Workers’ compensation insurance pays for employees’ medical bills and lost wages when they suffer workplace injuries or occupational illnesses. Workers’ comp is required by law in most states, and Virginia employers must carry a policy once they regularly employ more than two employees. The average cost of workers’ compensation insurance in Virginia is 75 cents per $100 of payroll.
Virginia Workers’ Compensation Insurance Providers
Virginia employers have four options for getting workers’ comp insurance. They can use a commercial carrier, their professional employment organizations, a self-insurance group, or self-insure. If they are declined by two organizations, they can get coverage through an assigned risk group set up by the state to ensure all employers get workers’ comp.
Virginia Workers’ Compensation Insurance Providers
|Employers who need affordable workers’ comp immediately|
|Employers who want to compare quotes from multiple carriers at once|
|Virginia employers looking for a workers’ comp provider that resolves claims fast|
|Virginia employers who want to lower future premiums with safety programs|
|Virginia employers with 10 or fewer employees|
Here are five leading workers’ comp insurance companies in Virginia:
The Hartford is a leading property and casualty insurer that’s had a team dedicated to small businesses for more than 30 years. More than a million small business owners use The Hartford to meet their workers’ compensation insurance needs.
The Hartford’s basic workers’ compensation policy is the right choice for employers who want broad affordable coverage. It has six unique features, including coverage for exempt employees and volunteers’ payments for reasonable expenses like overtime for an employee giving a deposition. Virginia employers can get discounts by paying their premium in full or buying multiple policies from The Hartford, plus they can have their workers’ comp in place in just five minutes after quoting.
AP Intego merges advanced technology and experienced insurance professionals to make buying workers’ compensation easy for small business owners. The company’s top industries include trades, food services, and allied health, but its access to top insurers allow them to write workers’ comp for additional professions.
As a commercial insurance broker, AP Intego can help employers compare quotes for Virginia workers’ compensation insurance. The company offers an online application tailored to Virginia’s legal requirements. It sends your business information to available partners. Quotes appear in just seconds, and employers can have their premiums adjusted automatically when they hire and fire, so the correct premium is deducted from their payroll every month.
Liberty Mutual is a top provider of workers’ compensation insurance in Virginia, holding the second-largest market share in the state. It sells its commercial and personal lines products through an independent agent network so that employers can work with a local agent to get quality insurance plus personalized service.
Perhaps the best reason to work with Liberty Mutual is their proactive attitude towards workers’ compensation insurance claims. The company’s workers’ comp claims professionals specialize by the coverage and can connect you to the appropriate medical and legal resources. It also offers an injured worker toolkit to help your employees navigate medical care. These features make Liberty Mutual ideal for small business owners who want a workers’ comp provider that can resolve claims quickly.
Employers is a national carrier that only offers workers’ compensation insurance. While that may seem limiting, it means it has a deep understanding of workers’ comp risk to draw on when writing policies.
Virginia employers can draw on that experience too by using the company’s loss control resources. In addition to workers’ comp coverage, policyholders can get a hazard analysis, take part in management and supervisory safety programs, and provide employee safety presentations and training for no extra cost. Since insurers consider your claims history when setting your premium, Employers is the best choice for business owners who want to reduce their rates.
WorkerCompOne is an online broker focused solely on workers’ compensation insurance. Its partnerships with quality carriers like CNA and Travelers let it provide coverage in the 46 states that allow commercial insurers, including Virginia.
Going through WorkCompOne is a good way for small business owners to get workers’ comp from large insurers. Big-name providers don’t typically write policies for small businesses, but WorkCompOne has relationships that make them an ideal provider for small business owners with 10 or fewer employees.
Virginia employers who don’t want to go through a commercial provider can either self-insure or get workers’ compensation coverage through their professional employer organization (PEO) or a group self-insurance association. You can learn more in Virginia Workers’ Compensation Insurance Alternatives section below.
