Workers’ Comp Insurance CA

An A-Z guide on everything you need to know before you purchase a California Workers' Comp Insurance Policy

California boasts one of the largest economies in the United States. It’s supported by 4.24 million small businesses, which accounts for 99.8% of all businesses in the state. Those small businesses also employ 7.4 million Californians. To protect those workers, California has enacted strong workers’ compensation laws that also provide help and support for business owners.

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Even if you are the only employee in the business, you are required to have a policy

Part-time employees must also be covered in the policy

Is workers’ comp insurance required in California?

If you operate a business in California, the law requires you to carry workers’ compensation, even if you are the only person in the business. 

What’s more, you’re required by law to carry workers’ compensation if you employ any California residents, even if your business is in another state. 

Do you need workers’ compensation coverage if you’re self-employed?

The short answer is “no”. Self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and sole proprietors are not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance under California law. 

If you are a roofer in California, you must carry workers’ compensation insurance, even if you are a sole proprietor or independent contractor. 

Who is exempt from California workers’ comp requirements?

California has some of the strictest workers’ compensation laws in the nation. Very few people are exempt. The handful who are include sole proprietors with no employees (except for roofers), executives who fully own the business, non-working LLC members and independent contractors.

You are also not required to provide Independent Contractors with insurance coverage if they do not function as employees

How much is workers’ comp coverage in California?

Your California workers’ comp rate will depend on the following factors:

  • The type of business you have
  • The size of your payroll
  • Your safety record
  • Claim history
workers comp policy cost

How can California small business owners save money on workers' comp?

Interested in complying with workers’ compensation laws but want to limit the expense? There’s good news. While workers’ compensation is a requirement for all California businesses with at least one employee, you’ll discover a range of ways you can reduce your costs. Some of the most important steps include the following:

  • Institute a workplace safety program.
  • Ensure OSHA standards are always followed.
  • Create a return-to-work program.
  • Classify your employees accurately.
  • Apply dividends every year after your audit.
  • Ensure your workplace is drug and alcohol-free.

How does workman’s comp work in CA?

California workers’ compensation insurance works similarly to all other states. The process usually goes like this:

1. You purchase insurance based on your estimated annual payroll.

2. You pay your premium and obtain coverage.

3. Your business and employees are protected for a year.

4. You complete a year-end audit to ensure the payroll estimate was accurate.

5. You’ll receive a reimbursement check if the estimate was high. If it was low, you’ll get a bill.

What does workers’ comp cover in California?

Workers who file a workers' comp claim in California can receive benefits for the following:

workers comp covers medical bills

Medical bills

Medical care cost reimbursement

workers comp covers lost wages

Lost Wages

Supplemental job displacement benefits

workers comp pays death benefits

Death Benefits

Death benefits to survivors

Workers' comp coverage also protects employers from legal action. This means that if an employee sues your business because of a workplace injury, the insurance will cover the legal costs of the case.

How to get workers’ comp insurance in California

Obtaining workers’ compensation insurance in California is relatively simple. In fact, business owners have three routes open to them.

1. You can buy it from an independent insurance agency , like Kickstand Insurance. With our easy online application process, you can get a quote in seconds.

2. You can buy it from California’s state fund

3. You may be eligible to self-fund if you have a large business and have been in operation for a minimum of three years. You’ll need to verify that your business qualifies with the Office of Self-Insurance Plans.

What can happen if I don’t have workers’ comp insurance in CA?

All businesses with at least one employee are required by California law to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Failing to do so is a crime. The outcomes include the following:

  • You will be ordered by the court to suspend business operations. If you do not comply, you’ll be fined at least $10,000 and face up to a year in county jail.
  • A lien may be placed on your property by the Uninsured Employer’s Benefit Trust Fund.
  • You could be required to pay twice the amount you would have for workers’ compensation insurance or $1,500 per employee during the period with no coverage.
  • If an employee is injured and you do not have workers’ compensation insurance, you may be fined a penalty of $10,000 per employee at the time of the injury (for compensable cases) or $2,000 per employee (for non-compensable cases) up to a total of $100,000.
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What are workers’ comp death benefits in CA?

California stipulates specific death benefits for survivors in the case of an employee’s death. These include:

  • Burial cost coverage up to $10,000.
  • Death benefits are paid until the youngest minor dependent turns 18.
  • Death benefits based on the number of dependents are as follows:
  1. $250,000
  2. $290,000
  3. $320,000
  • 1 total and 1 or more partial dependents: $250,000 plus up to $290,000 in annual support for partial dependents
  • 1 or more partial dependents: Up to $250,000

How do workers’ comp settlements work in CA?

Workers’ comp cases can be settled in two ways in California. The first type is called “stipulated findings and award.” In this case, the worker and the insurance company agree on all counts and then the employee receives biweekly payments unless the employee requires money upfront. There is the opportunity to reopen the case within five years if the employee requires additional compensation due to the injury/medical condition. 

The second type is called a “compromise and release.” In this situation, the employee receives a lump sum payment, and the case is closed. No further costs are covered even if they relate directly to the injury/accident. 

Note that all settlements must be approved by a California judge, usually via an informal hearing. 

What are the statutes of limitations regarding workers’ comp in CA?

California gives employees one year from the date of the injury/accident to file a workers’ compensation claim. However, if the employee is under 18 at the time of the accident, the one-year clock begins when they turn 18. 

Another caveat is if there is a repetitive stress injury. In this case, the employee has one year from the time they noticed the condition. 

If the original injury caused additional or further injury, the employee has up to five years from the date of the original injury to file a claim.

How do I get a workers’ comp insurance policy with Kickstand Insurance?

Start by filling out a short online form about your business. We’ll use that info to get you an estimated quote. Then, one of our experienced agents will contact you to review the quote and make sure you are getting the absolutely lowest rate possible for your business. Once the quote is finalized, you’re ready to buy the policy - often with coverage starting that day!

Learn more about Workers' Comp in California

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Why use Kickstand to
get workers' comp insurance?

Speed + Service + Experts

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Unlike other online insta-quote systems,
here your quote is reviewed by experts

Why does it matter?

  • Avoid surprise bills at audit
  • Make sure all your employees are properly covered
  • Protect yourself from lawsuits

What do we check?

  • Business categorized correctly
  • Employees job roles
  • Special discount opportunities
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