Rhode Island Workers' Compensation Insurance

Your Guide to Workers’ Comp Insurance in Rhode Island

Find the right workers' compensation insurance policy for you.

Rhode Island Workers Compensation Insurance

Over the last few years, Rhode Island has paid out $2.904 billion in workers' comp claims. Unfortunately work-related injuries and illnesses happen all the time, from the minor slips to severe, chronic illnesses.

Having the right workers' comp coverage is crucial for protecting your business from workplace incidents. For help navigating workers' comp insurance coverage, find a local independent agent.

Workers' Compensation Coverages/Non-Coverages in Rhode Island

When employees get injured on the job, they need financial assistance to help cover their medical expenses. Workers' compensation insurance exists for just that purpose, to help employees pay for workplace injuries and illnesses. Workers' comp also protects employers from lawsuits stemming from these incidents.

Here's a closer look at what workers' compensation covers and does not cover in the state of Rhode Island.

Workers' comp covers the following

  • Traumatic injuries
  • Injuries due to repetitive actions
  • Some mental injuries and illnesses
  • Occupational diseases

Here's a real-life example of coverage

A Rhode Island security guard gets attacked by an aggressive dog while working a shift. The worker gets taken to the hospital to be treated for their bite wounds. With a workers' comp policy, the employee's medical treatments and other costs would be taken care of.

Workers' comp doesn't cover

  • Intentional or malicious employee acts
  • Injuries or illnesses that happen off the clock
  • Injuries or illnesses that happen to intoxicated employees
Workers' Compensation Coverage Covered Not Covered
Traumatic injuries
Covered by Worker's Compensation
Repetitive-type injuries
Covered by Worker's Compensation
Certain mental injuries
Covered by Worker's Compensation
Occupational diseases
Covered by Worker's Compensation
Employee illnesses or injuries sustained outside of work
Not covered by Worker's Compensation
Accidents that occur while an employee is intoxicated
Not covered by Worker's Compensation
Intentional employee injuries to themselves at the workplace
Not covered by Worker's Compensation

An independent insurance agent can further break down what workers' comp covers and excludes in Rhode Island.

Why Do You Need Workers' Compensation Insurance in Rhode Island?

Businesses need workers' comp insurance for many reasons. If your business has employees at all, it's likely a required coverage by your state. Your business is also protected against financial losses by having the right workers' comp policy.

Workers' comp is usually mandatory right after hiring an employee. Having coverage in place before workers get injured or ill on the job will protect your business from being held financially liable. Coverage kicks in for workplace incidents only after you've purchased a policy.

What Consequences Could You Face if You Don’t Have Workers’ Compensation in Rhode Island?

Without workers' comp to protect your business, you could end up facing fines, jail time, or even harsher legal consequences. A mistake some businesses make is viewing workers' comp as an optional coverage if they have arguably safe operations, but having a policy provides critical financial protection after an incident.

With some exceptions, Rhode Island state law requires businesses with four or more employees, full-time or part-time, to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If your Rhode Island business lacks the proper coverage, it can be fined $1,000 for each day without coverage. Your business may be convicted of a felony and be hit by a $10,000 fine and up to a two-year jail sentence. A cease and desist order may even be placed on your business.

What Are Rhode Island Workers' Compensation Laws?

Rhode Island requires most employers, with limited exceptions, that have four or more employees to have workers' comp insurance. Rhode Island uses a no-fault workers' comp system, like many other states, which entitles injured or ill employees to receive compensation for their injuries or illness, no matter who's at fault.

Injured or ill employees in Rhode Island can be eligible for medical benefits as well as temporary compensation in certain cases. Injured or ill employees may also be eligible for job retraining and permanent compensation benefits, in severe cases.

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How Much Does Rhode Island Workers' Comp Cost?

Workers’ compensation insurance in Rhode Island is more expensive for industries and occupations that have a higher risk of occupational injuries or illnesses. Workers' comp premiums are determined by how many employees a business has, the types of jobs their employees perform, and the business's existing history of accidents and prior workers’ comp claims. 

