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6 Best Workers’ Comp Insurance For Small Business

Workers' compensation insurance provides assistance to employees injured on the job. Find out the top choices for workers' comp in our guide.

    Kymberlin Bush
  • Last updated onUpdated

  • Chelsea Krause
  • REVIEWED BY

    Chelsea Krause

    Lead Staff Writer

Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.

Workers’ compensation insurance is a legal requirement for businesses operating in 49 US states. The lone exception is Texas. If your business is in any other state, you must carry workers’ comp. Most states require workers’ comp as soon as you hire one employee, although others tie the requirement to higher payroll numbers. Be sure you understand your state’s requirements.

Because workers’ comp is legally required, it’s important to choose the right insurance company to work with. If you’re already working with one of the best insurance companies for small business, there’s a good chance your insurance provider also offers workers’ comp policies.

If not, this post will help you find a good insurance provider to help you meet the legal requirements to provide workers’ compensation insurance to your employees.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For
The Hartford Small Business Insurance

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  • Average cost $70/month
  • Available in 48 states + DC
  • Same-day quotes
  • Average cost $70/month
  • Available in 48 states + DC
  • Same-day quotes

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Next Business Insurance

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  • Starting at $14/month
  • Available in 30+ states
  • Instant quotes
  • Starting at $14/month
  • Available in 30+ states
  • Instant quotes

Visit Site

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Nationwide Commercial Insurance

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  • Pricing by personal quote only
  • Available in 40+ states
  • Quotes in about 30 minutes
  • Pricing by personal quote only
  • Available in 40+ states
  • Quotes in about 30 minutes

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Thimble

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  • Pricing by personalized quote
  • Available in 48 states
  • Instant online quotes
  • Pricing by personalized quote
  • Available in 48 states
  • Instant online quotes

Visit Site

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Progressive Commercial Insurance

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  • Average cost $17/month
  • Available in 46 states
  • Instant online quotes
  • Average cost $17/month
  • Available in 46 states
  • Instant online quotes

Visit Site

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Travelers Small Business Insurance

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  • Pricing information by personal quote only
  • Available in 44 states
  • Quotes by phone
  • Pricing information by personal quote only
  • Available in 44 states
  • Quotes by phone

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

Table of Contents

What Is Workers' Comp Insurance?

Workers’ compensation insurance is one of the few types of business insurance that you may be legally required to carry.

Unlike most business insurance, workers’ comp insurance offers direct protections to your employees. If a worker is injured or harmed on the job, workers’ comp makes direct payments to the employee.

Here is a brief look at the types of incidents you can expect workers’ comp to cover:

What Does Workers' Comp Cover?

  • Medical expenses related to work-related injuries and illness
  • Repetitive injuries (such as carpal tunnel syndrome)
  • Disability supplements
  • Lost wages
  • The costs of ongoing care
  • Funeral expenses, if necessary

What Workers' Comp Does Not Cover

  • Injuries employees suffer outside of work, including while they are in transit to or from work
  • Accidents that happen to intoxicated employees
  • Intentional acts
  • Injuries caused by illegal activities
  • Injuries that occur while employees violate company policies, protocols, and procedures

Who Needs Workers' Comp Insurance?

Every state takes a slightly different approach to workers’ compensation insurance, so it’s important to make sure you understand your state’s workers’ comp laws.

For example, some states do not require workers’ compensation coverage for agricultural workers or real estate agents. Government workers are also exempt. (They are covered under a federal program instead.) In many states, business owners are allowed to exempt themselves from their company’s workers’ comp program.

Volunteers and independent contractors are usually exempt from coverage, too.

Twelve states require a minimum number of employees before workers’ comp is needed. If you live in the following states, check state law to determine if you need workers’ comp insurance:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Mississippi
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Once you understand the workers’ comp requirements for your state and business type, it’s time to start looking for the best workers’ comp provider.

How Much Does Workers Compensation Insurance Cost?

The cost of workers’ comp insurance depends on several factors that are unique to your business. For that reason, you’ll need to submit some basic information to the insurance company of your choice to get a personal price quote.

Factors include your payroll size, your industry, and your claims history. Smaller companies with fewer employees typically pay less for workers’ comp.

According to insurance aggregator Insureon, the US national average for workers’ compensation insurance is $45/mo. However, that number can start to crawl upward for a variety of reasons — and could be significantly higher for businesses in high-risk categories.

We have included basic pricing information where possible for each of the insurance providers included on this list. Keep in mind that this is an average or starting cost in each case. You must contact the provider to ask for a personal quote for your small business.