What Workers’ Compensation Insurance Is
Workers’ compensation insurance is a policy that represents a compromise between business owners and their employees. In exchange for medical coverage and wage replacement, employees essentially give up their right to sue employers for workplace injuries and diseases. Coverage is determined by the state, so each state’s workers’ compensation requirements is different. Some states mandate coverage for even one employee, while others require coverage once a business hires a certain number of employers, generally between three and five.
While workers give up their right to sue for their occupational illnesses and injuries in most cases, there are situations when employees can bring a civil suit. For these instances, workers’ compensation policies usually include employer’s liability coverage to pay for your legal defense.
What Workers’ Compensation Insurance Covers
Workers’ compensation covers employees’ injuries and illnesses by reimbursing a portion of their lost wages and the associated costs like medical bills. However, not all injuries that happen at work are workplace injuries. Employees only receive benefits if their injuries occur in the scope and course of their employment.
For example, say you own a restaurant in Alexandria, and a server slips on a wet floor while rushing to pick up an order. In that case, the worker’s injuries are most likely covered. However, if he or she slipped while goofing around with another employee, they probably won’t receive benefits.
Most states exclude injuries when workers are:
- Goofing around
- Commuting to work
- Under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Not wearing appropriate safety gear
- Participating in voluntary work-sponsored events
Occupational diseases are covered when they occur at work and don’t involve the back, neck, or spine. Workers’ comp may cover cancer caused by exposure to hazardous chemicals. However, back pain typically isn’t covered unless it was directly caused by work activities. States typically require that employees demonstrate their injury or illness resulted directly from work tasks by describing the situation on a report and getting a diagnosis from a doctor.
Virginia Workers’ Compensation Insurance Costs
Virginia workers’ compensation costs are determined by three factors. These are work risk, payroll, and loss history. Every employee’s work is classified by risk and assigned a rate. The rate is then multiplied by total payroll and an experience modifier. On average, Virginia employers pay 75 cents per every $100 of payroll, according to the National Association of Social Insurance.
The basic formula for determining workers’ comp premiums is:
Payroll (per $100) X classification rate X experience modifier = premium
In the News:
Because Virginia follows guidelines set by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), employers who have halted operations due to COVID-19 but continue to pay employees may be able to exclude those employees’ pay from their workers’ compensation premium calculations. Check with your insurer if this impacts your costs.
The experience modifier, or e-mod, is a number insurers use to represent how a business’s payroll and loss history compares to similar-sized businesses in the same industry. Businesses with an e-mod under one typically have fewer or less expensive claims, and that translates into lower premiums. E-mods also explain why premiums vary between insurance providers. Each insurer had its own method for evaluating risk and creating e-mods.
Virginia Workers’ Compensation Insurance Audit Requirements
Workers’ compensation insurance premiums are largely based on how much you pay employees and the type of work they do. Because those numbers may fluctuate throughout the policy term, insurers conduct audits to make sure businesses pay the right premiums. They may even audit businesses that have closed or who have dropped their coverage. Premiums audits can result in employers owing more money or getting money back.
Business owners can prepare for their premium audit by gathering documents including:
- Payroll register
- State and federal quarterly tax reports
- Federal 1099, W2, and W3 transmittals
- Overtime payroll records
- Employee records, like timecards and position descriptions
- Information about payments made to subcontractors and casual laborers
Virginia Workers’ Compensation Insurance Laws
Virginia employers must carry workers’ compensation when they have more than two employees. State law defines employees as part-time, full-time, seasonal, and temporary workers as well as minors, trainees, immigrants, and working family members. Corporate officers and limited liability company (LLC) managers are also considered employees even if they aren’t performing regular work or earning a regular salary.
