied with your quote, you can contact CoverWallet to activate your policy and get covered right away.
CoverWallet is a subsidiary of the Aon Corporation.
Best for Retailers : AmTrust Financial
AmTrust is one of the few insurers that will work with new retailers and it specializes in small and mid-size retail shops. Because it offers multiple insurance options and pay-as-you-go premium options, it’s our choice for best workers’ compensation insurance for retailers.
Pay-as-you-go premium options
New ventures accepted
Multiple insurance options available
Certain retail industries are not eligible for AmTrust insurance
Restrictions apply to 24-hour stores
As a leading writer of workers’ compensation insurance in the United States, AmTrust underwrites over 350 class codes for workers’ compensation coverage. However, the company specializes in certain areas, such as retail stores.
While some insurers require retail stores to already be in operation before they cover them with workers’ compensation insurance, AmTrust will accept new ventures. Eligible accounts will generally have between one and 75 employees, and typically include electronic stores, clothing stores, supermarkets, and bookstores.
While AmTrust will insure 24-hour retail stores, there are restrictions. The store must have at least two employees on duty during the third shift, and appropriate security measures must be in place.
Not all retail stores are eligible for AmTrust coverage. The company excludes stores that sell adult entertainment, cannabis products, and cannabis-related accessories.
In addition to workers’ compensation coverage, AmTrust offers professional liability, general liability, state disability, and cyber liability insurance policies. If you sign up for an insurance plan, AmTrust has a pay-as-you-go option called PAYO that can give you more flexibility and doesn’t require a down payment.
AmTrust has an “A-” rating from AM Best.
Best for Medical Providers : The Hartford
The Hartford stands out as the best choice for medical providers because of its expertise working with outpatient offices and its unique benefits. Under your plan, your workers get access to dedicated case managers and pharmacy networks, helping them get the care they need when they need it most.
Workers have access to experienced nurse case managers
Specifically offers needlestick protection
Pay-as-you-go billing options
Does not offer medical malpractice insurance
Not all users can purchase policies online
With over 200 years of expertise, The Hartford is well-known for its service and reliability. In fact, it’s the second-largest workers’ compensation insurer in the country based on direct written premiums. It’s our top pick for medical providers as it has experience catering to healthcare professionals, insuring over 105,000 outpatient small businesses nationwide.
As a medical provider, workers’ compensation coverage is especially important. You may have issues like needlestick injuries, the risk of injuries from moving patients, or examining patients under the influence of medications.
Workers’ compensation insurance from The Hartford includes a preferred medical provider network and over 65,000 U.S. pharmacies where your workers can get necessary care. They’ll have access to nurse case managers to help coordinate their care, and you can take advantage of pay-as-you-go billing options.
The Hartford offers multiple insurance products, including general liability and cyber insurance. However, it does not have medical malpractice insurance, so you’ll have to work with another company to get coverage.
While some users can purchase insurance policies online, not everyone is eligible. You may have to call an insurance specialist to get a quote and to complete your enrollment.
The Hartford has an “A+” rating from AM Best.
Best for Professional Offices : Progressive
If you run a professional office, you likely have multiple insurance needs. That’s why Progressive is our choice for best workers’ compensation insurer for professional offices. Not only does it offer affordable workers’ compensation insurance, but it allows you to purchase group health insurance for your workers, as well.
Other business insurance policies available
Update your policy at any time
Workers’ compensation insurance offered by a partner carrier
Payment terms and down payment requirements can vary by insurer
In professional offices, workers’ compensation is still important. There are unique issues that your employees may face, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Progressive is an excellent choice for professional offices for workers’ compensation because of its reputation and because it offers discounts on other business essentials, such as payroll services.
Progressive’s policies are affordable. According to the company, the average cost of a new policy starts at $46 per month for professional liability coverage and $85 per month for workers’ compensation insurance.
With Progressive, you can bundle workers’ compensation insurance with professional liability insurance, cyber insurance, and a business owner’s policy. You can change and adjust your policy at any time.
However, you should know that your workers’ compensation policy isn’t directly through Progressive. Instead, Progressive will connect you with a third-party carrier. Each carrier has their own payment terms and requirements, so you may not have a pay-as-you-go option, and you may have to make a down payment to activate your policy.
Progressive has an “A+” rating from AM Best.
Best for Construction and Contractors : Nationwide
Nationwide has a suite of insurance products uniquely designed for the construction industry, making it our top choice for construction and contractors. Along with workers’ compensation, you can bundle other insurance policies like professional liability and contractor equipment insurance to protect your business.
Available to small and large businesses
Workers’ compensation can be bundled with general and professional liability insurance
Free business resources specific to the construction industry
May need to speak with a representative for an accurate quote
Available discounts and rates can vary by location
Nationwide is one of the largest insurance companies in the country and it offers workers’ compensation insurance for small and large businesses. It has insurance options specifically designed for construction and contracting businesses that can be bundled along with workers’ compensation coverage, such as professional liability, business auto, and contractor equipment insurance.
As a Nationwide customer, you have access to a suite of free business resources, including fleet safety seminars, courses on preventing slips and falls, and tips on handling payroll and taxes.
