West Virginia Workers' Compensation Insurance

Your Guide to Workers' Comp Insurance in West Virginia

Learn how to find the right workers' compensation for you.


More than $2.5 billion in workers' comp claims were paid out in West Virginia in recent years alone. Since job place injuries and illnesses happen every day, ranging from minor to severe, having the right workers' comp coverage is critical to protect your business. For help navigating workers comp insurance coverage, find a local independent agent.

Workers' Compensation Coverages/Non-Coverages in West Virginia

Medical bills are expensive, and injured or ill employees need help covering theirs after a workplace disaster. Workers’ comp not only provides critical protection for employees against unexpected medical expenses, but also for employers against employee lawsuits after these incidents.

Here's a simple breakdown of what workers' compensation covers and does not cover in the state of West Virginia.

Workers' comp covers the following:

  • Injuries caused by repetitive motion
  • Occupational illnesses and diseases
  • Various mental injuries and illnesses
  • Traumatic injuries

Here's a real-life example of coverage:

A contractor in West Virginia comes down with a sudden illness due to their job environment. The worker needs continuous medication and several doctor's visits. Having the right workers' comp policy would help cover related medical treatments and associated costs.

Workers' comp insurance excludes the following:

  • Employee illnesses or injuries that happen outside of work
  • Intentional or malicious acts by employees
  • Injury or illness 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 doesn't cover in West Virginia.

Why Do You Need Workers Compensation Insurance in West Virginia?

Both financially and legally, your business can end up in serious trouble without workers' comp coverage. This insurance is actually required by law, at least in most states. Your business might end up facing fines, jail time, or worse, if it fails to obtain coverage.

Businesses are typically required to have coverage immediately when hiring its team. It's important to be equipped with workers' comp before your workers ever have a chance to get injured or ill on the job. Without workers' comp, your business is at risk of costly employee lawsuits after any job-related injuries or illnesses.

What Consequences Could You Face if You Don’t Have Workers’ Compensation in West Virginia?

Some businesses make the costly mistake of considering workers' comp insurance to be an optional coverage if their operations or workplace are arguably safe. But businesses lacking this coverage can be shut down by the state, face hefty fines, or even jail sentences.

In West Virginia, workers' comp is mandatory for businesses with one or more employees. Businesses that refuse to obtain the required coverage can be subject to fines of up to $25,000, and can even be ordered to shut down by the state.

West Virginia Workers’ Compensation Laws and Regulations

West Virginia requires all businesses, regardless of the number of employees, to carry a workers’ compensation policy. The employees may be part-time or full-time. 

As with most states, West Virginia’s workers’ compensation program is a no-fault system. Employees are guaranteed benefits regardless of who's at fault if they get injured on the job. Employers are exempt from employee lawsuits in exchange for these guaranteed benefits.

How Much Will I Pay for Workers’ Comp Insurance in West Virginia?

West Virginia uses the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) classification system to set class codes for employees. The West Virginia Office of the Insurance Commissioner sets the base rates for each class code, as well as experience modifier rates. 

Base rates are designed to reflect how dangerous a particular job is compared to other professions. High-risk jobs carry a higher base rate for workers’ compensation premiums compared to careers considered less dangerous, with lower accident rates. 

Consider the following example: 

  • West Virginia Classification Code: 5022 Masonry
  • Base Rate: $5.08
  • Employer Payroll: Example: $100,000
  • Premium Calculation: $5.08 per $100 or 5.08% of payroll
  • Estimated Annual Premium: $5,080

In most cases, a business will have more than one class of employee. A mason may work for a construction company that also employs heavy equipment drivers, as well as admin office personnel, etc. 

All these employees would fall under different class codes. To calculate the premium for this business, the various class codes and premiums have to be totaled. 

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Recent West Virginia Base Rate Examples

West Virginia secures its workers' comp rates from the NCCI's guidelines. The state assigns a minimum and maximum rate for each industry classification. While the NCCI sets a base rate for each class code, rates will vary by insurance company underwriting standards. 

Consider the following sample base rates (rate per $100 of employer payroll):

  • 0042 Landscaping $3.62
  • 3632 Machine Shop $2.21
  • 3821 Salvage Yard  $3.03
  • 5022 Masonry  $5.08
  • 5183 Plumbing  $1.32
  • 5190 Electrical  $1.43
  • 5221 Concrete Construction $2.14
  • 5437 Carpentry/trim  $3.94
  • 5474 Painting  $3.14

Workers' Comp Cost Per Employee in West Virginia

Business with higher payrolls are more expensive to insure, and thus pay more for workers' comp coverage. Here's a breakdown of how workers' comp costs vary by payroll range in each specific industry below.

Annual Workers' Comp Cost Per Employee

Industry Lower Cost Medium Cost Upper Cost
Construction $1,699 $3,255 $12,455
Finance and Insurance $560 $1,010 $3,697
Hotels / Motels $410 $922 $3,893
Manufacturing and Food Production $726 $1,380 $5,247
Professional and Technical Services $525 $1,040 $4,066
Real Estate $95 $188 $737
Restaurants and Taverns $167 $372 $1,563
Retail Trade $320 $615 $2,352
Transportation and Warehousing $1,251 $2,464 $9,606

With a great safety track-record and low accident history, your business will pay less for workers' comp coverage. That said, insurance companies can reset your rates after a workplace incident, most likely leading to a hefty increase in your premiums.

Best Workers' Comp Companies in West Virginia

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

Top Workers' Compensation Insurance Companies Star Rating
Liberty Mutual 
4.5/5 star rating
The Hanover Insurance Group
5 star rating
5 star rating
5 star rating
5 star rating

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

Top 6 Most Common Workers' Comp Claims/Injuries

Top 6 Most Common Workers Comp Claims
  1. Lacerations: Exceptionally frequent in the restaurant and manufacturing fields, deep cuts can occur in any industry. 
  2. Sprains/strains: Exceptionally frequent in job settings where lots of twisting and turning is required, sprains and strains can happen in any industry.
  3. Contusions: Usually stemming from dropped objects, improper lifting, or collisions, contusions leave painful bruises or other marks on the skin.
  4. Burns: Exceptionally frequent in restaurants, construction businesses, bakeries, etc., burns can happen in any industry that uses heat.
  5. Eye injuries: Exceptionally frequent in industries that use harsh chemicals like manufacturing, painting, and construction, eye injuries can happen in a wide variety of fields.
  6. Fractures: Exceptionally frequent in industries requiring lots of movement and heavy machinery operation, fractures can also 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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