What is a Workers' Comp Certificate of Insurance?

Workers Comp 
Workers' Comp Certificate of Insurance

A workers’ comp insurance certificate is a one-page document that proves you have workers’ comp insurance and summarizes your policy details. 

It includes information like your insurance company’s name, policy number, types of coverage included, and your workers’ compensation coverage expiration date. This document is sometimes called a COI, proof of insurance, or insurance certificate.

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When Do You Need a Workers’ Comp Insurance Certificate?

You might need to show proof of workers’ compensation when signing new contracts with clients and vendors, sending bids and proposals (especially for government projects), and joining a business partnership. Other instances include when: 

  • Working with general contractors or project managers: Subcontractors often need to provide a workers’ comp certificate to limit liabilities in case one of their employees is injured.
  • Leasing or renting commercial space: The landlord or property owner may want to see your workers’ comp certificate of insurance to verify your employees are covered while working on the premises. 
  • Applying for business licenses or permits: It’s not uncommon for business owners in high-risk industries like construction or healthcare to need to show a workers’ compensation insurance certificate before they are approved for licenses and permits. 
  • Providing proof of compliance to your state: Almost all states have workers’ compensation laws requiring employers with a minimum number of employees to have this insurance. See the chart below for minimums. Note that some employers are eligible for a workers’ comp exemption. Check your local laws for rules.
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Find your state and see when workers' comp is required. If you have the number of employees listed or more, you'll need it.

Employee Threshold for Workers' Comp by State
State Employee Threshold
Alabama 5
Alaska 1
Arizona 1
Arkansas 3
California 1
Colorado 1
Connecticut 1
Delaware 1
Florida 4*
Georgia 3
Hawaii 1
Idaho 1
Illinois 1
Indiana 1
Iowa 1
Kansas 1**
Kentucky 1
Louisiana 1
Maine 1
Maryland 1
Massachusetts 1
Michigan 1
Minnesota 1
Mississippi 5
Missouri 5***
Montana 1
Nebraska 1
Nevada 1
New Hampshire 1
New Jersey 1
New Mexico 3***
New York 1
North Carolina 3
North Dakota 1
Ohio 1
Oklahoma 1
Oregon 1
Pennsylvania 1
Rhode Island 1
South Carolina 4
South Dakota Not required
Tennessee 5***
Texas Not required****
Utah 1
Vermont 1
Virginia 3
Washington 1
West Virginia 1
Wisconsin 3
Wyoming 1

*Construction businesses with 1+ employees must have coverage. Florida also has different rules for agricultural businesses.

**Mandatory for all employers with 1+ employees and a gross payroll over $20,000

***Construction businesses with 1+ employees must carry workers’ comp.

****Not required for most private employers, but needed when working on government contracts

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Workers’ Compensation vs. General Liability: What’s the Difference?

Workers’ compensation provides financial benefits and medical care for employees who get hurt or sick because of their job. 

General liability policies and other business liability insurance policies cover claims arising from your business operations, like property damage and customers getting hurt while in your office. 

How Can You Get a Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

You can get a free workers’ comp insurance certificate in seconds from your phone using Hourly’s app if you have a policy through us. 

If not, you can get one by asking your insurance agent or broker—but you’ll need to plan ahead. They may ask you to complete an online form or have other procedures in place before you can get your workers’ comp COI. 

Ensure your insurance coverage limits meet the minimums needed for the person requesting it. If it doesn’t, you can increase them to match their expectations before requesting your COI. That way you don’t have to ask for another certificate later.

How Long Does It Take?

Some brokers may have your certificate ready in less than 24 hours. Others have longer turnaround times of a few days or more. 

Your agent or broker will send your certificate either electronically or printed in the mail, depending on their way of doing business. 

Once you have the certificate in hand, you’ll want to check your:

  • Minimum coverage limits: Check your workers’ compensation insurance coverage limits to verify again that they meet the minimums needed for the client. 
  • Policy expiration: Make sure your policy isn’t expired. If it is, contact your broker as soon as possible to renew it.
  • Business name: See who’s listed as the policyholder. It should be your name if you do business under your name, your LLC’s company name if that’s your business structure, or if you have a DBA (doing business as), your name or DBA.

What Information Does a Certificate of Insurance Show?

A workers’ comp certificate displays all the most important parts of your policy’s details on a single page, such as your liability limits and the workers’ compensation insurance policy’s start and end dates. 

Here are more details on the 10 most common pieces of information you’ll find:

  1. Policyholder information
  2. Insurance provider information
  3. Policy details: Policy number, effective dates
  4. Coverage details: Types of workers’ comp coverage, such as medical and disability benefits
  5. Liability limits
  6. Additional insureds: Clients, customers, or project owners who may need to be listed under the policy
  7. Description of operations: Brief explanation of the nature of your business, such as “General construction services”
  8. Waiver of subrogation: If applicable, this waives your insurance carrier's right to seek reimbursement from the other party when they’re at fault
  9. Certificate holder: Name, address, and contact information of the people requesting the certificate
  10. Notice of cancellation: Indicates if the insurer has to provide advance notice to the certificate holder before canceling the policy


Is Workers’ Comp Required in California?

You need to have workers’ comp in California if your business has one or more employees or if you’re a roofer (even if you don’t have any employees). That’s true whether your employees are full- or part-time, temporary, or seasonal. 

If your business is headquartered in a different state but has employees who regularly work in California, you’ll also need a policy for those employees. 

While sole proprietors and independent contractors aren’t typically required to carry workers’ comp, it may still be a good idea. Clients and contractors might request proof of coverage, and your personal health insurance provider may not cover work-related accidents.

How Do I Get Workers’ Comp in CT?

You can get a free workers’ compensation quote in Connecticut with Hourly. Connecticut businesses with one or more employees must carry workers’ comp. 

Hourly works with A.M. Best A+ rated carriers and has no hidden fees or upfront deposit. You’ll pay monthly workers’ comp premiums based on your actual payroll, so you’ll never have to scramble to cover a surprise audit bill. And you can quickly generate your certificate of insurance right from your phone.

How Do I Get Workers’ Comp in Georgia?

Hourly provides free workers’ comp quotes in Georgia. Georgia employers with three or more employees, including full- and part-time workers, are typically required to have workers’ comp. 

Our pay-as-you-go model bases your premiums on real-time payroll numbers, so you never under or overpay on your insurance. 

How Do I Get Workers’ Comp in Oregon?

You can get workers’ compensation insurance in Oregon through Hourly. We work with several top-rated A.M. Best insurance carriers to bring you the best prices and policies. 

You’ll save money with our no-hidden-fee contracts and to-the-penny-accuracy workers’ comp bills. Hourly is different because your premiums are based on your actual payroll numbers—not estimates.

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