Virginia workers’ compensation laws state the following:
- Employers must cover subcontractors’ employees: A business that hires subcontractors to fulfill a contract or assist in the same business or trade it performs needs to include the subcontractor’s employee in their workers’ compensation
- Sole proprietors do not have to get coverage for themselves: Sole proprietors aren’t compelled to get coverage, but they may opt for workers’ comp for self-employed individuals
- LLC members aren’t usually considered employees: That may change if the member performs work and earns pay; additionally, LLCs with a single member may elect to cover that member
- Employee status is determined by the relationship: Calling a worker an independent contractor does not impact an employer’s workers’ comp requirement; if the employer has control, then the worker is an employee and must be covered
- Out-of-state employers must follow Virginia law: Companies based in other states but with employees in Virginia need to comply with Virginia’s workers’ compensation laws; this is true even if the employment is temporary
- Out-of-state employees are covered by Virginia law: Workers in other states are covered by Virginia’s workers’ comp act if their contract was made or the employer is located in Virginia; however, injured workers can choose where to file their claim
Additionally, operators of underground coal mines are never exempt from supplying workers’ compensation insurance. They must get coverage even if they have only one employee.
What Virginia Workers’ Compensation Insurance Doesn’t Cover
Virginia’s definition of injuries and illnesses means its workers’ comp usually doesn’t cover injuries resulting from repetitive trauma. For instance, employees who suffer bad backs or carpal tunnel need to demonstrate work activities directly caused their injury. Employees who suffer from pre-existing conditions must also prove that their work directly aggravated their condition to qualify for workers’ comp benefits.
Additionally, workers’ compensation does not cover other liabilities you may have as a business owner. Learn more about key commercial coverages in our ultimate guide to Small Business Insurance.
Virginia Workers’ Compensation Insurance Deadlines
Virginia employers also need to be aware of two important deadlines related to workers’ comp in Virginia. Missing these deadlines can result in fines and even criminal charges if the court decides the violation was intentional.
Here are key Virginia workers’ compensation insurance deadlines:
- 10 days to report workplace accidents, injuries, and deaths: Employers must file a First Report of Injury form with the state’s commission within 10 days of learning about job-related injury, death, or accident
- 60 days to report minor workplace injuries: Injuries are minor if the employee can return to work within seven days, has medical bills less than $1,000, does not suffer death or permanent disability or disfigurement, and their claims are not disputed or denied
Employees have responsibilities that may help business owners meet their deadlines. For instance, an injured employee has 30 days from the date of the accident to notify their employer in writing. They also must file their workers’ comp claim with the commission within two years. For work-related illnesses, the clock starts running at the date of diagnosis.
Virginia Workers’ Compensation Insurance Requirements
The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act requires business owners with two or more employees to get workers’ compensation insurance. But as with most states’ workers’ comp laws, Virginia’s law includes additional duties for employers. Many of these duties revolve around recording and reporting occupational injuries.
Virginia workers’ compensation law requires employers to:
- Keep records of all job-related injuries and deaths
- Educate their employees on injury reporting prior to an injury occurring
- Notify their insurer as soon as they are aware a workplace injury occurred
- Provide injured employees with at least three physicians they may see for treatment
- File all medical reports pertaining to the injury with the commission
- Notify the employee and the commission if a workers’ comp claim is denied
- Determine an injured employee’s weekly wage
- Refrain from deducting workers’ comp costs from employees’ paychecks
- Post this workers’ compensation notice in a conspicuous location
According to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, employees have responsibilities too. For instance, they must immediately notify their employer of any injuries or occupational illnesses and file a claim with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. They need to select a doctor from the three the employer supplies, and they cannot change doctors without their employer’s or the insurer’s permission. Finally, employees must cooperate with rehabilitation counselors and accept or seek employment when released to light duty.
Virginia Workers’ Compensation Insurance Laws Penalties for Noncompliance
Virginia employers who fail to carry workers’ compensation insurance can face civil penalties of up to $250 for each day of noncompliance, up to a maximum of $50,000. Additionally, noncompliant employers can be charged with a misdemeanor for intentional violations, held liable for employee compensation, and be forced to stop operations.
Employers may also face penalties for:
- Failing to report workplace injuries, illnesses, and death: This can result in civil fines of $500 per violation and misdemeanor charges for willful violations.
- Allowing employees to contribute to workers’ compensation insurance costs: Violations can result in fines of up to $100 each, plus the employer may have to return any money an employee contributed.