The Best Workers' Comp Insurance For Small Business

The best workers’ comp insurance companies can take care of all your small business insurance needs. We think The Hartford, NEXT, Nationwide, Thimble, Progressive, and Travelers offer the best workers’ comp coverage.

The Hartford: Best Overall Workers' Comp For Small Business

The Hartford Small Business Insurance


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Pricing

Varied. Average general liability is $88/month

Types of insurance offered

30+

Time to receive quote

Usually same-day

Pros

  • Fast free quotes
  • 24/7 claims
  • Wide variety of policies
  • Available in most states

Cons

  • Not available in Alaska, Hawaii
  • Quotes not available online

Why We Chose The Hartford For The Best Workers' Comp

The Hartford frequently shows up on our lists of the best insurance providers, so it's no surprise to see this company on the list of the best workers' comp providers. The Hartford offers workers' comp in Washington, D.C., and all US states except Alaska and Hawaii. And you'll find a full range of coverage options with The Hartford, meaning this is a good choice for any size company, including those with complex business insurance needs.

The Hartford Workers' Comp Pricing

The Hartford provides pricing information by personalized quote only. However, on the company’s website, we can see that most of The Hartford’s clients with annual payroll below $300K pay about $70/month or $840/year for workers’ comp, on average.

Additional Coverage Available From The Hartford

The Hartford offers almost any type of business insurance that a small business might need. Here’s an overview of The Hartford’s range of policies:

  • General liability
  • Commercial property
  • Business owner’s policy (BOP)
  • Workers’ comp
  • Business income interruption
  • Commercial auto
  • Flood
  • Cybersecurity
  • Home-based business
  • Inland marine
  • Multinational
  • Professional liability

Choose The Hartford For Workers' Comp If You ...

  • Don’t mind speaking with an agent to get a personalized quote
  • Would like risk-engineering services
  • Want 24/7 claims service
  • Prefer to work with a large insurance company with strong customer satisfaction

Get Started With The Hartford Small Business Insurance

Read our in-depth review

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NEXT: Best Workers' Comp For Easy Online Quotes & Coverage

Next Business Insurance


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Pricing

Starting at $11/month

Types Of Insurance Offered

7 policy types including auto, liability, and property

Time To Receive A Quote

Instant online quotes

Pros

  • Instant online quotes
  • Instant coverage
  • Strong mobile app

Cons

  • Not suitable for large, complex businesses
  • Some types of coverage unavailable

Why We Chose NEXT For The Best Workers' Comp

NEXT is a relative newcomer to the insurance scene, but this company is making a name for itself with its extreme ease of use. You can ask for a personalized quote and receive it within minutes. Accept the quote and make a payment, and your coverage starts almost immediately. With a strong mobile app that lets you manage your account, getting workers' compensation insurance from NEXT could hardly be any easier.

NEXT Workers' Comp Pricing

NEXT provides fast, free quotes in an easy online process. NEXT says that half of its customers pay between $25-$150/month for workers’ comp insurance. About 4% of NEXT customers pay less than $25/month, and 46% pay more than $150/month for workers’ comp coverage.

Additional Coverage Available From NEXT

NEXT offers seven types of business insurance policies:

  • General liability
  • Professional liability
  • Commercial property
  • Business owner’s policy
  • Workers’ comp
  • Commercial auto
  • Tools & equipment

Choose NEXT For Workers' Comp If You ...

  • Feel comfortable working with a fully online insurance company
  • Run a small to mid-sized that doesn’t need specialty insurance coverage
  • Want a fast personalized price quote and instant coverage
  • Are looking for a budget-friendly workers’ comp package

Get Started With Next Business Insurance

Read our in-depth review

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Nationwide: Best Claims Support For Workers' Comp

Nationwide Commercial Insurance


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Pricing

By personalized quote only

Types Of Insurance Offered

BOP + specialized coverage

Time To Receive A Quote

Approximately 30 minutes

Pros

  • Standout claims support
  • Full range of business insurance
  • Choose personal or online account management

Cons

  • Not available in all states
  • Must speak to an agent to get a quote

Why We Chose Nationwide For The Best Workers' Comp

Nationwide is one of the nation's top insurers in terms of customer satisfaction, according to a J.D. Power 2022 US Small Commercial Insurance Study. A big part of that high customer satisfaction rating is Nationwide's excellent support for claims. The company has 5,000+ workers in claims services and 24/7 support centers to help you when you need to file a claim. The company also offers general customer support by phone.

