MoneyGeek assessed workers' compensation insurance providers in California, considering factors such as affordability, customer satisfaction, financial stability and online quoting. The Hartford ranked as the top option in the state.

In California, every business, irrespective of employee count, must have workers' compensation insurance to protect against financial and legal liabilities. This insurance covers medical costs, lost wages and possible legal actions stemming from work-related injuries or illnesses.

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Best Workers’ Compensation Insurance in California

Why Trust MoneyGeek? We collected 677 workers’ compensation insurance quotes and analyzed cost information alongside customer satisfaction and financial stability reports to determine the best workers’ compensation insurance companies for small businesses in California.

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Coverage costs and company information for workers' compensation insurance providers in California were last updated in 2023.

677Quotes Analyzed
6Companies Compared
50ZIP Codes

Best Workers’ Compensation Insurance in California

The Hartford is California’s best worker’s compensation insurance provider, according to MoneyGeek’s rankings. Policyholders can get quality service from this provider for around $91 a month. Based on MoneyGeek’s analysis, the insurer scores 98 out of 100, signifying good overall performance.

How was this MoneyGeek score calculated?

The HartfordBest Overall in California




Customer Satisfaction


Financial Stability


Online Quote Process

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Geek Quick Take
  • The most affordable insurance option in California at $91
  • High financial stability
  • Low complaint rate
More About The Hartford

Companies can go to The Hartford for the cheapest workers’ compensation insurance in the state. It offers different characteristics and features that make it worthy of the top spot. Apart from its affordability, the insurer offers good customer satisfaction. The company manages to strike a balance between competitive pricing and customer service. You can get a quote reasonably quickly, taking just over two minutes to give you an estimate of your monthly premiums. This is neither the slowest nor the fastest estimate time of the insurers we evaluated.





Customer Satisfaction


Financial Stability


Online Quote Process

Geek Quick Take
Geek Quick Take
  • Average monthly cost of $169
  • Great customer service
  • Financially stable
  • Good customer service
More About biBERK

biBERK insurance offers good customer service and a decent online quotes process, but it doesn't meet the affordability demands of many small businesses in today's climate. It's a good option for business owners looking for a dependable provider, as seen in its good performance in handling complaints. This shows a strong commitment to meeting the evolving demands of today’s employers and employees. It is also financially stable, meaning it should be able to pay out eligible claims.


Cheapest Workers’ Compensation Insurance in California

The Hartford stands out as the most affordable workers’ comp insurance company in California, offering an average monthly premium of around $91. This rate is based on businesses with 20 employees and a substantial $1,250,000 in annual payroll costs. Keep in mind that employee count and payroll have a considerable impact on insurance costs.

MoneyGeek Top Pick
The Hartford

In addition to being the cheapest provider in the market, The Hartford also excels across various aspects according to our evaluation criteria. It has strong financial stability and a low complaint index, reflecting its reliability in claims management and customer satisfaction. This comes in handy in situations where a fast response is necessary. The Hartford can generally process quotes in a reasonably timely manner, which helps in delivering a smooth transaction for potential clients.

We assessed companies based on their average monthly cost to identify the most affordable insurer available. Our rates may not directly correspond to your actual ones, and the most cost-effective company for you could differ depending on other factors.

The table below presents the annual and monthly costs for insuring a business with approximately 20 employees for all the companies we have examined in California.

The HartfordMonthly Cost$91Annual Cost$1,087
PieMonthly Cost$167Annual Cost$2,001
biBERKMonthly Cost$169Annual Cost$1,794
NationwideMonthly Cost$173Annual Cost$2,073
ThimbleMonthly Cost$234Annual Cost$2,690

Best Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Micro Businesses in California

In California, The Hartford stands out as the leading option for businesses with five employees, offering a competitive monthly premium of approximately $45. This premium is calculated based on an annual payroll amount of $312,500. Generally, a business with one to nine employees is categorized as a micro business. While employee count influences workers' compensation insurance costs, payroll tends to have a more substantial effect on premiums.

MoneyGeek Top Pick
The Hartford

A balance between affordability and high-quality service can be crucial for micro businesses since they often operate with limited budgets and need to allocate resources wisely. By choosing an insurance provider like The Hartford that offers both competitive pricing and dependable service, small businesses could receive adequate coverage and support without straining their finances. This can help them protect their employees and assets while still having the capacity to invest in growth opportunities, ultimately contributing to the long-term success of their business.

Best Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Midsize Businesses in California

The Hartford can also be an ideal option for enterprises with 100 employees, providing an attractive monthly premium of $472. This rate is based on an annual payroll sum of $6,250,000. Although the employee count factors into workers' compensation insurance costs, payroll tends to have a greater impact on premiums.

