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North Carolina Workers' Compensation Insurance

Learn everything you need to know about North Carolina worker's compensation insurance requirements and cost.

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NC Workers' Compensation Requirements

North Carolina has harsh penalties for workers’ compensation violations. Not having workers’ compensation insurance can carry a misdemeanor or even a felony charge.

Employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance in North Carolina they have three or more employees. However, the following situations are exceptions to this rule.

Agricultural Employers

They do not have to carry workers’ compensation insurance unless they employ 10 or more full-time, non-seasonal workers.

Domestic Servants

Any domestic servants directly employed by a household do not need to be covered by work comp insurance.

Hazardous Industries

If employees are exposed to radiation, they must be covered by work comp, regardless of company size.

Trucking Companies

Truck drivers must be covered by a workers’ compensation policy, even if the owner-operator is considered an independent contractor. The principal contractor can be held liable for the owner-operator, and their employees or subcontractors, in the event of injury or death.

A trucking company may obtain a blanket policy to cover all independent contractors and their employees or subcontractors.


Officers may need to be included, if employed by an incorporated business. Officers may waive their own coverage, but they still count toward the three or more employees rule.

North Carolina considers sole proprietors and partners to be employers and do not need to be covered. That said, they can elect to be covered on their policy, if they want.


A worker under direct control of the employer may be considered an employee, regardless of their tax status. Check whether your workers might be considered employees.

NC Workers' Compensation Rates

Workers' compensation insurance premiums are based in part on what's called a workers' compensation rate.

While most states use the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) to collect workplace data and set rates, North Carolina uses its own rating bureau, North Carolina Rate Bureau. The non-profit, unincorporated organization collects loss, premium and payroll data, and recommends rates.

Rates are set by classification code, or industry. These four-digit numbers categorize businesses, and are used to determine a base rate for coverage based on the relative risk for a workplace injury or illness.

This base rate is multiplied by company payroll, and then experience modifier and other discounts may be applied by an insurance carrier to calculate the final premium. The rating bureau also sets experience modification factors for employers. Learn more about how much workers’ compensation insurance costs.

Workmans Comp NC Resources

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

How to Get a Workers’ Comp Policy


1. Request Coverage

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


2. Review Your Quote 

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3. Purchase Your Policy

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

To buy workers compensation insurance in North Carolina, 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.

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