Nationwide also works with a network of doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, physical therapists, diagnostic partners, and other medical providers to help connect your employees to care. Nationwide also has a Return-to-Work Program to help employees safely transition back to work.

Nationwide Workers' Comp Pricing

Nationwide provides pricing information by personal quote only. You can request your quote online or by phone. If you start a quote online, you probably will have to schedule a phone call to complete the process. Price quotes generally are available within about 30 minutes.

Additional Coverage Available From Nationwide

Nationwide offers loss-control resources to help you reduce workers’ risk and limit workers’ comp claims. These include online consultation, chat, and other safety training resources.

If you want additional commercial insurance coverage, Nationwide offers a wide range of policies, including these:

  • General liability
  • Commercial property
  • Businessowner’s policy
  • Commercial auto
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Business income
  • Crime
  • Employment practices liability
  • Cyber liability
  • Errors & omissions
  • Equipment breakdown
  • Umbrella
  • Inland marine
  • Builder’s risk
  • Accounts receivable
  • MedPair supplemental health
  • Fidelity, surety, commercial, and business bonds
  • Group insurance plans
  • Medical stop loss
  • Key person benefits

Nationwide offers specialized products for organizations in industries such as agribusiness, construction, breweries, churches, commercial real estate, food processing, and manufacturing.

Choose Nationwide For Workers' Comp If You ...

  • Want standout claims support
  • Are interested in core business insurance + specialty policies
  • Prefer personal service in addition to strong online account management tools
  • Would like resources for reducing your workers’ exposure to risk

Get Started With Nationwide Commercial Insurance

Read our in-depth review

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Thimble: Best Workers' Comp For Independent Contractors

Thimble


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Pricing

Starting at $17/month

Types Of Insurance Offered

Basic business coverage + some specialized policies

Time To Receive A Quote

Instant Quotes

Pros

  • Affordable coverage
  • Adjustable coverage for events, seasonal work
  • Strong mobile app
  • Excellent user reviews

Cons

  • Not available in New York or Washington
  • No telephone support
  • Not suitable for large businesses

Why We Chose Thimble For The Best Workers' Comp

Your state may require you to carry workers' comp only for W-2 employees. If you have temporary employees classified as 1099 employees, you may not need to provide workers' comp. However, some clients may ask you to provide proof of insurance before you can start work. If you need workers' comp insurance for temporary workers, Thimble can be a good choice of insurer.

If you work in a seasonal industry like landscaping or work events as a photographer or food vendor, Thimble can help you provide the workers' comp coverage you need at a price you can afford, with coverage available from Thimble by the job or event.

Thimble Workers' Comp Pricing

Thimble is known for affordable commercial insurance coverage, with general liability starting at around $17/month. For workers’ compensation coverage, you’ll need to enter some information online to get a personal quote.

You can apply online by entering your ZIP Code and choosing between general business insurance or insurance for an event. You’ll need to choose an industry and then follow some on-screen prompts to narrow your focus. You’ll receive an instant price quote, and you can start your coverage that day by making a payment online.

Additional Coverage Available From Thimble

Thimble offers the most essential types of commercial insurance, plus a few specialty policies. Here’s what you’ll find with Thimble:

  • Business owner’s policy
  • Event insurance
  • Liquor liability
  • Errors and omissions
  • Commercial property
  • General liability
  • Workers comp
  • Business equipment coverage

Choose Thimble For Workers' Comp If You ...

  • Own a small company that doesn’t need specialized insurance coverage
  • Feel comfortable working with an online-only insurance company
  • Want event-based insurance
  • Don’t mind working on claims with a third-party

Get Started With Thimble

Read our in-depth review

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Progressive: Best Workers' Comp For Competitive Pricing

Progressive Commercial Insurance


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Pros

  • Competitive pricing
  • Complete line of business coverage
  • Excellent reputation
  • Options for truck-based businesses

Cons

  • Workers’ comp policies underwritten by third-party insurance providers
  • Not available in all states

Why We Chose Progressive For The Best Workers' Comp

Progressive offers its commercial insurance customers special competitive pricing through a program known as Progressive Advantage. This program allows businesses to obtain insurance coverage like workers' comp through third-party insurers. Progressive Advantage means you can obtain the best rate for your business on workers' comp while still accessing Progressive's highly rated business coverage for commercial liability, auto, and more.

Progressive Workers' Comp Pricing

Progressive customers pay an average price of $117/month for workers’ comp coverage through Progressive. The median cost, however, is just $70. That means that 50% of Progressive customers pay less than $58.50/month for their Progressive workers’ comp coverage.

