Workers Compensation Insurance NC

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Contributor, Benzinga
Updated: September 24, 2021

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Protecting yourself, your employees and your business with workers compensation insurance is pivotal, particularly if you run a business in a high risk industry. We’ve researched the best workers’ compensation insurance NC available in the state of North Carolina to help you keep your employees and business safe when tragic and unexpected events happen on the job.

What is Workers’ Comp Insurance?

Workers’ compensation, usually referred to as workers’ comp, is insurance offered by employers to compensate their employees if an injury occurs at work. For example, if an employee slips and falls while working, workers’ compensation insurance could pay for injuries and lost wages.

The Best Workers Compensation Insurance in NC

  • The Hartford Workers Comp
    More Details
    Same Day Coverage?
    Online Application?
    securely through The Hartford Workers Comp's website
    More Details
  • CoverWallet SBI (MediaAlpha)
    More Details
    Best For
    Start-ups, the self-employed and small businesses
    Overall Rating
    Read Review
    More Details
  • Hiscox
    More Details
    Online Application?
    securely through Hiscox's website
    More Details
  • Progressive Workers Comp
    Same Day Coverage?
    Online Application?
    securely through Progressive Workers Comp's website

North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Insurance: An Overview

In North Carolina, nearly all employers must have workers’ comp to protect employees in case they’re injured on the job. There are some exceptions, though. Here’s a quick look at rates for North Carolina workers’ compensation insurance:

  • Number of fatal injuries annually: 5,190 
  • Employers cost per $100 of covered payroll: $1.06
  • National ranking (1= largest % increase from 2012–2016): 33 
  • Low rate per $100 in payroll: $.10 
  • High rate per $100 in payroll: $34.06

How Does NC Workers’ Compensation Law Work?

North Carolina laws for Workmans Comp are comparable to many other states.

The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act requires all businesses that employ 3 or more employees to obtain workers’ comp insurance or qualify as self-insured employers. Businesses with these requirements include corporations, sole proprietorships, limited liability companies and partnerships.

There are some exceptions to this requirement. Those workers include:

  • Employees of some railroads
  • Domestic servants employed by a household
  • Farm laborers when less than 10 full-time are regularly employed by the same employer
  • Casual employees who don’t work directly for the trade, business or profession or occupation of the employer
  • Federal government employees in North Carolina
  • Sellers of agricultural products for producers on commission or for compensation paid by the producer, and if the product is prepared for sale by the producer

Businesses that have employees working in activities that involve the use or presence of radiation are required to have workers’ compensation coverage.

People who are considered sole proprietors, members of LLCs and partners are not automatically considered employees. Additionally, corporate officers may choose to be excluded from coverage but are still counted to determine if a business has 3 or more employees. People with executive officers, directors or committee members of a non-profit organization also don’t have to be counted as employees as long as they meet state statute requirements.

An employer may be liable for work-related injuries of a subcontractor’s employees if the subcontractor does not have workers’ compensation insurance. That’s the case regardless of how many employees your company or the subcontractor’s company employs. 

Employers who fail to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance may face stiff financial penalties and also:

  • Be charged with a misdemeanor
  • Be charged with a felony
  • Be imprisoned

If you choose to become self-insured, your company must first qualify through the state and your company’s financial solvency will need to be assessed. To see if your business qualifies, contact the state Department of Insurance at 919-807-6750.

If your business qualifies to become self-insured, each self-insured business must financially contribute to the state’s self-insurance pool. You can get a list of self-insured funds in North Carolina by calling the Department of Insurance at 919-807-6750.

You also may get your questions answered about the state’s worker compensation laws and policies by calling the Department of Insurance from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, but the office cannot provide you with legal advice.

Employer Cost for Workers’ Compensation

North Carolina is a competitive rating state for workers’ compensation. Rates for the state are set by the North Carolina Industrial Commission. Here are workers' compensation insurance rates for 2019:

Class CodeClass Code DescriptionRateAnnual PayState FeeAnnual Employer Premium
0042Landscape architect$3.88/$10.60$48,288$250$10,617.85 - $26,842.65
5022Masonry$6.45/$17.61$29,427$250$10,740.20 - $27,160.45
8017Retail store$1.30/$3.55$25,422$250$2,902.45 - $5,762.40
9014Janitorial cleaning$2.25/$6.14$28,641$250$4,472.10 - $10,042.80
9516Electrical equipment service & repair$4.18/$11.42$44,865$250$10,626.80 - $26,867.90

*This table assumes the employer has 5 employees with an experience modifier of 1 and a state fee of $250*

What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover in NC?

