FAQ: Workers' Compensation Insurance in Rhode Island

Workers' compensation insurance (also referred to as workers' comp) is a commercial insurance policy designed to protect employers and employees alike.

This insurance can provide coverage for medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation services if an employee is injured on the job or is diagnosed with an occupational illness.

Rhode Island workers’ compensation costs are based on the number of employees you have, how much they are paid, the types of jobs, and your company's history of accidents and workers’ compensation claims. 

In Rhode Island, workers’ compensation is managed by the RI Department of Labor and Training. Every type of job is assigned a base rate for coverage according to how dangerous it is. Workers' comp providers must use these base rates but can raise or lower premiums up to 25%.

Let's look at workers' compensation insurance cost ranges for a few different jobs in Rhode Island. These are the rates for every $100 of employee payroll.

  • Lawn service and maintenance workers: $3.21 to $6.08
  • Plumbing contractors: $3.07 to $5.83
  • Roofing contractors: $13.51 to $25.67
  • Retail store workers: $1.56 to $2.96
  • Clerical workers: $0.13 to $0.25
  • Restaurant workers: $1.34 to $2.55

As you can see, workers’ comp rates are higher for jobs with an increased risk of injuries than for jobs with low risk. Companies with a good safety record will pay rates at the lower end of the price range, while those with injury rates surpassing industry averages will pay more.

Rhode Island law requires all employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. There are a few exceptions. For instance, it is not necessary to purchase coverage for:

  • Individual owners and partners
  • Independent contractors
  • Certain real estate, domestic, and agricultural employees

Coverage can be purchased through a commercial provider, the Rhode Island State Insurance Fund, or, with approval, companies can self-insure.

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

The primary coverage offered by workers’ compensation insurance in Rhode Island includes:

  • Medical coverage:  Workers’ comp will fully cover all necessary medical expenses related to the injury or occupational illness.
  • Disability pay: If an employee must take time off work to recuperate from a work-related injury or illness, workers’ compensation can provide disability pay for as long as they are disabled.
  • Death benefits: If injuries sustained by a worker prove fatal, workers’ compensation can help pay for funeral and burial expenses and provide the employee’s spouse and dependent with ongoing death benefits.

Policies can cover additional expenses related to worker injuries. A local independent agent can help you review the coverage offered by various workers’ compensation insurance companies in Rhode Island.

As with any type of insurance coverage, workers' comp has limitations on what it will cover. Sometimes claims are denied. Some of the common reasons for claims denials in Rhode Island include:

  • The claim was filed more than two years after the injury date.
  • The injury was sustained by the employee outside of work.
  • The injury or illness is a preexisting condition.
  • The injury-causing accident occurred while the employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or was committing a serious crime.
  • The injury was intentionally self-inflicted.

If an employee feels that a claim was unjustly denied, they can appeal the decision by filing a petition with the Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Court.


A workers' compensation insurance certificate is a single-page document that provides proof of insurance. Sometimes, prospective clients may request to see this document before they will hire you to do a job. This is particularly true if you are bidding on a government contract.

The workers' compensation insurance certificate includes details like:

  • Name and address of the insured.
  • Name of the insurance company and your policy number(s).
  • Effective date and expiration date of each policy listed.

You will be issued a certificate by your insurer when you purchase or renew your workers’ compensation insurance policy. 

Independent insurance agents in Rhode Island make finding the right workers’ compensation coverage easy. These agents can work with various insurance companies to find you a good policy at a competitive price.

No business is too small to benefit from working with an independent agent. Discover the many advantages of having an experienced insurance professional on your side by arranging an obligation-free consultation with an independent insurance agent near you.

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

What Are the Best Workers' Compensation Insurance Companies in Rhode Island?

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 Rhode Island

  • With few exceptions, all employers in Rhode Island are required to either cover their employees with workers' compensation insurance or qualify to self-insure.
  • All covered employers must display the state-provided workers’ compensation poster in a conspicuous place in the workplace. This poster may be emailed to employees who work remotely. Failure to display this poster can result in a $250 fine.
  • When employers are made aware of a work-related injury or occupational illness, they must report the injury to their workers’ compensation insurance company. Failure to notify your insurance company of injuries can result in a $250 fine.
  • Failure to carry required workers’ compensation insurance can result in fines of $1,000 for each day that the employer was uninsured. Employers may also be charged with a felony, a $10,000 fine, and two years in prison.
  • Businesses that continue to operate without workers’ compensation insurance can be shut down under the authority of the Director of the Department of Labor and Training.


Common Workers' Compensation Claims in Rhode Island

Employers in Rhode Island report around 17,000 worker injuries a year


Top 5 most common worker injuries in Rhode Island:

  1. Sprains, strains, and torn muscles
  2. Soreness and pain
  3. Cuts, lacerations, and punctures
  4. Fractures
  5. Bruises and contusions


Top 10 occupations with the most worker’s comp claims filed in RI:

  1. Couriers and messengers
  2. Transportation and warehousing
  3. Non-residential building construction
  4. Health care and social services
  5. Fabricated metal products manufacturing
  6. Motor vehicle and parts dealers
  7. General merchandise stores
  8. Textile mill work
  9. Paper manufacturing
  10. Heavy and civil engineering construction