Your rates will depend on your business details, including your state, payroll size, and claims history.

Additional Coverage Available From Progressive

Progressive offers a variety of commercial insurance policies, including these:

  • General liability
  • Commercial property
  • Business owners policy
  • Commercial auto
  • Commercial truck, van, tow, and dump truck
  • Food truck
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Professional liability
  • Cyber insurance
  • Liquor liability
  • Inland marine
  • Employment practices liability
  • Rideshare insurance
  • Excess and surplus lines
  • Employee pet insurance
  • Health insurance

Choose Progressive For Workers' Comp If You ...

  • Can bundle multiple policies to lower costs overall
  • Don’t mind connecting with a third-party insurer
  • Want to work with an insurer that’s rated highly for satisfaction and financial stability
  • Need additional business insurance coverage

Get Started With Progressive Commercial Insurance

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Travelers: Easiest Workers' Comp For Real-Time Charges

Travelers Small Business Insurance


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Pros

  • Real-time premiums tied to your payroll
  • Local agents
  • Standard business insurance + specialized policies available

Cons

  • No online quotes
  • Mixed customer satisfaction

Why We Chose Travelers For The Best Workers' Comp

Workers' comp pricing depends on several factors, including the number of employees you need to cover. If you choose to purchase your workers' comp coverage from Travelers, you'll never pay for more coverage than you need, thanks to a free billing option known as Pay-As-You-Go that links your workers' comp premiums directly to your payroll.

You can self-report your numbers each pay period or rely on one of several payroll processing companies to do it for you. Either way, you won't pay for more coverage than you need.

Travelers Workers' Comp Pricing

You can get a personalized quote from Travelers by connecting with an agent in your area. Visit the Travelers’ website and enter your ZIP Code to see a list of local options. Each will include a list of the types of business coverage that the agency offers.

Additional Coverage Available From Travelers

Travelers offers a broad range of commercial insurance policies, meaning that you’ll probably be able to find the coverage you need. Here’s a sampling:

  • Business owners policy
  • General liability
  • Commercial property
  • Commercial auto
  • Commercial truck
  • Workers’s comp
  • Excess casualty
  • Umbrella
  • Environmental liability
  • Global
  • Inland marine
  • Management and professional liability
  • Boiler and machinery
  • Cyber

Choose Travelers For Workers' Comp If You ...

  • Prefer to work with a local agent
  • Need a broad range of insurance policies
  • Want to submit payroll data to potentially lower your rates for workers’ comp
  • Do business in Canada, the UK, or Ireland in addition to in the US
  • Are not based in Alaska, Hawaii, Ohio, North Dakota, Washington, or Wyoming

Get Started With Travelers Small Business Insurance

Read our in-depth review

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Our Methodology For Choosing The Best Workers' Comp Insurance

Merchant Maverick rates insurance providers according to a list of criteria that includes features, price, consumer feedback, and availability of coverage. Each is given an aggregate score to compare them against similar insurance providers.

To create this list of the best workers’ comp insurance providers, we considered two dozen options. We looked for those that offer reliable claim service, competitive pricing, and the types of insurance policies that many small businesses need, now and as they grow.

Information was gathered from each company’s website and company representatives. Information is reviewed by our editorial team to ensure accuracy.

Which Workers' Comp Insurance Is Right For Your Small Business?

No two small businesses are exactly alike. That’s why we include a range of options on our list of the best workers’ compensation insurance for small businesses. Whether your business is still small or on the large side and growing bigger, we have included a good choice for you on this list.

We recommend asking for no-obligation price quotes from at least three insurance companies. Make sure you understand your insurance quote from each company, so you can make fair comparisons and choose the right one to work with.

Workers Comp FAQs

How do I know if I need workers' comp for my business?

Each state has different requirements for workers’ comp, but every state except Texas requires some type of workers’ comp insurance. Check with the employment division in your state or talk to a knowledgeable insurance agent to make sure you have the coverage you need.

Is workers' comp mandatory?

Businesses are required to carry workers’ compensation in all states except Texas. In many states, workers’ comp is required as soon as you hire your first employee. Other states tie coverage requirements to the number of employees you have. Talk with a licensed insurance agent to make sure you have the coverage you need.

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Kymberlin Bush

Kymberlin Bush

Staff Writer
Kymberlin started contributing to Merchant Maverick as a freelancer in 2022 and joined the team as the full-time small business health insurance expert in 2023. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from Pacific University in 2020 and continues to reside in Portland, Oregon.
Kymberlin Bush
View Kymberlin Bush's professional experience on LinkedIn.