FAQ: Workers' Compensation Insurance in New Jersey

Workers' compensation insurance is a policy that is designed to protect employers and employees against financial losses resulting from on-the-job injuries and occupational illnesses.

This insurance can provide injured employees with full coverage for any necessary medical treatment, disability pay if they need time to recuperate before returning to work, and, in the worst cases, it can cover burial costs and provide dependents with ongoing death benefits.

New Jersey has some of the highest workers’ compensation insurance rates in the country. In this state, every type of job is assigned a classification code, and the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation assigns each class code a base rate for workers’ compensation coverage.

Insurance companies must use these base rates to determine policy costs, but they are permitted to adjust rates up to 15% through policy debits and credits.

Let's look at the base rates for a few different kinds of jobs in New Jersey. These are the rates employers will pay for every $100 of employer payroll.

  • Landscapers: $14.77
  • Tree trimmers: $21.31
  • Plumbers: $5.86
  • Roofing contractors: $29.46
  • Retail store workers: $3.44
  • Clerical/office workers: $0.18
  • Restaurant workers: $3.21

As you can see, workers’ comp rates are significantly higher for jobs that have a high risk of employee injuries, like tree trimmers, when compared to less dangerous jobs like office workers.

Your actual quoted cost will be based on the number of employees you have, the types of jobs they do, how much they are paid, and your company’s safety and insurance claims history. A local independent insurance agent can help you obtain and compare rates from a few competing insurance providers.

New Jersey state law requires all businesses with one or more employees to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Exceptions are made only for principal owners of sole proprietorships, but they may purchase coverage for themselves if they want to.

Out-of-state employers will need to obtain a qualified workers’ compensation policy if work is being performed in state.

Coverage may be obtained through a commercial provider, or, with approval, companies with solid financial backing may opt to self-insure.

Workers' compensation insurance can protect your business against financial losses and potential lawsuits by ensuring that employees who are injured on the job receive the medical benefits and disability pay they deserve.

This insurance can cover traumatic injuries, repetitive stress injuries, cuts and lacerations, sprains and strains, occupational illnesses, and work-related fatalities.

Workers' compensation insurance in New Jersey provides injured employees with:

  • Full coverage for all necessary medical treatment
  • Full coverage for related medical expenses like hospital stays, ambulance services, prescriptions, physical therapy, and supplies like crutches, wheelchairs, and slings
  • Disability pay if the employee needs more than seven days to recuperate from a work-related injury or illness
  • Up to $3,500 in burial expenses and death benefits to the employee's spouse and dependents if a work injury is fatal

As with any type of insurance coverage, workers' comp has some exclusions. It is always a good idea to review what your policy will and will not cover when you make a purchase.

Workers' compensation insurance does not cover:

  • Injuries sustained outside of work or while at a work-related recreational event
  • Injuries that occurred while the employee was intoxicated, using illegal drugs, or committing a serious crime
  • Injuries sustained by an employee who started a fight
  • Intentional or self-inflicted injuries
  • Common short-term illnesses like influenza or headaches
  • Preexisting conditions

An independent insurance agent in New Jersey can further explain what your workers' compensation insurance policy will and will not cover.

Construction workers and other contractors frequently have to provide prospective clients with proof that they are covered by workers’ compensation insurance, especially if they will be doing work for a governmental entity.

A workers’ compensation insurance certificate can provide this proof of coverage. This certificate provides information about your coverage, including details like:

  • The name and address of the insured
  • The name of the insurance company and all related policy numbers
  • The effective date and expiration date for each policy listed
  • The liability coverage limits on each policy

You will be issued this certificate by your insurance company when you purchase your policy. 

Independent insurance agents make it easy to find the right workers’ comp coverage because they do the comparison shopping for you. These agents are available to answer your insurance-related questions and can help you obtain and compare customized quotes from a selection of competing providers.

No business is too small to benefit from the help of an independent agent. Arrange an obligation-free consultation with an independent insurance agent near you to begin your search for a good policy at a great price.

Workers' compensation benefits are not considered taxable income.

However, if the injured employee is simultaneously collecting Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Social Security Supplemental Income (SSI) benefits, some of their workers’ compensation insurance benefits may be taxed.

Find Workers' Compensation Insurance Near You

National Average Cost of Workers' Compensation Insurance

Healthcare $1,825 Per $100,000 payroll

Retail Trade $2,850 Per $100,000 payroll

Construction $7,430 Per $100,000 payroll


Workers' Compensation Insurance Laws in New Jersey

  • All businesses in New Jersey are required to cover their full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees with a workers' compensation insurance policy. Established businesses with strong financials may apply to self-insure.
  • Upon being notified of a worker injury, employers should notify their workers’ compensation company as soon as possible so that a First Report of Injury can be filed with the state.
  • Within 26 weeks of the worker returning to work or reaching maximum medical improvement, the employer must submit a Subsequent Report of Injury to the NJ Division of Workers’ Compensation.
  • Except for necessary emergency treatment, the employer has the right to designate the authorized treating physician for work-related injuries.
  • Failure to carry required workers' compensation insurance can result in severe penalties in New Jersey. If determined to be willfully neglectful, employers can face criminal charges and can be fined up to $5,000 for the first ten days of non-coverage and $5,000 for each additional 10-day period during which the employer was uninsured.
  • If an employee is injured while the employer is uninsured, the penalties are even worse. The employer, including individual corporate officers, partners, and LLC members, can face civil penalties and be held directly liable for all necessary medical expenses, disability pay, and dependency benefits. This can result in forfeiture of personal assets.


Common Workers' Compensation Claims in New Jersey


Top 10 Most Common Worker Injuries in New Jersey:

  1. Overexertion
  2. Slips, trips, and falls
  3. Burns and electrocutions
  4. Injuries caused by equipment malfunctions
  5. Repetitive motion injuries
  6. Motor vehicle collision injuries
  7. Struck by falling object
  8. Strains and sprains
  9. Punctures, cuts, and lacerations
  10. Fractures


Top 5 Industries with the Most Workers’ Comp Claims in New Jersey:

  1. Education and health services
  2. Trade, transportation, and utilities
  3. Manufacturing
  4. Natural resources and mining
  5. Leisure and hospitality

Employers in New Jersey report around 90,000 on-the-job injuries and occupational illnesses a year.