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How to Get Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Virginia: A Quick Guide for First-Time Buyers

Spring evening on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

As a first-time buyer of workers’ compensation insurance in Virginia, it’s critical to have a sound understanding of available coverage, requirements and how to purchase a policy.

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation insurance is purchased by employers to provide reimbursement for medical expenses, rehabilitation costs and lost wages to employees who are injured on the job or become ill as a result of their employment. It also has a component for paying death benefits to family members of an employee who is killed on the job.

Workers’ compensation is provided to all employees injured on the job, but whether the employer must carry an insurance policy to cover these costs depends on state law.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance Requirements in Virginia

In Virginia, any employer with two or more employees is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Employees include:

  • Full-time
  • Part-time
  • Family members
  • Trainees
  • Minors
  • Seasonal and temporary workers

Also, any subcontractors’ employees are included when tallying the number of employees. This holds true regardless of whether the subcontractor carries a workers’ compensation policy.

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Employers have always been responsible for reporting employee injuries, but a recent amendment of Virginia Code § 8.01-413.1 now “requires employers to produce certain employment documents upon receipt of a written request from a current or former employee or employee’s attorney and awards possible damages to the employee if the employer fails to do so within the prescribed timeframe.”

Due to this change, it’s critical for employers to keep detailed records and store documentation associated with all workplace injuries.

How to Get Workers’ Comp Coverage for Virginia-Based Employees

There are four distinct ways to purchase workers’ compensation coverage in Virginia:

  • Purchase a policy from an insurer licensed to do business in Virginia.
  • Apply for membership of a licensed group self-insured association.
  • Apply to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission to be self-insured.
  • Sign an agreement for Professional Employer Services with a Professional Employer Organization registered in Virginia.

And when you’re ready to secure coverage for your small business, follow these steps:

  1. Check Virginia’s requirements on which workers must be covered by the policy.
  2. Calculate your annual payroll for these employees.
  3. Find and contact a reputable commercial insurance agency that offers workers’ compensation policies.

For more information on each step, read: How to Get a Workers' Compensation Quote: The Step-by-Step Beginner’s Guide.

If you have questions about Virginia workers’ compensation insurance or want to purchase a policy, we’re here to help.


Tags: safety, workers compensation, buying workers compensation, small business