Tennessee Workers Compensation Insurance: Cost & Quotes from 38/mo

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 54,000 non-fatal workplace injuries occurred in Tennessee in 2021. As a business owner, you will want to invest in Tennessee workers compensation insurance to protect your employees and satisfy legal requirements in the state. Keep reading to learn the specifics of workers’ compensation insurance in Tennessee and common questions business owners have about it.

What is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

Worker’s compensation insurance is a policy you purchase as an employer. This protects your employees when they get sick or injured on the job. Workers compensation insurance pays the medical costs after an employee sustains a work-related injury. It also pays benefits to help employees compensate for lost income due to missing work. 

A workers’ compensation policy can also include employer’s liability coverage. This protects you as the business owner when an employee sues you for an occupational injury or illness.

When Do You Need Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Tennessee?

Workers compensation Tennessee requirements state that employers with five or more workers in most industries are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. The construction and mining industries have stricter requirements. If you are an employer in those industries, you must purchase insurance even if you only have one employee. As an employer, you are not generally required to obtain coverage for yourself.

What Government Agency Oversees Tennessee Workers’ Compensation?

The Tennessee Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC) is the primary government organization responsible for this insurance policy in the state. This agency is part of the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development. The Tennessee Department of Labor Workers Compensation help employees and employers reduce workplace injury risk. They set out to accomplish this goal by instituting the following programs to protect the workforce from the negative consequences of workplace accidents:

Mediation and Ombudsman Services of Tennessee (MOST) Program

This program aims to assist parties who are part of a worker’s compensation claim who do not have an attorney. Through this program, the BWC provides a multiple-stage process to resolve disputes between insurers, employers, and workers. This program is an excellent way to help resolve disputes with an insurance adjuster because it saves time and money compared to settling the process in court. Employees can file for mediation services within one year of the date of injury. After this date, your employee can’t file a petition for mediation.

Next Step Program

With the next step program, your employees have another option after they have exhausted  benefits. Your employees can apply for job retraining programs and receive scholarships for applying to a community college or state university. The scholarship can cover multiple semesters within the year. A worker who qualifies can receive up to $5,000 per year to pay for tuition costs and school expenses. The Next Step Program also trains case managers. This allows case managers in Tennessee to help best use the resources the state provides them. The training program counts as one continuing education credit for case managers.

Tennessee Drug-Free Workplace Program

The state of Tennessee promotes workplaces free from alcohol and drugs to help reduce the incidence of workplace accidents. If you choose to participate in this program as an employer, your insurance premiums receive a discount, and the program helps protect you in liability claims. By participating in the program, you agree to implement drug testing policies for employees and applicants. 

These employees will be tested for drugs like marijuana, cocaine, codeine, oxycodone, alcohol, and heroin. Employees with a blood alcohol level of .04 or higher must be removed from any safety-sensitive work activities for at least 24 hours. You must ensure your drug testing methods are fair and consistent, or else you risk running afoul of the law. Clearly communicate your drug testing policy to all employees and potential applicants.

Medical Services Unit

The BWC has this program in place to regulate the kinds of medical services that are offered to employees and ensure they are adequate. It also ensures employees have ready access to the right kinds of medical care based on medical necessity. This program also issues ratings for medical impairment for permanent  benefits through the Medical Impairment Rating (MIR) Registry.

Compliance Program

This program ensures that employers provide adequate workers’ compensation insurance for employees. They will also check to ensure you correctly classify employees so you don’t slip out of obligations by classifying workers as independent contractors inappropriately.

Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims

Through the Court of Worker’s Compensation Claims, disputes for insurance claims are resolved. Twelve judges are available to resolve claims, which the administrator of the Bureau appoints. These judges are assigned to different courtrooms based on the areas they need to serve. Some areas have multiple judges serving. The areas with presiding judges currently include:

  • Gray

  • Nashville

  • Knoxville

  • Memphis

  • Cookeville & Murfreesboro

  • Chattanooga

  • Jackson

Appeals Board

The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board is responsible for reviewing decisions reached on workers’ compensation claims. The board had a panel of three judges separate from the Court of Worker’s Compensation Claims.

