FAQ: Workers' Compensation Insurance in North Dakota

Workers' compensation insurance is a commercial insurance policy that is designed to protect businesses as well as their employees.

It can shield your company from financial losses and potential liability lawsuits if an employee is severely injured on the job or is stricken with an occupational illness. It also protects injured employees by fully covering all necessary medical treatment and providing disability pay if a worker must take time off work to recuperate.

When it comes to workers’ compensation insurance, North Dakota is a monopolistic state. Employers may only purchase coverage through the state’s Workforce Safety & Insurance Division. Despite this, rates in this state are rather competitive when compared to other states.

In this state, every type of job is assigned a base rate for workers’ compensation coverage.

Let's look at the base rates per every $100 of employee payroll for a few different kinds of occupations in North Dakota:

  • Oil and gas operations:  $2.46
  • Tree trimmers/removers/pruners:  $4.95
  • Plumbing contractors:  $2.30
  • Roofers:  $9.46
  • Retail store workers:  $0.82
  • Clerical/office employees:  $0.23
  • Restaurant workers:  $0.85

As you can see, workers’ comp rates are higher for jobs that have a high risk of employee injuries. The quoted cost for your business will be based primarily on the number of workers you employ, the kinds of jobs they do, and how much they are paid.

North Dakota state law requires all employers to cover their part-time, full-time, and seasonal employees with workers’ compensation insurance. There are a few exceptions. You are not required to purchase coverage for:

  • Sole proprietors, partners, and corporate officers
  • Farm and ranch laborers
  • Independent contractors
  • Household/domestic workers
  • Children (aged 21 and younger) of the employer

Policies may only be purchased through the state-administered fund. Self-insurance and private insurance are not permitted in North Dakota.

Workers' compensation insurance in North Dakota helps injured employees by providing:

  • Medical benefits: Workers’ comp can cover all necessary medical care in full, including doctor appointments, emergency care, ambulance rides, physical therapy, prescription medications, and supplies like slings and braces. Employees should pay nothing out of pocket.
  • Wage loss benefits: Workers’ comp can provide disability pay to workers who are debilitated for at least 5 consecutive days.
  • Permanent partial impairment benefits: If an employee injury results in permanent loss of function of a body part, in addition to other workers’ comp benefits, the employee by be awarded a lump sum payment based on the nature and severity of the impairment.
  • Rehabilitation services: Workers’ comp can help injured employees return to work by covering nursing care management, job retraining, vocational case management, the injured worker assistance program, and/or the preferred worker program.
  • Personal expense reimbursement: Workers’ comp can reimburse injured workers for mileage, meals, tolls, parking, and other personal costs associated with obtaining medical care.
  • Death benefits: If an employee’s work-related injury is fatal, workers’ comp can cover their funeral and burial expenses, up to $10,000, and provide ongoing death benefits to dependents or other family members.

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 in ND does not cover:

  • Injuries sustained by employees outside of work
  • Accidents that occurred while the injured employee was intoxicated or under the influence of illegal drugs
  • Intentional and/or self-inflicted injuries
  • Injuries that occurred while the employee was committing a serious crime
  • Injuries and illnesses related to preexisting conditions

An independent insurance agent can further explain what your workers' compensation insurance policy covers and excludes in North Dakota.

Construction workers and other contractors and subcontractors are frequently asked to provide proof of workers’ compensation coverage, especially if bidding on a job for a government entity

If a prospective client asks you for proof of coverage, you can provide it with a workers’ compensation insurance certificate. In North Dakota, this is typically referred to as a Certificate of Payment. This certificate is a single-page document that offers information about your coverage, including details like:

  • Name and address of the insured
  • Name and address of the insurance provider
  • Policy numbers for all relevant coverage
  • Effective date and expiration date for each policy listed

You will be issued this certificate by the state-administered workers’ compensation fund when you purchase or renew your policy, or you can access your Certificate of Payment online

Even though there is only one place you can purchase workers’ compensation insurance in North Dakota, it pays to work with an independent insurance agent. These agents can ensure that you understand the ins and outs of your policy and can help you with any other commercial insurance policies you may need for your business.

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 get more information.

No. Workers' compensation benefits are not considered taxable income on the state or federal level.

What are the best business insurance companies in North Dakota?

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 North Dakota

  • With few exceptions, all employers in North Dakota are required to cover  their employees with a workers' compensation insurance policy issued by the state. Insurance must be purchased prior to the employee's start date.
  • With the exception of necessary emergency treatment, all medical care must be administered by a physician who has been approved by the ND Workforce Safety & Insurance department.
  • When employers are made aware of a work-related injury or occupational illness, they should complete an incident report and submit it to the WSI as soon as possible.
  • Failure to carry required workers' compensation insurance can result in penalties, including paying premium rates for the period in which you were uninsured. You can also be subjected to other fines and interest. If an employee is injured while you are uninsured, you, as the employer, will be liable for their accrued costs.


Common Workers' Compensation Claims in North Dakota

North Dakota consistently ranks among the most dangerous states to work in the United States.


Top 10 most hazardous industries in North Dakota:

  1. Oil and gas extraction
  2. Construction
  3. Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting
  4. Manufacturing
  5. Health care and social assistance
  6. Transportation and material moving
  7. Installation, maintenance, and repair services
  8. Warehousing
  9. Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance
  10. Utilities work


Top 5 worker injuries in North Dakota

  1. Slip, trip, and fall injuries
  2. Motor vehicle accidents
  3. Fractures
  4. Burns
  5. Punctures, cuts, and lacerations

North Dakota leads the country in rates of worker injuries involving bone fractures, amputations, burns, and traumatic injuries.