Whether they have workers’ compensation insurance or not, employers are responsible for covering injured employees’ medical bills, and replacement wages. Uninsured employers may be sued by insured employees seeking the appropriate compensation.
Virginia Workers’ Compensation Insurance Alternatives
In addition to commercial providers, Virginia employers have three options for getting workers’ compensation insurance. They can choose to self-insure, or they can work with their professional employer organization or form group self-insurance associations.
In addition to using a private insurer, Virginia employers can get workers’ comp in these ways:
- Self-insurance: Employers who self-insure need to complete an application from the Virginia’s Workers’ Compensation Commission and provide three years of audited financial statement, three years of claims history, and minimum security of $750,000
- Professional employer organization (PEO): Some PEOs maintain workers’ compensation insurance for their co-employees; the PEO takes out a master workers’ comp policy in its name
- Group self-insurance association (GSIA): Two or more employers who have a common interest can form a GSIA to pool their liabilities; this requires a license from the State Corporation Commission and excess insurance
How to File a Virginia Workers’ Compensation Insurance Claim
Employees carry most of the burden when it comes to filing a workers’ comp claim, but employers have responsibilities too; the entire process goes more smoothly if both employers and employees work together.
The steps for filing a workers’ compensation claim in Virginia include:
- Employee should report their injury or illness immediately no later than 30 days from the date of the occurrence or the date the doctor diagnoses your illness as work-related
- Employee receives a Jurisdiction Claim Number and a PIN to access their file online
- Employer files a report of the injury or illness with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission
Tips on Getting Virginia Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Classify Your Employees Correctly
Each employee receives a classification code based that determines their base rate. The riskier the job, the higher the rate. For instance, carpenters may pay $9.80 per $100 of payroll while a clerical worker only pays 11 cents. A business that has both wants to get classification right to make sure their premium is accurate.
Compare Rates from Multiple Insurers
Classification codes and the corresponding rates are standardized, so you might assume every providers’ coverage costs the same. However, insurers use their own formula to determine a business’ experience modification factor. This means workers’ compensations insurance premiums can vary.
Ask About Discounts
Workers’ compensation insurance providers in Virginia can offer discounts and premium credits as they see fit. Plus, state law compels all insurers to offer policyholders a discount of up to five percent for running a drug-free workplace. The criteria depend on the insurer, but it is certainly worth asking if you qualify for that or other discounts.
Virginia Workers’ Compensation Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Your workers’ compensation insurance needs are unique to your business. Please post questions that haven’t been answered in the comment section below. Here, we answer a few examples of the most frequently asked questions.
1. Does my LLC need workers’ compensation insurance in Virginia?
LLC employees need coverage, but Virginia workers’ compensation laws do not require LLC members to be covered. LLC managers, however, are considered employees and should be covered. They can reject coverage only by filing a Rejection of Coverage with the commission and their insurer. They may, however, need other types of insurance.
2. How long do I have to file a workers’ comp claim in Virginia?
Employers don’t file workers’ compensation claims, injured employees do. However, you need to report work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths within 10 days of notification. That time frame stretches to 60 days for minor injuries. Employees, however, must file their claim with the state commission within two years from the date of the injury.
3. Do I need workers’ compensation insurance for volunteers?
Volunteers are not paid employees, so you are not required to cover them in Virginia. However, business owners may want to include them if the volunteers’ tasks are risky or the employer hopes to limit potential lawsuits. Your insurance provider should be able to add volunteers to your workers’ compensation insurance through an endorsement.
The Bottom Line
Virginia law doesn’t require business owners to get workers’ compensation insurance until they have more than two employees. However, the state’s definition of employee is rather broad, so some employers may need coverage and not know it. Virginia business owners should review the requirements and work with an agent to get workers’ compensation.
The Hartford is an ideal solution for Virginia business owners looking for workers’ comp. Not only does it specialize in small business insurance, but it offers discounts and savings programs to help make the policy more affordable.