Penalty Program

This program is responsible for assessing what penalties you need to pay for not meeting workers’ compensation requirements in Tennessee. It will also monitor you to ensure you are following court-issued orders.

Subsequent Injury and Vocational Recovery Fund

This fund incentivizes you to retain employees who have suffered injuries. This fund limits your liability for future workers’ compensation claims if you actively employ or keep workers with previous physical disabilities.

What Benefits are Available in Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

Tennessee workers’ compensation insurance has several types of claims your employees can apply for. Some benefits are calculated based on your employee’s average weekly wage. This average weekly wage your employee can claim is subject to a maximum determined by the state. Currently, the maximum average weekly wage in Tennessee is currently $1,194. The chart below compares the compensation rates for different worker’s compensation benefits in Tennessee:

Date Minimum Rate Average Weekly Wage in Tennessee Max Rate for Temporary Benefits Max Rate for Permanent Benefits Maximum Benefit Period Maximum Total Benefit Maximum Medical Benefit Burial Compensation
7/1/23 – 6/30/24 $179.10 $1,194 $1,313.40 $1,194.00 450 Weeks $537,300 No Limit $10,000
7/1/22 – 6/30/23 $168.15 $1,121 $1,233.10 $1,121.00 450 Weeks $504,450 No Limit $10,000
7/1/21 – 6/30/22 $159.00 $1,060 $1,166.00 $1,060.00 450 Weeks $477,000 No Limit $10,000
7/1/20 – 6/30/21 $149.10 $994 $1,093.40 $994.00 450 Weeks $447,000 No Limit $10,000
7/1/19 – 6/30/20 $144.00 $960 $1,056.00 $960.00 450 Weeks $432,000 No Limit $10,000
7/1/18 –  6/30/19 $139.35 $929 $1,021.90 $929.00 450 Weeks $418,000 No Limit $10,000
7/1/17 – 6/30/18 $135.30 $902 $992.20 $920.00 450 Weeks $405,900 No Limit $10,000
7/1/16 – 6/30/17 $133.20 $888 $976.80 $888.00 450 Weeks $399,600 No Limit $7,500
7/1/15 – 6/30/16 $128.70 $858 $943.80 $858.00 450 Weeks $386,100 No Limit $7,500
7/1/14 – 6/30/15 $127.20 $848 $932.80 $848.00 450 Weeks $381,600 No Limit $7,500
7/1/13 – 6/30/14 $125.25 $835 $918.50 $835.00 400 Weeks $334,000 No Limit $7,500
7/1/12 – 6/30/12 $120.90 $806 $886.60 $806.00 400 Weeks $322,400 No Limit $7,500
7/1/11 – 6/30/12 $118.35 $789 $867.90 $789.00 400 Weeks $315,600 No Limit $7,500
7/1/10 – 6/30/11 $114.75 $765 $841.50 $765.00 400 Weeks $306,000 No Limit $7,500
7/1/09 – 6/30/10 $114.15 $761 $837.00 $761.00 400 Weeks $304,400 No Limit $7,500
7/1/08 – 6/30/09 $112.80 $752 $827.00 $752.00 400 Weeks $300,800 No Limit $7,500
7/1/07 – 6/30/08 $102.30 $713 $784.00 $713.00 400 Weeks $285,200 No Limit $7,500
7/1/06 – 6/30/07 $102.30 $682 $750.00 $682.00 400 Weeks $272,800 No Limit $7,500
7/1/05 – 6/30/06 $99.45 $663 $729.00 $663.00 400 Weeks $265,200 No Limit $7,500
7/1/04 – 6/30/05 $95.70 $638 $670.00 $638.00 400 Weeks $255,200 No Limit $7,500
7/1/03 – 6/30/04 $92.70 $618 $618.00 $618.00 400 Weeks $247,200 No Limit $7,500
7/1/02 – 6/30/03 $89.85 $599 $599.00 $599.00 400 Weeks $239,600 No Limit $7,500
7/1/01 – 6/30/02 $87.15 $581 $581.00 $581.00 400 Weeks $232,400 No Limit $7,500
7/1/00 – 6/30/01 $84.30 $562 $562.00 $562.00 400 Weeks $224,800 No Limit $7,500
7/1/99 – 6/30/00 $81.15 $541 $541.00 $541.00 400 Weeks $216,400 No Limit $7,500
7/1/98 – 6/30/99 $77.25 $515 $515.00 $515.00 400 Weeks $206,000 No Limit $4,500
7/1/97 – 6/30/98 $73.80 $492 $492.00 $492.00 400 Weeks $196,800 No Limit $4,500
7/1/96 – 6/30/97 $71.10 $474 $453.14 $453.14 400 Weeks $181,256 No Limit $4,500
7/1/95 – 6/30/96 $68.40 $456 $415.87 $415.87 400 Weeks $166,348 No Limit $4,500
7/1/94 – 6/30/95 $66.15 $441 $382.79 $382.79 400 Weeks $153,116 No Limit $4,500
7/1/93 – 6/30/94 $64.80 $432 $355.97 $355.97 400 Weeks $142,388 No Limit $4,500
8/1/92 – 6/30/93 $35.00 $403 $318.24 $318.24 400 Weeks $127,296 No Limit $4,500
7/1/91 – 7/31/92 $35.00 n/a $294.00 $294.00 400 Weeks $117,600 No Limit $4,500
7/1/90 – 6/30/91 $35.00 n/a $273.00 $273.00 400 Weeks $109,200 No Limit $3,000

