Workers Compensation Insurance in California: Cost & Quotes From $14/mo

Similarly to Ohio, California is very strict in implementing its workers compensation system. Worker’s compensation in California is a critical aspect of business insurance. Companies can protect their workers and business interests from substantial financial harm. Workplace injuries and illness occur at a rate of 2.7 per 100 full–time workers. This rate has decreased in California over the past decade thanks to worker training and workers comp initiatives. 

Today, the average cost of a workplace injury claim can range between $30,000 on the low end and $90,00 on the high end.. The most common causes of worker injuries, from most incidence to least incidence, include:

  • Motor vehicle

  • Burn

  • Fall/Slip

  • Caught

  • Struck

  • Strain

  • Cumulative injury

  • Cut/Scrape/punched

You want the best workers compensation in California. Even the safest workplaces are susceptible to workplace injuries or incidents, making it essential for business owners to invest appropriately in workers comp insurance coverage to protect their businesses.

This article intends to offer an informative look into common concerns and questions that workers and business owners have about workers comp in California. This guide will examine concerns like:

  • What is workers compensation insurance?

  • How does workers compensation insurance work in California?

  • Who is required to have workers compensation insurance in California?

  • Who is exempt from workers comp in California?

  • California Workers Compensation Laws

  • How much does workers compensation insurance cost in California?

  • The best workers compensation insurance companies in California

Ultimately, you will want to compare different prices by getting quotes in your area. Whether you are in Sacramento, San Diego, Los Angles, or elsewhere in California, there is an insurance company out there that can fit the needs of your business or workplace.  California wc (workers comp) could be one of the most important investment decisions your business makes.

What is Workers Compensation Insurance?

Workers’ compensation insurance is an insurance plan that offers medical and wage benefits to workers who become injured or fall ill during the course of their workplace duties. Worker’s compensation insurance in California is mandated by the state. It includes payouts for things like medical bills and relief for temporary or permanent disabilities.

Workers compensation in CA  has one of the highest costs among the different states in the United States. Here is the average cost broken down by the top five most costly states based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

State Average Cost Per Employee Per Year
New Jersey $1,415
New York $1,252
Vermont $1,241
California $1,213
Hawaii $1,168

There are a few reasons why California has such a high worker–compensation insurance rate. 

The state has high medical costs in general, which pushes the insurance premiums up to match. Also, the state experiences more litigation cases for worker’s comp claims, which further adds to the cost. Lastly, there is a high rate of permanent disability claims that cost more to pay out, thus increasing the average insurance cost. 

Workers comp in Los Angeles sat at the top of the list in California compared to other areas because of its percentage of first reports of injury. First-time injuries are one of the most common reasons for workers comp requests.

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How Does Workers Compensation Insurance Work in California?

California workers compensation insurance works by providing both medical coverage and wage replacement that arises from many illnesses and injuries that result from the workplace. CA workers comp laws require every company to have this insurance available to their employees

For an employee to qualify for insurance benefits, they must be affected negatively by a condition that has risen during regular business activities. Here is how the process typically works:

  • An employee reports an injury–It is the employee’s responsibility to initiate the worker comp claims process in California. Typically employees have a deadline to report an injury through a written notice to their employer within 30 days of the incident date. There are a few exceptions in California worker compensation law, but in most situations, the deadline is inflexible. Most exceptions involve a supervisor also witnessing the incident. Still, you should not delay reporting a workplace incident because it may cause your benefits to be held up

  • Employer and Employee file a California workers comp claim–After the employee reports the injury, the employer has a one–work–day deadline to give the employee a workers’ compensation form that both need to fill out. The employer will then submit this form to the insurance company to start the benefits process

  • The insurance company responds–The insurance company will make a determination whether to authorize a payment for medical treatment or lost wages. Insurance companies are incentivized to resolve these claims quickly because California requires an insurer to be responsible for any medical bills up to $10,000 until it makes its decision

  • Employee files an adjudication claim–While this process can end at step three, there can sometimes be disagreements with the insurer about the medical treatment you request or that you need to miss work. These disagreements are common, so employees may need to follow up with officers working for the State of California workers compensation department which is called The Division of Workers Compensation. It is crucial that employees stay on top of this since there is a deadline in California of one year to file this application. In the case of the employee dying as a result of the incident, a dependent has one year from the date of death to file the application

Who is Required to Have Workers Compensation Insurance in California?

California worker compensation law requires all employers, regardless of the industry the company is in, to have workers’ compensation insurance. Independent contractors are even advised to get the coverage even if they can be exempt.  Workers compensation insurance in California is stricter than in many other places in the United States.

Worker's Compensation Insurance protects workers and your business from costly medical expenses from injury or illness.

Who is Exempt From Workers Comp in California? 

The only exceptions to the California worker’s compensation insurance requirement are owners, board members, or shareholders of the business. This exemption can also extend to spouses as well since the California Labor Code considers a spouse to be a co–owner. 