MoneyGeek Top Pick
The Hartford

The Hartford's focus on affordability is particularly beneficial for larger businesses that need comprehensive coverage without breaking the bank. Through cost-effective insurance solutions, The Hartford can enable these California businesses to redirect saved resources towards growth, innovation and other critical aspects of their operations. Moreover, the provider’s strong financial position indicates that the insurer has the necessary assets and reserves to cover potential liabilities.

How Much Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance in California?

The average monthly cost of workers' compensation insurance in California for a business with 20 employees is $167. This figure is just one dollar below the national average of $168. As a business owner, it's essential to understand how these costs can impact your company and the importance of choosing the right coverage.

This figure corresponds to a plan with a $1 million total policy limit, $1 million per accident limit and $1 million per employee limit. The total policy limit refers to the maximum amount the insurer will pay for all claims during the policy period. The per accident limit is the maximum amount the insurer would cover for a single incident, while the per employee limit represents the maximum coverage for each individual employee.

The table below provides you with a clear picture of the average costs for businesses with five, 20 and 100 employees. This can help you choose the best coverage for your business.

How was this cost calculated?

5Monthly Cost$80Annual Cost$914
20Monthly Cost$167Annual Cost$1,929
100Monthly Cost$714Annual Cost$8,337

Factors That Impact Workers’ Compensation Costs in California

The cost of workers' compensation insurance varies for each business, depending on several factors that influence coverage costs.

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    Payroll costs

    Businesses are typically charged a rate for every $100 of payroll. A business with high payroll costs would pay a higher premium than a business with lower payroll costs. The average premium index rate in California for 2022 is $2.26 per $100 of payroll, ranking third nationwide.

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    Number of employees

    Companies with a large number of employees face a higher risk of employee injury, which can increase insurance premiums.

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    Employee class code

    A class code signifies the type of work employees carry out. This code determines the rate charged for every $100 of payroll. High-risk industries like construction, mining and manufacturing typically have higher rates compared to lower-risk sectors such as consulting, accounting and software development.

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    Previous claims

    A history of workers' compensation claims can lead to a higher premium. Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 349,100 total recordable non-fatal cases for private industry in California in 2021. At the national level, there were over 2.6 million total recordable non-fatal cases for private industry.

Do You Need Workers’ Compensation Insurance in California?

Workers' comp insurance in California provides coverage for expenses arising from employees sustaining injuries or illnesses in the course of their employment with your company. All businesses in the state are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Sole proprietors, partners and corporate officers who fully own a corporation can choose to be excluded from this insurance.

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In California, employers who fail to provide legally required workers' compensation insurance or fail to comply with workers' comp laws may face the following penalties:

  • A fine of at least $10,000 or imprisonment in a county jail for up to one year, or both.
  • Penalties of up to $100,000 for illegally uninsured employers.

What Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cover in California?

Workers' compensation insurance provides vital benefits to employees experiencing work-related injuries or illnesses. This coverage usually encompasses medical care, disability benefits, lost wages and more for impacted workers. It helps injured employees obtain essential medical treatment, wage replacement benefits and vocational rehabilitation, among other advantages.

The employer, as the policyholder, is responsible for obtaining workers' compensation insurance. This not only safeguards their employees but also defends the business against potential legal claims associated with workplace injuries or illnesses. It is crucial in fostering a secure and safe work environment for both employers and employees.

Workers’ Comp Resources for Employees in California

The Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) oversees the management of workers' compensation claims and offers administrative and judicial services to help resolve disputes arising from claims for workers' compensation benefits.

Employees who want to receive workers’ compensation benefits need to file a form to send to their employer. The employer will then fill out their portion of the form and send it to their insurance company.

DWC's mission revolves around reducing the negative effects of work-related injuries on California employees and employers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Workers’ Compensation Insurance in California

We provide some information that answers commonly asked questions about workers’ comp insurance in California.

Which company has the best workers’ compensation insurance in California?
Which company has the cheapest workers’ compensation insurance in California?
Does California require businesses to have workers’ compensation insurance?
How much does workers’ compensation insurance cost in California?

About Melissa Wylie

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Melissa Wylie is a Content and SEO Manager at MoneyGeek. Melissa has worked in the financial content space since 2018 and has spent much of that time focused on all things small business.

Prior to joining MoneyGeek, Melissa held SEO positions at Bankrate and LendingTree. Melissa’s work has also appeared on LendingTree-owned websites ValuePenguin and MagnifyMoney.

Melissa began her career at American City Business Journals in 2015 as a reporter for the company’s women-focused publication Bizwomen. Melissa has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of North Texas. Melissa relies on her foundation in journalism to craft content that simplifies complex financial topics to help everyone feel confident when making decisions with their money.

Melissa's other work can be read on LendingTree and Bizwomen.