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Medical Benefits

Through medical benefits, your employees can get reasonable medical costs covered through their insurance claims. This will include doctor visits, surgeries, prescriptions, physical therapy, medical equipment, and more. These medical benefits extend and apply as long as an authorized treating physician determines they are necessary to treat the work-related injury.

Temporary Partial Benefits

Workmans comp in TN has a temporary partial benefit , which pays the difference between an employee’s expected income versus earned income based on the employee’s average weekly wage. The benefit pays two-thirds of this difference up to a maximum. The maximum time temporary partial  benefits can be paid in Tennessee is 450 weeks.

Temporary Total Benefits

Workers comp insurance in TN provides benefits to workers who a doctor has determined cannot work until they have recovered from their injury or illness.  The benefit amount is calculated based on two-thirds of the employee’s weekly wage. The cap on temporary total benefits is 110% of the state’s average weekly wage.

Permanent Partial Benefits

Tennessee workers compensation offers permanent partial  benefits to workers who can still work but have sustained a permanent injury that is unlikely to recover fully. Employees can receive up to 450 weeks of benefits for permanent partial impairment in Tennessee. A qualified physician will issue a rating that determines the benefit amount using the Medical Impairment Registry.

Permanent Total Benefits

The state of TN workers comp allows employees to apply for a permanent total benefit if a doctor has determined they will not reasonably recover from an injury or illness enough to return to work. This benefit is paid out based on the benefit compensation rate until the employee becomes eligible for retirement under social security.

Death Benefit

The state of Tennessee workers compensation pays death benefits to surviving dependents of an employee who has died. 50% of the average weekly wage is paid to the surviving spouse up to a maximum, increasing to 66% of the average weekly wage if there are one or more dependent children. Without dependents, $20,000 is paid directly to the deceased employee’s estate. Currently, workers’ compensation insurance in Tennessee pays $10,000 to pay for burial expenses.

Common Questions About Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Tennessee workers’ compensation insurance requirements differ from those in other states. Below are some common questions employers have about the specifics of workers’ compensation insurance in Tennessee.

How Long Do Employees Need to Wait to Get Workers Compensation Benefits in Tennessee?

TN workers comp laws define that workers must wait seven days before receiving applicable benefits. The retroactive period for a workers’ compensation claim is 14 days.

What Businesses Are Exempt From Tennessee Workers Compensation Insurance?

Tennessee workers compensation requirements exempt business owners who operate as sole proprietors. If you use independent contract workers in your business, you are not required to purchase insurance for them. If you run a limited liability company (LLC), you do not have to buy insurance for other owning members.

What Are the Penalties for Not Having Workers Compensation Insurance in Tennessee?

Tennessee workers compensation law outlines penalties for employers who do not provide satisfactory workers’ compensation coverage. The first monetary penalty for noncompliance with insurance requirements equates to one and one-half the average yearly workers’ compensation premium. If you receive a second penalty, you must pay equal to the average yearly workers’ compensation premium. If you have still failed to pay these penalties or obtain workers’ compensation insurance, the state can order your business to close.

