Missouri workers’ compensation insurance
Workers' compensation insurance covers the cost of work-related injuries. It's required for all Missouri businesses that have five or more employees.
Who needs workers’ compensation in Missouri?
This includes full- and part-time employees, along with seasonal and temporary workers. Businesses in the construction industry are required to have workers’ comp even if they only have one employee.
The state’s workers’ compensation requirements exempt a limited number of employee types, including:
- Farm laborers
- Domestic servants
- Certain real estate agents
- Direct sellers
- Commercial motor-carrier owner-operators (commercial truckers)
Employers with fewer than five employees or who employ exempt employers (farm laborers, domestic help, etc.) may elect to buy this coverage.
Do Missouri business owners need to carry workers’ compensation?
In general, you have to include yourself in your company’s workers’ compensation coverage. The exceptions are if:
- You’re a sole proprietor
- You’re part of a partnership that owns the firm
- You're an independent contractor
Sole proprietors, partners, and independent contractors can choose to participate in a workers’ comp plan. Buying workers' comp could save you money in the long run, since your health insurance provider could deny a claim for a work-related injury. It also provides wage replacement benefits while you're unable to work.
In limited liability companies (LLCs), members and close family member-employees are normally covered unless they decide to opt out via written notice to the insurance company. However, non-family LLC employees must be covered.
How should corporate officers be treated for workers’ comp purposes?
Corporate officers are considered employees and therefore must have workers’ comp coverage.
One exception applies: If the corporation has no more than two owners who are also the company’s only employees, then those individuals can opt out by filing a form with the Missouri Department of Labor's Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC).
How much does workers' compensation coverage cost in Missouri?
How does workers’ compensation work in Missouri?
When an employee suffers a workplace injury or develops an occupational disease, workers' compensation covers the cost of their medical care. It also provides disability benefits while the worker is recovering and for permanent impairment or disfigurement.
Workers' compensation benefits in Missouri include:
- Medical benefits
- Temporary total disability benefits
- Temporary partial disability benefits
- Permanent total disability benefits
- Permanent partial disability benefits
For example, if an IT tech or software developer is diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome due to keyboard overuse, your workers' comp policy would pay for their medical treatment, including long-term medication and physical therapy.
Or, if an employee at your IT consulting firm trips in the office stairwell and suffers a concussion, then your workers' comp policy would pay for their ambulance ride and emergency room visit.
Policies usually include employer's liability insurance, which helps cover legal costs if a worker sues their employer over an injury. However, the exclusive remedy provision in most workers' comp policies prohibits an employee from suing their employer if they accept workers' comp benefits.
How to buy workers' compensation coverage in Missouri
Missouri business owners can compare quotes and purchase a policy from private insurance companies. TechInsurance offers this service with its online insurance marketplace.
If they’re unable to qualify, they can buy it from the state’s assigned risk residual market, the Missouri Workers’ Compensation Assigned Risk Plan. This is the insurance plan of last resort for state employers that are unable to find standard coverage due to their high-risk status (e.g., an excessive number of job-related injuries and illnesses).
Missouri employers also can self-insure their workers’ compensation claims. This means they’ll pay for their own workers’ comp medical and rehabilitation costs rather than submit them to their workers’ comp insurer. It also means they will be directly liable for any lawsuits injured or sick employees file against them.
To become self-insured, either as an individual employer or as part of an employer group, you must first be certified by the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation.
What are the penalties for not having workers’ comp in Missouri
If you neglect to provide workers’ comp to your workers, you can be charged with a misdemeanor. If found guilty of noncompliance, you may face a penalty of three times the workers’ comp premium you should have paid, up to a maximum of $50,000. You will also be responsible for paying for the medical or rehab expenses of injured employees.
If caught without workers’ compensation a second time, you could be charged with a felony.
Workers’ compensation settlements in Missouri
A settlement in a Missouri workers’ compensation claim typically is a full and final settlement. This means the employee forfeits the right to receive any future workers’ comp benefits. However, if the employee will require future extensive medical treatments, the insurance company may agree to pay for them even though the rest of the claim has been closed.
All settlements are subject to the approval of an administrative law judge at the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation.
Workers’ compensation statute of limitations in Missouri
In the state of Missouri, the statute of limitations for workers’ comp claims is within two years from the date of injury or within one year from the last workers’ comp payment.
Get free quotes and compare policies with TechInsurance
If you are ready to explore workers’ compensation coverage options for your Missouri business, TechInsurance can help small business owners compare business insurance policy quotes with one easy online application. Start an application today to find the right insurance coverage at the most affordable price for your business.