Quick guide: Workers’ compensation in Iowa
Your small business work comp questions answered
You’ve got a business to run so we’ll tell you what you need to know about workers’ compensation in Iowa — what it is, who needs it, and where you can buy it.
What is workers’ comp?
Workers’ compensation insurance was created to pay for medical costs and lost wages if employees are injured at work. Benefits can also include payments to compensate for permanent disabilities and to dependents of workers who are killed in job-related incidents. It protects employees from the costs of work injuries and protects employers from lawsuits.
What does workers' compensation insurance cover?
Unlike other lines of insurance, workers’ compensation doesn’t offer different or optional levels of coverage for you to choose. When your policy is in place, it covers every work-related injury considered compensable by Iowa state law. Workers’ comp benefits are spelled out by state law and don’t vary from policy to policy within the state.
How do I know if I need workers' comp insurance?
If you have any employees, even one who only works part-time, Iowa law requires you to provide workers’ compensation coverage.
There are just a few exceptions, which are listed in the next question.
Are there any exceptions for family members, farms or small businesses?
There are a few exceptions in Iowa workers’ compensation law:
- Sole proprietors
- Independent contractors, limited liability company members and partners aren’t covered unless they elect to be
- For family farms, sole proprietors, partners, officers, members of an LLC and their spouses, parents, brothers, sisters, children and step-children are excluded
How much will it cost?
Your workers’ compensation premium is based on how much your payroll is, how dangerous your industry is, and your business’s history of work injuries. If you have a clean safety record, it can help keep your premium low.
For more on how premium is calculated, see our Workers’ Comp 101 page.
Where do I buy workers’ comp insurance?
Where can I get more information on workers’ compensation in Iowa?
Since workers’ comp coverage is mandated by the state, the Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation is your go-to source of information. For safety requirements and information, check out the Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration site.