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Tennessee Workers Compensation Cost

Businesses in Tennessee pay $134 per month or $1,608 per year for workers compensation insurance. The area your business operates in, the risk level of your business, the number of employees, the coverage limit of your policy, and payroll size all contribute to the overall cost of your insurance premium. Here’s a table that helps you compare the rates of notable workers compensation insurance companies:

Company Cost per Month Cost per Year Best for
NEXT $104 $1,248 Best overall; Fastest workers compensation insurance.
The Hartford $125 $1,500 Premium worker’s compensation insurance features.
Tivly $110 $1,320 Comparing workers compensation insurance quotes over the phone.
Thimble $135 $1,620 On-demand workers compensation insurance.
Hiscox $200 $2,400 Prompt claims response.

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Best Companies for Tennessee Workers Compensation Insurance

We will review the best companies for your workers’ compensation insurance in Tennessee. These companies each provide different benefits that may appeal to your business. Read to know their pros, cons, and average cost:



  • Best overall.

  • Get a life insurance certificate instantly.

  • Transparent pricing on policies.

  • Fastest workers compensation insurance.

  • Bundle two or more insurance policies and get a 10% discount.

  • Get an online proof of insurance and send it as a text message, email, or social media post.

  • Great customer service and reputation.


  • Couldn’t find any.

NEXT offers premium workers’ compensation insurance at a value rate. They are highly reviewed by customers, as demonstrated by their 4.7/5 rating.  This company will help you cover medical expenses, lost wages, and  benefits for your injured employees. They serve over 420,000 customers for their insurance needs. NEXT has an A- rating from AM Best. 

Best for: Best overall; Fastest workers compensation insurance.

Average cost: $104 per month 

Our rating: 10/10

The Hartford


  • Needle stick reimbursement program.

  • Claim tracking is simple.

  • Convenient mobile app.


  • Customer service not available 24/7.

The Hartford is a trusted insurer with over 200 years of experience in the industry. They serve over one million small businesses. Your policy with this company benefits from extra features like nurse case managers, access to 65,000 pharmacies, and a needle stick reimbursement program. This program helps your employees pay for initial testing and if the employee gets hurt with a needle. The Hartford has an A- from AM Best and an A+ from the Better Business Bureau.

Best for: Premium worker’s compensation insurance features.

Average cost: $125 per month

Our rating: 10/10 



  • Huge selection of partners.

  • Helps connect you with policies that suit your needs.

  • Personalized approach to granting coverage. 


  • You need to call to compare quotes over the phone. 

Tivly has over 200 insurance partners to select a possible policy from. Their customer service complements this vast amount of choice. With a quick phone call, you will be on your way to narrowing down the options until only the best ones remain. The Better Business Bureau has given Tivly an A rating. Call now and talk with a representative to compare workers compensation insurance quotes over the phone. 

Best for: Comparing workers compensation insurance quotes over the phone. 

Average cost: $110 per month 

Our rating: 10/10



  • Over 75% of customers are first-time buyers.

  • Excellent mobile app.

  • Your insurance policy can scale as your business grows.


  • You can’t reach customer service by calling. 

Thimble has a streamlined insurance buying process that allows you to buy insurance quickly. They have simplified products that are easy to purchase thanks to them asking you fewer questions to get covered. This is the best option if you need coverage quickly and hassle-free. Thimble has sold over 125,000 policies and has an A+ from the Better Business Bureau.

Best for: On-demand workers compensation insurance.

Average cost: $135 per month 

Our rating: 10/10 

Hiscox Insurance


  • Specializes in tailored insurance policies.

  • Excellent customer service.

  • Flexibility for payment options.


  • Restricts some policies to firms with few employees.

Hiscox is an insurer specializing in writing policies for small and medium-sized businesses. Their policies feature a 14-day refund policy, which helps relieve some of the stress of making a purchase. This company has a trusted service award from Feefo, a customer review site. You can save when choosing Hiscox since they offer discounts when bundling multiple policies. Hiscox has a solid A rating from Am Best.

Best for: Prompt claims response.

Average cost: $200 per month 

Our rating: 10/10 

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