Workers’ compensation pays for medical expenses and lost wages resulting from an accidental injury that arises during employment. Whether insurance would cover injuries under workers’ comp is dependent on these facts.

In addition to wage reimbursement and medical/hospital bills, the best workers’ comp insurance in North Carolina will provide benefits for the following:

Temporary total disability: This type of injury results in the employee being unable to complete their job functions temporarily. In these cases, employees are entitled to 66.66% of their average weekly pay, up to the maximum amount allowed by North Carolina law.

Temporary partial disability: If an injury results in an employee temporarily unable to complete their full job functions but can work in a reduced capacity, this is said to be a temporary partial disability. With this type of injury, an employee can receive a reduced benefit of 66.66% of the difference between their average weekly pay before the disability occurred and their average weekly pay after. However, injured employees are subject to a maximum of 500 weeks.

Permanent total disability: As the name suggests, this type of injury results in the employee being totally disabled on a permanent basis. These are the more severe injuries that usually include the loss of use of arms, hands, legs or feet. In these cases, employees can receive 66.66% percent of their average weekly pay for the rest of their lives.

Permanent partial disability: These types of injuries result in an employee who has recovered from an injury but is left partially incapacitated. Benefits for eligible employees will depend on the type and extent of the disability.

How to Compare Workers’ Comp Insurance in North Carolina

While price is most often a consideration when comparing workers’ comp insurance, don’t forget to take a company’s customer or claims service into account. We recommend researching customer reviews to determine whether a company will be easy to work with.

Because workers’ compensation is an auditable policy, you will be communicating with the insurer regularly. So, it’s vital to have a good relationship with whichever company you choose.

Reviewing a company’s financial rating is also a great idea to ensure its solvency. AM Best and Demotech Inc. are some examples of rating agencies used to measure the financial strength of insurance companies.

A quick search on the insurance company’s website will usually provide this rating. Be sure to keep these tips in mind when comparing companies to ensure you find the best workers’ comp insurance in North Carolina.

How to Buy Workers’ Comp Insurance in North Carolina

Whether you are bundling your workers’ comp insurance with other business insurance or just looking for a standalone policy, the process is the same. First, keep in mind that North Carolina does not require workers’ compensation for businesses with less than 3 employees, either full or part time. While it’s still a great idea for you to offer this coverage for your employees, it is not a law to do so if you have less than 3 employees.

Once you determine your need for workers’ comp insurance, gather a rough estimate of your total payroll for all employees, as this information is needed for quotes. From here, you can start to obtain some pricing.

Compare quotes from multiple providers to find your best rate. And don’t shy away from asking questions -- most companies will have insurance agents or customer service reps at your service. 

Best Workers’ Compensation Insurance in North Carolina

Protecting your employees and your company with workers’ comp insurance is critical in the Tar Heel State. If a major incident occurs and your company is not covered, it could mean stiff penalties, a felony offense and even imprisonment. Here are our picks for the best workers’ compensation insurance in North Carolina:

The Hartford Business Insurance
Best For
  • Comprehensive coverage/Business Owners' Policy
securely through The Hartford Business Insurance's website

1. The Hartford: Best Overall

With more than 200 years of experience, The Hartford is selected among the nation’s top workers’ comp insurance carriers. The insurer is considered the best choice for worker’s compensation policies because of its preferred medical provider network with more than 1 million providers who treat workplace injuries.

It also offers more than 65,000 pharmacies in the U.S. to fill prescriptions usually with no out-of-pocket expense for injured workers, and a network of nurse care managers to help coordinate the injured workers’ care with doctors and therapists.

The Hartford offers companies pay-as-you-go billing solutions based on actual payroll, which can help manage cash flow and reduce audit surprises.

securely through AIG's website

2. AIG: Best for Casualty Risk Consulting

AIG focuses on keeping your employees protected and secure, preventing accidents in your company and providing for workers after they are injured. The carrier provides counsel from industry specialists charged with finding solutions to prevent workplace accidents.

