4 Best Workers Comp Insurance in Illinois

Thang Truong
Thang Truong
Updated on:

Health care, food services such as restaurants, or other retail services like groceries are the most popular among 1.2 million small businesses in Illinois. If you run a small business in Illinois, make sure you have workers compensation insurance. It is required even if you just have one employee, either full time or part-time. Without it, you might incur a fine of $10,000. It is not worth it. Depending on industries, workers compensation insurance might be quite affordable. We explain the details and recommend the 4 best workers compensation insurance companies in Illinois for your consideration.

4 best workers compensation insurance companies in Illinois

We research ~20 companies offering workers compensation insurance in Illinois and here are our recommendation of the top 4 providers for your consideration.

  • CoverWallet: Best for comparing several quotes online conveniently
  • Guard: Best for excellent financial backing
  • The Hartford: Best for midsize businesses in Ohio
  • Pie Insurance: Best for small businesses in Ohio

CoverWallet: Best for comparing several quotes online conveniently

CoverWallet is a digital broker. They work with several leading business insurance companies in Illinois. If you want to compare quotes from several companies in one place to select the best and the cheapest one, you may want to start with CoverWallet. Within minutes, you will be able to compare several quotes in one place.

Below is an example of quotes for a landscaping contractor located in Chicago, Illinois with 3 full time employees and annual payroll of $350,000. You may know that landscaping contractors have one of the most expensive workers compensation insurance because it is probably one of the riskiest lines of work.

The three quotes we received are from Guard, AmTrust, and Chubb. Guard’s quote might be the cheapest in this case, but it may not be the cheapest for your company. So be sure to shop around and compare several quotes. CoverWallet might give you different set of quotes from different insurers for your company.

Here is another quote sample from CoverWallet for an accounting firm in Chicago with 3 full-time employees and an annual payroll of $250,000.

As you can see, for this accounting firm, AmTrust quote is cheaper than Guard’s one. So, make sure you get quotes for your own company from CoverWallet to compare and choose the cheapest one for your company.

Once you’ve got your quote, you can purchase a policy online, or be connected to an agent. After buying a quote through CoverWallet, you can use this digital dashboard to manage your policies 100% digitally. You can download the certificate of insurance, file a claim, or renew the policy, and more.

CoverWallet is licensed in all 50 states, including Illinois. And when you get a quote from CoverWallet, they make sure to provide you with quotes from companies that are licensed in Illinois only.

Guard: Best for excellent financial backing

Guard is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaways, the owner of the popular auto insurance company, Geico. You may not know that Geico also offers several business insurance products, especially commercial auto insurance. However, in the Berkshire Hathaways family, Guard is the specialized business insurance provider. They started with workers compensation insurance and have expanded to offer other types of business insurance such as general liability insurance, professional liability insurance, BOP, commercial auto insurance, etc.

Guard has focused on delivering a completely digital experience for small businesses. They can provide fast online quotes within a few minutes. You can also buy a policy and manage the policy completely online as well.

Being a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaways, Guard enjoys an excellent financial rating. That should give you peace of mind if you buy the workers compensation insurance policy from them.

The Hartford: Best for midsize businesses in Illinois

The Hartford is one of the leading business insurance companies. They offer a wide range of business insurance policies and cater to businesses in all industries. The Hartford is actually the second biggest workers compensation insurance company in 2020, having 5.9% market share.

They have excellent financial rating (A+) from AM Best and is included in the top 14 business insurance companies of the annual customer satisfaction survey by J.D. Power, although they are in the bottom 2.

Despite being one of the legacy insurance companies, The Hartford also offers online quotes. It is pretty easy and fast to get an online quote from them. However, you have to contact their agents or call the customer service to buy a policy. They want to make sure you are explained thoroughly about the ins and outs of the policy before buying it.

If you run a midsize business in Illinois, you might want to consider the Hartford for your workers compensation insurance policy.

Pie: Best for small businesses in Illinois

Next Insurance is one of the most popular insuretech startups, focused on modernizing the way we shop, buy, and manage workers compensation insurance policies. Pie insurance specializes in providing workers compensation insurance policies to small businesses. Thanks to the specialization, they are able to provide competitive prices. Pie claim that their policies are 30% cheaper than others.

You can get a quote on their website in a matter of a few minutes, buy a policy, and manage all aspects of the policy completely online.

Pie only focuses on small businesses and operating 100% digitally is one of their strengths, which helps them cut cost, and as a result offers cheaper policies.

However, this doesn’t mean that their policies are always the cheapest. The only way for you to get the cheapest policy for your business is to shop around with a few providers or with a digital broker such as CoverWallet.

