As a business owner, it’s imperative to have a sound understanding of your workers’ compensation insurance requirements. Unfortunately, buying a workers’ compensation policy is often more difficult than it sounds. And that’s especially true if you don’t know how to get an accurate quote.
Over the years, WorkCompOne has helped thousands of Georgia small business owners make a confident purchase. Follow the steps below to put yourself on the path to coverage and compliance.
Step 1: Understand Georgia State Requirements
Workers’ compensation requirements vary from state to state, so it’s important to understand those that apply specifically to Georgia. Here are answers to the most important questions:
Where can I buy coverage?
The state has a private market, which means you can purchase a workers' compensation policy from any private insurance carrier or agency that is licensed in Georgia. Unlike some states, Georgia does not have a state fund that competes with the private market. If you have trouble getting coverage, you can get a policy through the state’s assigned risk pool.
Which workers need to be on the policy?
Georgia requires most employers with three or more employees (full-time, part-time, and/or seasonal) to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If the business has three or more employees, all employees must be covered by the workers’ compensation policy.
Keep in mind that even if a business isn’t legally required to carry coverage, the employer may still be held liable if a worker is injured on the job.
Who’s considered an employee?
Employers don’t get to decide who is legally considered an employee. Most states agree that full- and part-time workers are employees, but they may differ in how they treat sole proprietors, partners, members of an LLC, independent contractors and family members.
Georgia considers sole proprietors and partners to be employers, so they don’t need to be covered — but can choose to be added to the policy, if they wish. Also, Georgia contractors must also be wary of subcontracting work; they could be held liable if the subcontractor has employees but not work comp coverage. See details on owners and officers here.
What if my workers leave the state?
All work comp policies provide coverage within state lines. If workers need to cross state lines to complete work, they may not be covered by the policy.
If it applies to your business, check with your insurer about reciprocity with other states, or getting an All States Endorsement.
Step 2: Calculate Your Payroll
Once you determine that you’re required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance, turn your attention to calculating your payroll.
Your premium depends on several factors, including employee payroll and their job titles/responsibilities.
Start by doing the following:
- Create a spreadsheet that lists all employees that require coverage
- Input their annual salary
- Input their job title and responsibilities
- Total the salaries of each job category (e.g. carpentry, clerical, sales)
➡️ Need more help? This post walks you through the process step-by-step: How to Calculate Payroll to Find Your Workers’ Compensation Cost
When compared to national averages and other states in the region, Georgia workers’ compensation rates are relatively high.
As a general rule of thumb, expect to pay between $2.00 and $2.49 per $100 in payroll.
Step 3: Find a Insurance Agency
To get a quote, you must contact an insurance carrier, agency, broker or the assigned risk pool. As we mentioned above, the insurer must be licensed to write workers’ compensation insurance in Georgia.
How to Choose the Best Workers’ Compensation Insurance Agency
Want a hassle-free experience? Consider the following:
- Lightning Fast Quotes. What are their business hours? What kind of online support do they offer? Can you request a quote online and on your schedule?
- Easy Process. Insurance mumbo-jumbo or straightforward questions? Can you enter a few simple details and request a quote in minutes?
- Affordable Rates. Who do they represent? An agency may represent one carrier exclusively, and handle administrative tasks, recommend plans and help settle claims. An independent agent represents several carriers, can shop around their network of carriers, and deliver the best quote to you.
- Top Insurance Carriers. What’s their rating? Make sure they’ve earned a rating of A or higher by A.M. Best — which shows that they’re known for their financial strength and customer service.
- Trusted by Thousands. What’s the insurer’s reputation? How long have they been in business? Are they credible?
- Made for You. What’s their experience with small business? With workers’ compensation insurance?
Step 4: Request a Quote
The next step is to obtain a quote, as this presents a clear idea of your cost moving forward — and more importantly, gives you a bindable policy that will cover your business.
Purchasing Georgia workers’ compensation insurance directly through a traditional agency can be challenging. The truth is, small business workers’ compensation policies aren't profitable for most traditional insurance agents.
(Tip: Our online platform makes it possible for top national insurance carriers to serve all businesses – even those with less than 10 employees.)
Here’s What You Need to Get a Workers’ Compensation Quote
To speed up the process, here’s some of the information you’ll need to secure a quote:
- Employer identification number (EIN)
- Number of employees and their salaries
- The job title/description of each employee
- Basic business information, such as business structure, number of locations, address, and contact info
Other Considerations for Georgia Workers’ Compensation Insurance
As you receive quotes and learn more about your situation, consider:
- Is it best to pay annually, biannually, or quarterly? Should you consider pay-as-you-go coverage?
- What impact will independent contractors have on your workers’ compensation coverage? Are you sure they’re contractors and not employees?
- Do your workers’ compensation requirements have the potential to change from year to year?
Get answers to more frequently asked questions here: 8 Common Questions About Georgia Workers’ Compensation, Answered