While some users can get a quote online, rates and discounts can vary by location and your area of specialization. To get an exact quote, you may want to call Nationwide directly and speak with a representative.
Nationwide has an excellent reputation and a history of success and customer satisfaction. The company was founded in 1926 and has an “A+” rating from AM Best.
Best for Household Employers : GTM Payroll Services
As one of the only national insurance brokers for domestic workers, GTM Payroll Services is our selection for the best workers’ compensation company for household employers. You can purchase workers’ compensation coverage separately or bundle it with payroll and tax management services to streamline your household operations.
Workers’ compensation can be bundled with payroll and tax services
Online client portal
Not rated by AM Best
Will need to speak to a representative for full details
If your family has hired domestic workers like a nanny or adult caregiver, you may have to get workers’ compensation coverage for that employee. Workers’ compensation requirements for household workers can vary from state to state, so there are very few national providers.
One highly regarded resource is GTM Payroll Services, a licensed insurance broker. With GTM, workers’ compensation insurance can be bundled with payroll and tax services or purchased separately.
GTM Payroll Services has been in operation since 1991. Today, it processes more than $1 billion in payroll every year for more than 44,000 employees who work for businesses and families nationwide.
As a broker, GTM will shop around to find coverage that works for your needs and includes pay-as-you-go premiums based on your actual payroll. To get a policy, you will need to call GTM Payroll Services directly; you can’t sign up for workers’ compensation coverage online.
GTM Payroll Services is not rated by AM Best, but it is an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau and has an “A+” rating.
What Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Unfortunately, accidents do happen, no matter how many precautions you take to ensure your workplace is safe. Workers’ compensation insurance provides business owners with protection from claims by employees who experience work-related injuries or illnesses.
Workers’ compensation typically covers the employee’s medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses, and a portion of their lost wages. If an employee passes away while working, workers’ compensation insurance will also pay for funeral expenses.
Who Is Exempt From Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Workers’ compensation requirements vary by state. However, sole proprietorships and partnerships generally don’t have to carry workers’ compensation insurance until they hire employees who aren’t partners. Employees are considered to be people performing services for the company for pay, even if they’re minors or non-citizens.
Do I Need Workers’ Compensation Insurance for One Employee?
In most states, employers who have at least one part-time employee must have workers’ compensation insurance. There are some states, such as Alabama, where coverage isn’t required for businesses with four or fewer regular employees, but those are the minority. Texas is the only state where workers’ compensation coverage is optional for employers, with some exceptions.
To learn about the requirements in your area, visit your state’s workers’ compensation department website.
What Is a Workers’ Compensation Insurance Audit?
When you purchase workers’ compensation insurance, your policy is valid for one year, and your premium is typically based on the annual compensation you anticipate paying that year. During the workers’ compensation insurance audit, also known as a payroll audit, auditors will review how much your payroll changed from the projected amount at the beginning of the year so the final premium can be adjusted accordingly. In some states, workers’ compensation insurance audits are a mandatory legal requirement.
What Is a State Fund?
State funds are state-sponsored workers' compensation insurance programs. Some states are monopolistic, meaning there is no private workers’ compensation insurance available. States with monopolistic insurance requirements include North Dakota, Ohio, Washington, and Wyoming.
In monopolistic states, you cannot shop for the best deal and you cannot provide coverage for out-of-state employees. Instead, you’ll have to purchase a separate insurance policy for them from the state in which they work. You may also have to purchase a separate employer liability policy to cover you against lawsuits and other workers’ compensation case costs that result from an injured employee.
In other states, there is a competitive state fund where you can choose insurance from the state or a private carrier. With this option, you can choose coverage that fits your needs and you can comparison shop to get the best deal, though the state fund may be a better option for new or hard-to-insure businesses.
How Much Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
How much you’ll pay for workers’ compensation insurance is dependent on your state, business size, industry, employees’ type of work, and your claims history.
Your cost is calculated per $100 of payroll, so the larger your payroll, the higher your workers’ compensation costs.
If you don’t have a past history of claims, you’ll have a low experience modification number, or “mod.” If you have a history of claims, your number will be higher. A number over “1.00” reflects a history of claims.
The National Council on Compensation Insurance has a database of over 700 class codes that describe jobs’ risks and has a corresponding rate. For example, a copywriter’s position is less risky than a welder’s, so workers’ compensation insurance will likely cost less.
To estimate your costs, use this calculation:
Worker’s class code rate x experience modification number x (Payroll / $100) = Premium
According to the National Academy of Social Insurance, employer costs for workers’ compensation insurance ranges from $0.74 per $100 of covered payroll in Massachusetts to $2.32 per $100 of covered payroll in Alaska.
How We Chose the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Companies
To select the top seven workers’ compensation insurance companies, we researched major insurers and identified 19 well-known companies that specialize in different industries. We evaluated each company on its business options, transparency, available discounts, ease of obtaining a quote, and its AM Best rating. Particular emphasis was placed on a company’s AM Best rating; companies with less than an “A” rating were disqualified.
The one exception was GTM Payroll Services. There are no other national companies that offer workers’ compensation coverage for nannies and domestic workers. Because GTM is a broker and connects customers with insurance partners, we decided to include it on the list even though it has not been ranked by AM Best.