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Workers Compensation insurance

Iowa Workers’ Compensation Insurance

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Iowa Workers’ Compensation requirements

Iowa workers’ compensation insurance is required for all employers in the state unless they meet one of a few limited exemptions. 

Even in the case of an exemption, you may opt into coverage so you’re protected from unexpected costs if you or your employees experience a workplace injury.

If you or an employee gets hurt at work, workers’ compensation coverage can help pay for related costs, including lost wages and medical expenses. Without it, you could be held liable for covering those expenses out of pocket. 

Wondering where to start? Learn all you need to know about the workers’ compensation requirements in Iowa and how to get affordable coverage quickly and easily.

Who is exempt from Workers’ Compensation in Iowa?

While workers’ compensation coverage is a good investment for most businesses, not all are required to carry it. In the following situations, workers’ comp isn’t required: 

  • Sole proprietors, partners and members of a limited liability company (LLC)
  • Independent contractors
  • Domestic and casual employees making less than $1,500 in the past 12 months
  • Agricultural employers with a payroll of less than $2,500 during the past 12 months
  • Close family members of the employer, including a spouse, children, parents, brothers and sisters
  • Exchange laborers who work in agriculture
  • Officers of family farm corporations and their close family members
  • Certain police officers and firefighters who are entitled to pension fund benefits
  • An Iowa employer is self-insured and has provided proof. 
  • Although coverage is not required for the situations above, you can still opt-in to get protection from unexpected expenses and potential liability after a workplace injury or illness.

What types of businesses buy Workers’ Compensation in Iowa?

The Department of Labor has reported over 5,000 workers’ comp claims in Iowa in 2020, resulting in nearly $300 million paid in benefits. 

Essentially, every type of business with employees that is not exempt from Iowa workers’ comp laws should have active coverage.

People get injured or fall ill in any line of work, regardless if it’s a higher-risk occupation like construction or a low-risk office job. You or an employee can slip and fall, get burned on coffee or get exposed to a substance unknowingly that causes illness. 

How does Workers’ Compensation work in Iowa?

If your employee gets hurt while working, they should report it to you immediately and seek medical care. If they don’t, they’ll have 90 days to report it from the date of the accident to be eligible for benefits.

If an employee notifies you and they have missed at least three days of work due to the incident, you have four days to file the “first report of injury form” with the Iowa workers’ compensation commissioner.

You should also report the incident to your insurance provider as soon as possible to avoid any problems with the claims process.

After information is gathered and evaluated, your insurance company will approve or deny the claim. If approved, the employee will receive benefits. If denied, the employee can file a dispute. 

It’s important to note there are additional statutes of limitations. Employees can be denied benefits if they don’t receive benefits or file a dispute within two years of their injury. If an employee did get benefits, they have a three-year period to request additional benefits.

What does Workers’ Comp cover in Iowa?

Workers’ compensation coverage helps protect you and your business from being held responsible for medical treatment costs and lost wages due to work-related injuries and illnesses. More specifically, your workers’ comp policy can help cover the following:

  • Medical treatment, including emergency treatment
  • Ongoing medical bills
  • Lost wages because of the injury or illness
  • Death benefits for any worker who died as a result of a workplace injury or illness

For medical benefits, Iowa law states that all reasonable and necessary medical care is covered. This can also include private transportation costs for medical care at a rate of $0.56 per mile. 

Workers’ compensation insurance can also help cover benefits to those who have been fully or partially disabled because of an injury at work. These benefits are paid out weekly up to limits set by the state of Iowa. Generally, this benefit can’t be more than 80% of the employee’s weekly spendable earnings.

The maximum rate for Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) is about $1,400 a week and $1,500 per week for Temporary and Permanent Total Disability.


Workers’ Comp death benefits in Iowa

If one of your employees dies on the job, Iowa workers’ compensation laws require insurance companies to pay out weekly death benefits. These benefits can go to the surviving spouse for life or until they remarry, and to dependent children. 

If the worker doesn’t have a spouse or dependent children, other people, including their parents, can apply for benefits. However, anyone who isn’t a spouse or dependent child will need to prove that they relied on the employee’s income before their death.

Insurers may also pay for funeral and burial costs, up to an amount limited by the state. 

How much does Workers’ Comp insurance cost in Iowa?

In Iowa, the exact rates your business will pay for workers’ compensation coverage depend on various factors including:

  • The type of work your employees perform (class codes)
  • The number of employees who work for you
  • Your history of workers’ comp claims, if you have any
  • Where your business operates

Next Insurance can help you get quotes to find out exactly how much it will cost you.

How to apply for workers’ comp insurance

If you’re a small business owner or contractor who needs Iowa workers’ compensation insurance, Next Insurance can help. You can get coverage and access your certificate of insurance in less than 10 minutes with our painless and seamless online process. 

We have a team of U.S.-based insurance advisors who are standing by and ready to help.

Start your online instant quote today.

Other business insurance policies to consider

Workers’ compensation insurance provides many important protections for your business, but you’ll also need to consider additional coverage to include with your Iowa business insurance package to make sure you protect your company from unnecessary risks. 

Most Iowa businesses also consider these insurance options: 

General Liability insurance

General liability insurance protects your business from common mistakes or accidents that can occur in your industry, such as damage to someone’s property or a customer injury. You can add tools and equipment insurance to this policy for extra protection if you are a contractor or cleaning business owner.


Professional Liability insurance (aka E&O insurance)

Professional liability insurance provides financial protection against claims of professional mistakes or negligence.  


Commercial Auto insurance

Commercial auto insurance is required for all business-owned vehicles in Iowa. If you’re driving and using your personal vehicle for work-related purposes, commercial auto insurance also protects your business from unexpected expenses related to an accident. 



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How long will it take to get my policy after I buy?
In case you purchase your policy online you will receive your policy documents via email within one business day of purchase. In case you purchase through an agent your agent will let you know when to expect your documents.
Can I add to or change my coverage?
If you’ve expanded your business and need coverage for more kinds of work (or higher amounts of the same coverage), please let us know. One of our support agents can discuss your business's changing needs, and in most cases, we’ll be able to set you up with a new policy on the same day (so there will be no gaps in your coverage).

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