It also offers team members who are committed to ensuring workers get the right care to help get them back on the job as quickly as possible. AIG’s professionals use data-driven insights and state-of-the-art safety technology to help companies reduce risk, keep employees safe and prevent workplace accidents.

Progressive Workers Comp
Best For
  • Bundling commercial policies
securely through Progressive Workers Comp's website

3. Progressive: Best for Packages

Progressive offers small businesses a variety of insurance solutions through its Progressive Advantage Business Program. The program is underwritten by a group of selectively chosen carriers. That makes getting a quote easy over the phone with a trained expert or through our partners.

Your needs are met by experts who are committed to offering you the best insurance policy that is tailored specifically for your company. Cost for Progressive’s commercial insurance policies range from $22 to more than $179 per month, depending on your industry, number of employees, payroll, claims history and other factors.

Liberty Mutual
Best For
  • Total car replacement or better car upgrade collision coverage

4. Liberty Mutual: Best for Protection

In the unfortunate event that an employee gets hurt on the job, every minute your company loses productivity ultimately impacts the bottom line. Liberty Mutual has a reputation for processing and closing claims faster and cheaper than the industry average.

That means your employee will have fewer days off the job and a reduced cost of risk for your company. With Liberty Mutual’s workers’ compensation insurance, your company can be assured that claims will be resolved efficiently and quickly. Your injured employees will receive medications without paying out-of-pocket expenses for medications and treated by a network of local medical providers.

Best For
  • Staying compliant with state and federal regulations
securely through biBERK's website

4. biBERK: Best for Savings

When a company is backed by Berkshire Hathaway, owned by chairman and CEO Warren Buffet, it’s likely to have a superior financial rating, experience and dependability when compared to its competitors. That’s the security biBERK offers small businesses along with a promise to save companies 20% on costs.

biBERK touts removing the middleman — 3rd parties and brokers — from the insurance buying process and passing on the savings to your company. Beyond that, it saves companies time from the onset by offering a simple online quote tool and an easy claims process.   

securely through Suracy's website

5. Suracy: Best for Highest Rating

Besides its focus on serving small to medium-sized businesses in industries such as law, medical, dental, retail and beauty, Suracy offers companies rare innovative online features, competitive rates, and a superior Consumer Affairs rating. It has a 24/7 claims reporting service and a helpful live agent video chat app so you can get the immediate help you need.

Suracy also offers you the reassurance that when handling your company’s workers’ compensation insurance claims, employees relinquish the right to file a lawsuit for negligence. The high-rated carrier handles claims through regional professionals who are located nationwide, which is especially helpful when your business has multiple locations around the nation.

Make Sure Your Company is Protected

It’s difficult to control the losses in your industry or the rates assigned to your classification, but you can make sure your business is protected by reducing your costs. You can do that by maintaining a safe workplace to help reduce worker injuries.

You also can establish a return-to-work program to help retain your company’s valuable workers, and help injured workers get back on the job as soon as they are medically able.

The best workers’ compensation carriers help you to reduce costs, keep your employees safe from harm, and assess your company’s risk to reduce serious accidents in the workplace that can cost your business its reputation and revenue.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can an employee stay on workers’ compensation?

The length of time that an employee can remain on workers’ compensation is set by the state. Usually, the range is from 3 to 7 years. In addition to that, there is generally not a limit for permanent disability benefits unless you live in a state that terminates the benefits at age 65. For employers seeking the cheapest workers’ compensation insurance, check out these top providers.

Who pays for workers’ compensation benefits?

The employer is responsible for purchasing workers’ compensation insurance to cover the benefits of employees. The must pay a monthly premium based on class code and payroll. To get a custom workers’ compensation quote, click here.

Do I have to get workers’ compensation insurance?

This depends on which state you have employees. The following states require workers; compensation under specific requirements: AK, CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, IL, IA, KS, KY, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OK, SC, SD, UT, WA. To get the best workers’ compensation premium, enter your zip code here.



Benzinga crafted a specific methodology to rank workers comp insurance. We prioritized carriers based on coverage options, specialized industries, customer service experience and how quickly and easily you're able to get insured including online tool usage. We also included workers comp insurance quote aggregators in lists to make it easy and efficient to compare policy quotes and options. To see a comprehensive breakdown of our methodology, please visit see our Workers' Compensation Insurance Methodology page.

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