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 Virginia

  • With very few exceptions, all Virginia businesses with two or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance.
  • Out-of-state employers are required to cover employees working in Virginia. This can be done by adding a Virginia endorsement to their existing policy in most cases.
  • Workers’ compensation costs may not be deducted from the employee’s wages.
  • All employers in the state are required to post a workers’ compensation notice (VWC Form 1) in a conspicuous location at the workplace to notify employees of their compliance with the Workers’ Compensation Act and to provide information about their rights and responsibilities if they are injured on the job.
  • All employers in the state are required to report all work-related injuries, occupational illnesses, and deaths sustained by their employees to their workers’ compensation company within ten days of being notified.
  • Failure to carry required workers’ compensation insurance can result in civil penalty fines of $250 for each day the employer was uninsured, up to a maximum of $50,000. Additionally, the employer can be held liable for all costs incurred by injured workers while uninsured.
  • Continued failure to carry workers’ compensation insurance can result in the state shutting the business down and filing criminal charges against the employer and corporate officers.

Common Workers' Compensation Claims in Virginia

Insurance companies in Virginia pay out nearly $140 million a year in workers’ compensation claims.

Top 5 Most Reported Worker Injuries in Virginia

  1. Shoulder injuries: These can include sprains, strains, contusions, and rotator cuff injuries.
  2. Lower back injuries: These are most commonly caused by overexertion while lifting, carrying, or falling.
  3. Knee injuries: There are many ways that a worker can injure their knee on the job. These injuries frequently result in significant loss of mobility while healing and often require surgery.
  4. Concussions: Head injuries can be caused by falls, collisions with objects, falling objects, and machinery malfunctions. They often require significant time off work.
  5. Punctures, cuts, and lacerations: These injuries often require immediate treatment to obtain stitches and tetanus shots.

Top 5 Most Hazardous Occupations in Virginia:

  1. Logging
  2. Fishing
  3. Aviation
  4. Roofing
  5. Trash collection

There are around 75,000 workers' compensation insurance claims filed in Virginia every year.

FAQ: Workers' Compensation Insurance in Virginia

Workers' compensation insurance is a no-fault system of insurance designed to protect employers and the people who work for them.

It shields employers from financial losses and potential liability lawsuits if an employee is severely injured on the job or is stricken with an occupational illness. 

It protects employees by ensuring that they will have full coverage for all necessary medical care and related expenses if they are injured on the job and won't suffer a significant financial setback due to lost wages.

The good news is that workers’ compensation rates in Virginia are among the lowest in the country. Costs are based primarily on the number of employees you have, how much they are paid, the types of jobs they perform, and your company's history of accidents and workers’ compensation claims. 

The Virginia Bureau of Insurance in the State Corporation Commission oversees workers’ compensation insurance. The commission assigns every occupation a base rate for coverage according to the likelihood that an employee will be severely injured while doing it.

Insurance companies are required to use these base rates, but they can make adjustments up to 25% through policy credits or debits. The following are examples of workers' compensation cost ranges per $100 of employer payroll in Virginia:

  • Landscapers:  $3.76 to $5.47
  • Tree trimmers, removers, and pruners:  $6.97 to $10.12
  • Plumbing contractors:  $2.41 to $3.50
  • Roofing contractors:  $11.84 to $17.20
  • Retail store workers:  $0.95 to $1.38
  • Clerical/office employees: $0.07 to $0.10
  • Restaurant workers:  $0.99 to $1.44

Employers who have a solid history of employee safety will pay rates at the lower end. In comparison, those whose worker injuries exceed industry expectations will pay rates at the higher end of the cost range.

To determine how much workers’ compensation insurance will cost for your Virginia business, you can consult a local independent agent.

Virginia state law requires all businesses with two or more employees to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover all employees, including full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary workers and family members, trainees, and minors.

There are very few exceptions. In Virginia, it is not necessary to purchase coverage for:

  • Businesses with fewer than two employees
  • Non-compensated officers of a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation
  • Non-compensated officers of property owners’ associations
  • Household/domestic workers hired by the homeowner (Businesses that employ people to do work in people’s homes must have coverage.)

In Virginia, workers' compensation insurance can only be purchased from a commercial provider licensed to write policies in the state. There is no state-administered fund.  With approval, financially sound businesses may opt to self-insure.

In Virginia, workers' compensation insurance can cover employees who are injured on the job or who are diagnosed with an occupational illness by paying for:

  • Medical care:  With the exception of life-threatening emergency treatments, all medical care should be obtained through or authorized by an approved doctor or specialist. All authorized care will be covered in full, including:
    • Doctor’s visits
    • Hospital stays
    • Medical tests
    • Physical therapy
    • Prescription drugs
    • Prostheses
  • Mileage reimbursement: Employees may receive mileage reimbursement for trips to and from visits to an authorized doctor.
  • Wage replacement: Workers' compensation can provide different types of disability pay:
    • Temporary total disability:  Employees on doctor’s orders to take time off work while they are healing may collect compensation of two-thirds of their average pay over the prior year until their doctor releases them to return to work.
    • Temporary partial disability: Employees who can return to work for limited hours or in a reduced capacity can receive compensation for the difference between their wages before the incident and what they are currently earning.
    • Permanent total disability:  Employees who suffer permanent disabling injuries that leave them unable to work in any capacity can receive disability payments for the rest of their lives.
    • Permanent partial disability: Employees who suffer permanent disabling injuries such as a loss of a limb or disfigurement but who can still work may receive compensation based on their impairment rating.
  • Death benefits: In the event of work-related death, workers’ compensation can cover burial expenses up to $10,000, reasonable transportation expenses up to $1,000, and ongoing payment to the deceased employee’s spouse and dependents.

Workers’ compensation covers most worker injuries, but it does have some exclusions.

Workers' compensation insurance will not cover claims involving:

  • Injuries and illnesses that the employee failed to report to their employer within 30 days
  • Injuries that did not occur while the employee was on the job
  • Accidents that occurred while the injured employee was under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol
  • Intentionally self-inflicted injuries
  • Injuries that occurred while the employee was engaged in horseplay or committing a serious crime
  • Acute, common illnesses like influenza, headaches, and colds
  • Claims for pain and suffering

It is always a good idea to review what your policy will and will not cover when you make a purchase. This information should be communicated to your employees.

Contractors often have to provide prospective clients with proof of workers’ compensation coverage. Showing proof of insurance is mandatory for businesses trying to win a contract with a governmental entity in Virginia.

If you are asked for proof of coverage in, you will need a Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Insurance. To obtain this certificate, you must request one by filing Form 61A with the VA Workers’ Compensation Commission. When completing this form, you will need to provide details such as:

  • Your name (and/or your business name)
  • Your address
  • Your workers’ compensation insurance company and their 5-digit NCCI carrier code
  • Your policy number(s)
  • Your policy’s effective and end dates

These forms must be signed and dated by the contractor making the request. Once your application is reviewed and approved, you will be issued a Certificate of Workers' Compensation Insurance.

Independent insurance agents make it easy to find the best workers’ compensation coverage. These agents are free to work with several competing insurers, so they can present you with policies and rates from various highly rated insurance companies that specialize in covering businesses in your industry.

No business in Virginia is too small to benefit from having the help of an independent agent. Arrange an obligation-free consultation with an independent insurance agent near you to compare customized quotes.

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

What Are the Best Workers' Compensation Insurance Companies in Virginia?