Knoxville Workers' Compensation Insurance

Find the right workers' compensation insurance policy for you.

Written by Meg Stefanac
Written by Meg Stefanac

Financial blogger and business owner, Meg Stefanac, has more than 15 years experience working in the financial services industry and enjoys helping individuals make solid financial decisions. Meg has extensive experience writing about insurance and finances and is a key contributor to


Knoxville is home to a diverse range of businesses that support a large number of different jobs. Some of these jobs are more dangerous than others; and sometimes, employees get hurt while working. Fortunately, employers in Knoxville can keep workplace injuries from leading to large financial losses by investing in a suitable workers’ compensation insurance policy. A local independent insurance agent can help you find the best coverage for your Knoxville business. Find an insurance agent near you to learn more.

Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance Required in Knoxville, TN?

Employers in Knoxville are required to comply with Tennessee’s workers’ compensation coverage laws. Failure to do so can lead to large financial penalties and even the forced closure of the business. You are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance if you meet any of the following criteria: 

  • You have at least five employees, including part-time workers and family members.
  • You own a construction business with any number of employees.
  • Your own a business in the coal mining industry with any number of employees.

You are not required to purchase coverage for sole proprietors, LLC members, corporate officers, or partners,  but you do have the option to do so if you wish.

How Much Does Workers' Comp Insurance Cost in Knoxville?

Workman’s compensation costs are based on your company’s overall payroll and the types of jobs your workers do. Of course, every business is different. So, as with business insurance policies, workers’ compensation rates can vary significantly from one employer to the next. Every type of job is given a classification code; the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development sets rates for each class code according to the job’s associated risks. 

Insurers are required to use these rates as a starting point and can offer their own discounts according to your company’s safety rating, claims history, and experience modification. That is why comparing quotes is beneficial. The following are the average rates paid per every $100,000 in employee payroll for the top three business industries in Knoxville, TN:

  • Retail Trade: $1,230 a year
  • Accommodation and Food Services: $1,620 a year
  • Educational Services: $980 a year

These are just average rates. Your actual costs can vary according to more specific information regarding the jobs your workers do. Retail jobs that have a night shift may have more inherent hazards than those that are located in a shopping mall. More dangerous jobs like those in the construction or manufacturing industries would have much higher rates. Talk to an independent insurance agent in Knoxville to learn how much workers’ compensation will cost for you.

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Does Workers’ Compensation Pay for the Cost of Medical Treatment in Knoxville, TN?

If an employee is injured while working or becomes ill from exposure to toxins in the workplace, they are entitled to have their medical treatment covered in full. Workers' compensation will cover the cost of medical treatment, follow-up care, medications, and any other expenses necessary for your employee to heal. As the employer, you can choose which doctors your workers can go to for their care. 

The only exception is for injuries that require immediate care. In that case, a visit to the nearest emergency room will be covered. If your employee must travel more than 15 miles one way to receive treatment from an authorized physician or a necessary specialist, workers’ compensation can also provide reimbursement for their mileage and various travel expenses like meals and accommodations.

Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Provide Disability Benefits in Knoxville, TN?

Workers’ compensation provides disability coverage. This is designed to replace lost wages if an employee must take more than seven days off work to recuperate from a work-related injury or illness. Temporary disability coverage can provide injured employees with 2/3 of their average weekly wages for the entire time they are off work under doctor’s orders. Your employees may be approved by a physician to return for light-duty work while recuperating. In that case, they must report for this work or risk losing their disability benefits. 

Typically, light-duty work pays less than these workers had previously been earning. Workers’ compensation insurance bridges the income gap by covering 2/3 of the difference in pay. If an injury causes an employee to be deemed permanently disabled, workers’ compensation can pay out a lump-sum settlement payment. This will provide the injured worker with 450 weeks’ worth of compensation in an amount that is based on their previous earnings and their impairment rating.

Knoxville Workers' Compensation Covers Workplace Fatalities 

Sadly, employees sometimes suffer fatal injuries on the job. From collisions, while transporting goods to tragic accidents at building sites, these accidental deaths are a sad fact of life. Workers’ compensation insurance can help ease the financial burden placed on surviving family members by providing them with compensation. Following a job-related fatality, workers’ compensation insurance will cover up to $10,000 in burial costs. It also provides compensation to family members as follows:

  • If the worker had a spouse but no dependent children, the spouse is entitled to a weekly benefit of 1/2 of the employee’s average weekly wages.
  • If the worker had a spouse and at least one dependent child, the spouse is entitled to a weekly benefit of 2/3 of the employee’s average weekly wages.
  • If the worker had no spouse or dependents, a lump sum of $20,000 will be given to the employee’s estate.

What Does Workers’ Compensation Not Cover in Tennessee?

Workers’ compensation claims are sometimes denied. This may happen if the insurance company believes that the injury did not occur on the job, or if there is reason to suspect that the injury was intentionally self-inflicted or that the employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident. Employee refusal to use provided safety equipment can also result in a denied claim.

Additionally, workers’ compensation does not cover injuries that occur during voluntary recreational activities hosted by your company. So if you put together an employee softball match and a worker is injured while playing, that would not be covered. If you feel that a workers’ compensation claim was unjustly denied, or an employee is unhappy with a proposed settlement amount, you can challenge the decision by contacting the Tennessee Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and filing an appeal.

Find the Best Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Knoxville, TN

If you are looking for workers’ compensation insurance, a local independent agent can help you find an affordable policy. These agents can match you up with insurance companies that specialize in covering businesses in your industry and can help you compare customized quotes from each of them. Discover the many benefits of working with a local, independent insurance agent. 

Contact an insurance agent in or near Knoxville to get started.

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