The National Council for Compensation Insurance (NCCI) assigns classification codes for each occupation. Every class code is given a recommended base rate for workers’ comp. To calculate the total premium, an employer’s annual payroll at the beginning of the policy period is divided by 100, and then multiplied by the base rate.

Consider this example:

  • Premium: $50,000 
  • Mod: 0.75 (25% premium credit)
  • Premium with mod credit applied: $37,500
  • Premium: $50,000
  • Mod: 1.0 
  • Premium is not adjusted: $50,000
  • Premium: $50,000 
  • Mod: 1.25 (25% premium surcharge/debit)
  • Premium with mod debit applied: $62,500

Many employers in Rhode Island have workers with more than one classification. These classifications and associated premiums are combined to determine the business's annual workers’ comp premium

Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Base Rate Examples

Rates for workers' comp in Rhode Island vary by insurance company. The NCCI determines the base rates for every Rhode Island class code. The state assigns a minimum and maximum rate for businesses in each industry classification. 

Consider these sample base rates (rate per $100 of employer payroll)

  • 0042 Landscaping: $4.71
  • 5183 Plumbing: $3.07
  • 5645 Carpentry / Construction: $6.51
  • 8017 Retail Store: $1.56
  • 8810 Clerical: $0.13
  • 9082 Restaurant: $1.34

The best way to lower your workers’ comp rates is by establishing and maintaining a low experience modification factor by safeguarding your employees against potential injuries and illnesses. 

Workers' Comp Cost per Employee in Rhode Island 

Higher company payrolls as well as businesses with high employee counts usually pay much more for workers' comp. Here's a breakdown of workers' comp costs by payroll range in different industries.

Annual Workers' Comp Cost per Employee

Industry Lower Cost Medium Cost Upper Cost
Construction $2,059 $3,946 $15,100
Finance and Insurance $678 $1,224 $4,482
Hotels / Motels $497 $1,117 $4,720
Manufacturing and Food Production $880 $1,673 $6,360
Professional and Technical Services $637 $1,260 $4,929
Real Estate $100 $199 $893
Restaurants and Taverns $202 $450 $1,895
Retail Trade $388 $745 $2,852
Transportation and Warehousing $1,517 $2,988 $11,646

Inversely, businesses with low incident records and a higher rate of safety pay much less for workers' comp. Insurance companies have complex formulas to reset your rates after an accident, which can lead to a noticeable spike in your premiums.

Best Workers' Comp Companies in Rhode Island

Workers' comp is available from many different insurance companies in Rhode Island. Here are just a few of our top picks for quality workers' comp insurance carriers.

Top Workers' Compensation Insurance Companies Star Rating
5 star rating
Liberty Mutual
4.5/5 star rating
Builders & Tradesmen's Insurance
4.5/5 star rating
5 star rating
Beacon Mutual Insurance Company

An independent insurance agent can help you further research these workers' comp companies and get matched to the carrier who best meets your business's needs at the most affordable rate.

Top Six Most Common Workers' Comp Claims/Injuries

Top 6 Most Common Workers Comp Claims
  1. Lacerations: Or, deep cuts. Especially common in the restaurant and manufacturing fields, these can really happen in any field. 
  2. Sprains/strains: Especially common in job settings where lots of twisting and turning is required, these injuries can also really happen in any field.
  3. Contusions: Or, bruises and other marks on the skin caused by impact. These injuries usually occur due to dropped objects, improper lifting techniques, or collisions with an object.
  4. Burns: Especially prevalent in restaurants, construction businesses, bakeries, and more, burns can occur in any industry with a heat source.
  5. Eye injuries: Especially prevalent in industries that require the use of chemicals, including manufacturing, painting, and construction.
  6. Fractures: Especially common in industries requiring lots of movement and  heavy machinery operation, but fractures can happen in any industry.

Why Are Independent Insurance Agents Awesome?

It’s simple. Independent insurance agents simplify the process by shopping and comparing insurance quotes for you. Not only that, but they’ll also cut the jargon and clarify the fine print, so you know exactly what you’re getting.

There’s no business too small for our independent insurance agents. They have access to multiple insurance companies, ultimately finding you the best workers' comp coverage and competitive pricing while working for you.

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TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin

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