Workers can also choose to exclude themselves from coverage if they fill out a waiver for the insurance carrier or company if they choose. Some workers choose to exempt themselves from workers comp because they want to operate as independent contractors. These workers are willing to absorb the risk to retain their freedom from the company. The Contract State Licensing Board of California also mentions that out–of–state contractors can apply for a waiver of exemption as well. Here is a breakdown of how different groups can get exempted:

Group How the Exemption Works
Owners and Sole Proprietors Automatically Exempted
Board Members or General Partners Need to File a Wavier
Spouses of Owners Need to File a Waiver
Contractors Need to File a Waiver

The California Workers Compensation Law

Through the California Workers compensation law workers enjoy a no-fault workers comp coverage this system. This ensures that all employees receive payout for a work-related injury regardless if the accident was their fault or the employer’s fault. .

California workers compensation system allows employers and employees to save on legal costs as well as help workers get a leg up in understanding their legal rights about workplace injury.

Another added benefit of this system is that your companies liabilities costs for workers compensation may not be as high since you won’t need to defend yourself in court against worker injury claims as often.

How Long Does Workers Comp Last in California? 

Workers comp benefits in California typically last 104 weeks or two years after the date of the injury. More severe injuries that cause partial or complete disability and disease can last up to 240 weeks. 

Workers comp benefits do not last forever, and California law does not require employers to purchase long–term disability coverage. However, some companies give themselves a competitive advantage in the labor recruiting market.

Complex injuries that result in permanent or partial disability are often taken to court to get litigated to get a judgment known as an Award of Permanent Disability. This award allows a worker to draw permanent disability benefits and even allows them to continue drawing benefits even if they haven’t lost their job.

Because of these high stakes, companies often settle these litigations out of court with employees for lesser and agreed–upon amounts. These cases can also take months or even years to litigate in court and can be costly legal endeavors. This process also incentivizes companies and employees to settle out of court to save money and time.

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How Much Does Workers Compensation Insurance Cost in California?

The premium costs of workers’ compensation insurance in California generally start at around $101 per employee per month or $1,212 per year on the low end of the scale. However, different companies offer different levels of coverage that will affect the premium rates. Several other factors will influence the rate as well, such as profession, claim history, and work experience. A comparison of the cost of the best companies is listed below:

Company Cost per Month Cost per Year Best for
NEXT $25 $300 Best overall; Fastest workers comp in California
CoverWallet $27 $324 Comparing California workers compensation insurance quotes online
Hiscox $30 $360 Easy access
The Hartford $70 $840 Personalized customer service
Tivly $85 $1,020 Comparing quotes over the phone
Thimble $90 $1,080 Streamlined service
Progressive $160 $1,920 Policy variety

Compare Workers Compensation Insurance in California Online

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Best Workers Compensation Insurance Companies in California

Workers compensation insurance in CA can end up being one of the most expensive types of insurance a company pays for. This means that it is crucial to shop around for quotes to get the most bang for your buck. Here are the best companies to work with. Read some of the reviews below to know their pros, cons, and rate:



  • Best overall

  • Issues an online proof of insurance instantly

  • Fastest workers comp in California

  • Great customer service and reputation

  • Excellent rates

  • Outstanding value for money

  • Get a 10% discount if you buy two or more policies 


  • No paper records, which may not appeal to traditional business owners

NEXT is a fantastic company for dealing with State of California workers comp insurance. They have a nice amount of customization, and their online systems are slick and easy to use.

Best for: Best overall; Fastest workers comp in California

Average cost: $25 per month

Our rating: 10/10

The Hartford


  • Great small business experience

  • Good online customer service

  • Bundle discount


  • Need to talk to an agent before making a purchase

The Hartford is one of the best options for small business owners and their employees. They have an excellent customer service track record, and their service agents make the experience easy. If you need Sacramento workers comp, they operate in locations all over the state.

Best for: Personalized customer service

Average cost: $70 per month

Our rating: 10/10



  • Coverage customization

  • Convenient online dashboard


  • Quotes Require a phone call

CoverWallet offers lots of customization that are made easier thanks to its helpful dashboard, which helps you keep track of all your products in one place

Best for: Comparing California workers compensation insurance quotes online 

Average cost: $27 per month 

Our rating: 10/10



  • Many partner carriers

  • Instant quotes


  • Limited tools for managing policies

Tivly has an extensive list of partner carriers, making it the go–to insurance stop for people who like lots of options. The ability to get instant quotes also makes the decision–making that much easier. They possess a 200-provider network in California that helps customers find workers comp in San Diego and elsewhere in California. Call a representative now to compare quotes over the phone and get covered. 

Best for: Comparing quotes over the phone

Average cost: $85 per month

Our rating: 10/10



  • Getting a quote and purchasing are very quick

  • More coverage options

  • Great features for contractors


  • No telephone customer service line

Thimble is an online–based insurance company that has excellent coverage options for workers comp insurance. They also have a quick quote and purchase time thanks to their well–designed site.

Best for: Streamlined service

Average cost: $90 per month 

Our rating: 10/10



  • Small business focused

  • Online quotes

  • Bundle discount on similar products


  • Limited options for large businesses

Another great small–business–focused insurance company is Hiscox. They pair online quotes with features that make it easy for a small business to get started on workers comp insurance.

Best for: Easy access

Average cost: $30 per month

Our rating: 10/10



  • Excellent for small and medium businesses

  • Online quotes


  • Have to call to complete a purchase

Progressive is a balanced option for small and medium companies. They offer competitive rates, and their agents make the purchase process smooth after you get your online quote.

Best for: Policy variety

Average cost: $160 per month

Our rating: 8/10

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