>>MORE: 10 Best Workers Compensation Insurance Companies for Small Businesses

Workers compensation laws in Illinois

If you own a small business in Illinois, you need workers compensation insurance. Even if you have just one employee, even if they only work part-time, you still need workers compensation insurance. If you don’t, you can incur a fine of $10,000.

The median costs for the two parties in a workers compensation insurance lawsuit is $88,000. It is not worth skipping workers compensation insurance.

The only exceptions of workers compensation insurance in Illinois are:

  • Sole proprietors
  • Business partners
  • LLC members
  • Corporate officers
  • Domestic workers who opt out

If you fall into one of these categories and choose not to get workers compensation insurance, you’ll need to fill out a workers compensation coverage opt-out form and file it with the state. 

If you don’t have workers compensation insurance in Illinois, you could be fined $500 for every day you don’t have it. It might cost you more than $1,500 a month, which can be more expensive than the insurance policy itself.

What does Illinois workers compensation insurance cover?

Workers compensation insurance protects your employees just in case they are injured on the job. It covers:

  • Medical expenses
  • Death benefits
  • Missed wages 
  • Lawsuits
  • Vocational training

Vocational training covers education if your employee can no longer do the job they were hired to do. 

Workers compensation will cover your court costs and any settlements if the injured employee decides to sue you. If the worst happens and an employee dies while on the job, workers compensation n covers the funeral and burial expenses. It also provides a settlement to the victim’s family. 

Keep in mind that diseases employees were exposed to while at work can also be covered under workers compensation. Carpal tunnel syndrome for office workers and black lung disease for coal miners are two well-known occupational hazards that can be covered by workers compensation insurance. 

What doesn’t workers compensation insurance cover?

Workers’ compensation doesn’t cover everything. It won’t cover:

  • Independent contractor injuries
  • Client injuries 
  • Employees who are intoxicated or high
  • Wages for temporary workers while the worker recovers
  • OSHA fines
  • Injuries that occur after the employee has left work (assuming they’re not doing something under the scope of employment)
  • Vandalism or intentional injuries

Who is exempt from workers comp insurance in Illinois?

In the state of Illinois, if you have a single employee, even a part-time one, you must purchase workers’ compensation insurance. The only exceptions are for:

  • Real estate agents
  • Sole proprietors, partners in a business partnership, and corporate officers.

How much does workers compensation insurance cost in Illinois?

The cost of workers compensation insurance varies according to:

  • Amount of payroll
  • Claims history
  • Number of employees
  • Coverage limits
  • Location
  • Level of risk 

If you want to calculate your workers compensation costs in Illinois, it’s $1 per $100 of payroll on average. You then multiply this by class code, which is how the insurance industry categorizes workers, and then that’s multiplied by an experience modification rate, which is how your business compares to other businesses. Costs of workers compensation insurance tend to go down over time because of experience, unless you have a claim. 

If you want to reduce the cost of workers compensation insurance for your business, make sure you shop around with at least 3 companies or with a digital broker like CoverWallet to compare several quotes and select the cheapest one for your business.

How to find cheap workers compensation insurance in Illinois?

Finding cheap workers’ compensation insurance in Illinois really depends on your claims history and your payroll. It’s always possible to find different rates, especially if you choose an insurer that focuses solely on covering workers’ compensation, like Pie Insurance.

Make sure to shop with at least 3-5 companies or a digital broker like CoverWallet to compare several quotes before selecting the cheapest one for your company. Different insurance companies will provide you with different rates, so be sure to shop around to compare.

It can also pay to ask about any discounts on the insurance policy with an agent. Some insurance companies will provide discounts for having safety policies and return-to-work policies in place. You may also get a discount if you choose to bundle multiple insurance policies with the same insurer.

Lastly, the cost of worker compensation insurance depends on the classification codes of your employees. Construction workers have much more expensive workers compensation insurance than clerical workers, so make sure you classify your employees into the correct codes and remember to update the codes when your employees change the nature of their work.

How is workers compensation Insurance different that general liability insurance?

Workers compensation insurance only covers people who work for you, both full time and part time workers when they are injured at work.

On the other hand, if your client or a customer or even a random passerby is injured on your jobsite, general liability insurance will cover that. General liability covers bodily injury and third-party property damage against you, the business owner. If you send an employee or yourself to do work at your client’s location and cause damages to your client’s property. If your client sues you, general liability insurance will cover that.

Last thoughts

Although no one wants to pay a lot of money for workers compensation insurance, the cost of not having it is exponentially more. Make sure you run a safe workplace, and hopefully you won’t have any claims filed against you.

Thang Truong
Thang Truong

Thang Truong covers small business insurance and small business success at BravoPolicy. He is a licensed P&C insurance agent. Previously, he held product leadership positions at realtor.com, Capital One, NerdWallet, and Mulberry Technology. He holds a MBA degree from UC Berkeley - Haas School of Business.

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