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Is Workers' Comp Required in Washington?

Washington Workers Compensation Requirements

    All businesses with one or more full or part-time employees are required to obtain workers compensation insurance. Insurance must be purchased from the State Fund.

    Sole-Proprietors and Partners are automatically excluded from workers' compensation insurance by statute, but they can elect to be covered on a policy.

    Corporate Officers and LLC Members are automatically excluded in coverage, but they may elect to be included for coverage on the application for insurance.

    Companies with one or more full or part-time employees are required to purchase workers compensation insurance in Washington.

Workers' Comp Exemptions in Washington

    Business owners, partners, members and officers are generally excluded from workers comp coverage in Washington. The state has limits on the number of owners that can be excluded and the level of control required in order to be considered an owner.

    Business owners can contact an Employer Services Account Manager at DL&I at 360-902-4817

Workers' Comp Verification

    The state of X provides a free online tool for verifying workers' compensation insurance coverage. Anyone can search by business name or FEIN. The results will only show the business name and policy number for employers who have coverage in the state being searched. The information is managed by the X Department of Labor.

    workers' compensation verification tool

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How is Workers Comp Calculated?

Workers' compensation is a commercial insurance product categorized as Property & Casualty insurance (P&C Insurance). Even though workers comp is calculated using estimated payroll wages and class codes, premium is still a separate business expense from the cost of payroll. Business owners may treat the cost of coverage as an expense on their taxes.

Work comp rates for all job classification codes are always expressed as a percentage of $100 in wages. An annual policy is always subject to an audit because it was based on estimated wages and not actual wages.

Here is an example using two class codes with different estimated payroll for each class code:

Class Code Insurance Companies Rate Per $100 Estimated Annual Payroll Divide Payroll by 100
8810 Clerical $0.28 base manual rate $25,000  (25000 divided by 100) 250
8835 Home Health Care $1.75 base manual rate $100,000  (100000 divided by 100) 1000

In order to calculate the cost of the policy you only need to multiply each rate with its divided payroll. It benefits employers to re-calculate their premium as their payroll becomes larger than originally anticipated.

Class Code Workers Comp Calculator Estimated Premium
8810 Clerical $0.28 X 250 $70.00
8835 Home Health Care $1.75 X 1000 $1,750.00
Workers' Compensation Laws Vary by State

Every state has their own rules for how employees must be covered and how they must be classified for rating premium. A lot of states use state specific class codes and have different requirements for who is obligated to carry workers' compensation insurance coverage.

If you have employees that travel out of state for work, or they work in multiple states throughout the year, you may need to purchase insurance for all the states where your workers are located and working. In most cases, you can add multiple states to one policy.

Workers' Compensation Insurance in Washington can be purchased from private insurance companies authorized by the state to provide coverage. The Assigned Risk Pool, or State Insurance Fund, is available for employers who are unable to find coverage from a private company. can help you navigate your best options.

Policy premium is based on numerous factors including: class codes assigned to your business and employees, estimated payroll, covered states, prior policies, owner experience and previous insurance claims.

See Washington workers' comp insurance rules

What is Covered in Washington?

Washington workers' compensation insurance helps pay claim expenses when an employee, or a covered sub-contractor, is injured while working for your business. It also shields your business from other legal liabilities associated with injured employees. Work comp coverage includes:

Medical Costs

Workers' comp insurance pays for the medical expenses associated with claims or injured workers. The cost of an ER visit, required surgeries and drug prescriptions are some of the covered expenses included under a policy. An employee injured due to a slip and fall would be covered, for example. Covered medical costs can also include longer term expenses such as physical therapy or rehabilitation.

Employee Wages

Most business owners can't afford to continue paying employees if they are unable to work while they are injured. Workers' compensation in Washington will replace most of your employees missing income if they are away from work due to an injury or illness. For example, if a construction employee broke his arm and could not perform the job for 8 weeks, the coverage would make payments to the employee to help replace the lost wages.

Short-Term and Long-Term Disabilities

Sometimes an injury can cause a partial disability or a more permanent disability. Workers' compensation insurance steps in to help pay the cost of ongoing medical bills and may even replace a portion of wages lost due to the disability. If an employee had a finger amputated due to a work-related injury. The employee could be paid a sum for the loss of the finger for permanent disability as well as some temporary disability coverage while recuperating.

Occupational Illness

Some types of work environments can include occupational exposures that have unforeseen circumstances. A chemical mixing operation, for example, may expose employees to chemical irritants and cause harmful reactions that make them sick. A workers' comp policy would cover the cost of treating an illness caused while performing the job.

Funeral Expenses

Nearly 50,000 deaths happen at work each year. Many of these are in the construction and trucking industries. A workers' compensation policy is designed to cover the cost of these funerals and to provide death benefits to the employees family. State guidelines often determine the dollar amount of coverage.

Workers compensation coverage is a No-Fault system designed to prevent costly employee lawsuits related to on-the-job-injuries. Many state provisions include Exclusive Remedy rules that protect covered businesses from these lawsuits in exchange for providing workers' comp coverage for their employees.

Enjoy the benefits of our Pay As You Go Workers' Comp Options in Washington.

The state of Washington is one of the four remaining monopolistic states in the country. This means workers compensation insurance can only be purchased through the Washington State Fund. If you are a Washington employer or you are doing work in the state of Washington you will need to contact the Washington Department of Labor and Industries in order to buy workers compensation coverage:

Although Workers Compensation can't help employers find coverage in the state of Washington, we often help business owners purchase out-of-state workers comp coverage when they hire or send employees to work in another state. Businesses are required to exclusively purchase workers compensation coverage from the State Fund. If you are an Washington employer doing business outside of the state, or you have employees who live outside of Ohio, please contact one of our Work Comp Specialists at 888-611-7467 to find affordable a workers compensation quotes for other states.


Get Better Washington Workers' Compensation Quotes

WA Workers' Comp Specialists

All workers' comp rates are set each year by DL&I. Workers comp rates in Washington will change each year and become effective on January 1st. Employers will typically receive a notice every December with the new rates for each of their classification codes and any changes to their experience modifier.

Help with WA Class Codes

There are about 300 class codes for Washington and insurance rates often vary significantly between employer classification codes. Washington state rates and class codes are published by the Department of Labor and Industries each year. See 2016 Washington State Workers' Compensation Rates.

Fast Workers' Comp Quotes

In other non-monopolistic states, most workers comp policies can be written to provide multi-state coverage with other states coverage listed in section 3a on the policy. This endorses other states onto the insurance coverage. Contact us today if you do work outside of Washington or hire employees in other states.

Compare Rates With More Carriers

We're a National Agency, and we have tons of carriers offering work comp in Washington. We have access to over 35 insurance companies with a diverse appetite and competitive rates. Our markets know we expect the lowest rates, bigger discounts, and more policy credits when we request a quote.



Did you know that the cost of a workers comp policy in Washington can vary significantly between insurance company, underwriter, and insurance agency?
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Visit NCCI for more resources and information about workers' compensation class codes. Visit United States Department of Labor for more information about government agencies managing workers compensation insurance rates.

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