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Georgia Workers' Compensation Insurance

The Georgia work comp system, regulated by the State Board of Workers’ Compensation, oversees the more than 250,000 employers and 3.8 million employees working in the state.

All businesses with three or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance. Read on for more on Georgia workers' compensation law, and how to purchase coverage in Georgia.

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Is Workers' Comp Required in Georgia?

Business owners are required to carry workers' compensation insurance in Georgia if they have three or more employees working in Georgia, whether full-time or part-time.

Georgia Workers' Compensation Insurance Requirements

Owners: Officers may need to be included, if employed by an incorporated business. Up to five officers may waive coverage on themselves, but they still count toward the three or more employees rule. In other words, if you have three officers that waive coverage and one non-officer employed, you’re legally required to provide insurance for that one employee.

Georgia considers sole proprietors and partners to be employers and do not need to be covered. They can choose to be covered on their policy, if they wish.

Contractors: If you are an independent contractor, you might not be covered by the hiring company’s insurance policy and may need to provide proof of work comp. Are you an employee or an independent contractor?

Contractors must also be wary of subcontracting work; they could be held liable if the subcontractor has employees but not work comp coverage.

Current legislation being debated in Georgia would determine whether “gig economy” workers would be classified as employees or independent contractors. Under the law, individuals who find work through apps like Uber, Lyft or TaskRabbit, would be considered independent contractors and not eligible for employee benefits like workers’ compensation. Other states, including New York and California, have been going through similar legal battles.

How to Buy Workers’ Comp Insurance in Georgia

Georgia has a private market, which means you can purchase a workers' compensation policy from any private insurance carrier or agency that is licensed to write in that state. 

Remember:

  • Your policy only covers employees when they are working within state lines.
  • Work comp covers employees injured on the job. To protect against other injuries at your place of business, you may need general liability insurance. Learn more about general liability >>

Georgia does not have a state fund that competes with the private market. If you have trouble getting a policy, you can obtain coverage through the assigned risk pool.

Georgia Workers' Compensation Insurance Rates

Georgia has relatively high workers' comp rates, compared to national averages. A 2018 study by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services found that Georgia ranked sixth in the U.S., jumping up from 27th in 2016. On average, Georgia businesses can expect to pay between $2.00 and $2.49 per $100 in payroll. 

Georgia workers’ compensation rates are recommended by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), which most states use as their rating bureau. NCCI collects data on workplace injuries and advises rates based on class code, or industry classification.

When seeking a workers’ compensation policy, small business owners can contact a licensed insurance agent or carrier. The insurance carrier calculates the final premium cost based on the set rate, the company’s payroll, its Experience Modifier, and any additional credits or debits based on the company’s workplace safety. Learn more about how workers' compensation costs are calculated. 

For more tips on getting cheap workers' comp insurance, read 12 Ways to Save Money on Small Business Insurance.

If your business is having trouble finding coverage, NCCI also administers Georgia’s assigned risk pool, which will place you with a carrier.

Frequency Asked Questions 

Need more information? Here are some frequently asked questions about GA workers' comp. 

Who has to carry workers' compensation insurance?

Employers with three or more employees must carry coverage, regardless of whether they are full-time, part-time or temporary / seasonal workers. The policy will cover all employees in case of a work-related injury or illness. 

The policy may also cover the employer, though Georgia does allow some employers to waive coverage if they wish. 

When do I need to buy workers' compensation insurance?

Typically, the business must purchase coverage for all employees before the third employee's start date, so coverage is in effect before they begin work. 

Does a small business need workers' comp insurance?

If the business has three employees, it need a worker' comp policy. Small business insurance is just like any other commercial insurance product, but coverage is relative to the amount of exposure a small business might have. Less exposure means lower limits, and therefore, lower premiums. Learn more about small business insurance.

Georgia Work Comp Resources

Editor's note: This page was updated in 2019 for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

Workers' Comp Insurance in GA: How to Get a Quote

To buy workers compensation insurance, you need to request a quote from a licensed insurance agent and provide some details about your business.

Here’s what to have in front of you:

  • Number of employees in each class code.
  • Total payroll for all employees. You may be able to exclude yourself if you don't wish to be covered under the policy. 
  • Federal ID Number. If you are a sole proprietor, you can use your Social Security Number.
  • Copy of your workers comp insurance policy, if you've had coverage or claims in the past few years. If you know your company's experience mod, please have your experience mod rating sheet or policy in front of you. Otherwise, you will be assigned a default rating of 1.0.

The information on this page has been interpreted and summarized for your convenience. Please consult your state's governing authority for the most current and complete legislation.