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Georgia Workers' Compensation Insurance

Learn everything you need to know about workers' compensation insurance 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 they are full-time or part-time.

Georgia Workers' Compensation Insurance Requirements

Small businesses must carry work comp insurance in Georgia if they have three or more employees. Full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal W-2 workers count toward this three-employee limit. For other types of workers, some exceptions may apply. 

Owners: Officers may need to be included, if they are employed by an incorporated business. Up to five officers at a company 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 still legally required to provide insurance for that one employee.

Georgia considers sole proprietors and partners to be employers, so they do not need to be covered. That said, 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. Check whether you'd be considered an employee; if not, you likely need coverage. 

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

One issue still being debated is whether “gig economy” workers would be classified as employees or independent contractors. Under one proposed bill, 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.

Georgia Workers' Comp 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 classification code, or industry classification. Class codes categorize businesses, and NCCI assigns rates to each class code based on the relative risk for illness or injury. 

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 advised rate, the company’s payroll, 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 Georgia 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?

Georgia employers with three or more employees must carry coverage, regardless of whether these are full-time, part-time or temporary / seasonal workers. The policy must cover all employees in case of a work-related injury or illness. Coverage must be in place by the start date of the third employee, or the employer could face fines for non-compliance. 

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. Workers' compensation policies are in effect for a full year. 

Does a small business need workers' comp insurance?

If the business has three employees, it needs a worker' comp policy regardless of the company's size. 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.

For workers' compensation insurance, premiums are based on total payroll. This means costs may change as payroll fluctuates.  

Learn more about small business insurance.

Georgia Work Comp Resources

Editor's note: This page was updated in 2021 for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

How to Buy Workers’ Comp Insurance in Georgia

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1. Request Coverage

We've made it easy. Answer a few simple questions about your business, employees and payroll. 

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2. Review Your Quote 

Receive an online quote from one of our top-rated carriers — all rated A or higher by A.M. Best.

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3. Purchase Your Policy

Some policies can be purchased online that same day — for near-instant coverage. 

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 Georgia. You may wish to ask for an All-States Endorsement if employees often cross state lines for work. 
  • 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.

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