Why You Need Idaho Workers' Comp

Workers' compensation laws developed out of the need to protect workers and employers in the conduct of business. Workers'compensation limits the liability of business owners while at the same time guaranteeing medical costs and lost wages to injured employees. Employers in Idaho must have workers compensation insurance coverage or self-insurance.

The laws of Idaho impose penalties for uninsured employment. Independent contractors must have coverage for their roles as self-employed when working for another company. The law requires workers compensation coverage, and it must be in place before the covered employees begin work.

Buying workers’ compensation in Idaho

Employers can buy workers compensation coverage in Idaho in any of four ways. The private sector, the Idaho State Insurance Fund, the assigned risk pool, and self-insurance.

Open Market

Private insurance companies are the best source of workers' comp insurance for price and value. Employers can go directly to insurance companies or use licensed brokers to find the best value in coverage that meets the requirements of Idaho law.

Idaho State Insurance Fund

The Fund is a state-sponsored corporation that competes with private sellers. The fund may accept some employers that private companies do not accept; the state fund may charge higher rates for comparable coverage when compared to private sellers.


The Industrial Relations Commission must approve applications for self-insurance; financial responsibility is the key. The Department routinely requires posting surety bonds to back the private undertaking to cover employer liability.

Assigned risk pool

Employers that cannot get insurance elsewhere get guaranteed acceptance in the assigned risk pool. They have little control over the selection of the insurer or the price, but they get the peace of mind and legal strength of full compliance with the law.

Instructions for Buying Coverage

The initial step is to determine whether the business must have coverage. The exemptions describe particular occupations and businesses that are exempt and the types of positions that can be either ownership or employment. For example, sole proprietors and officers in closely held businesses can elect coverage as employees or as exempt owners.

Employers should gather information on past coverage, claims, and proof of their mod classification if any. The most convenient step would be to contact a licensed broker and get advice on rates, coverage, and terms.

What You Should Know About Workers' Comp in Idaho

Idaho employees must have coverage that meets Idaho legal standards. If Idaho employees work in neighboring states or nearby Canada, then they must have coverage that meets the legal requirements of those places.

Is Your Business Required to Carry Workers' Compensation Insurance?

Idaho requires coverage for full-time, part-time, occasional, and seasonal workers. The penalties for uninsured employers in the event of injury or other claims are severe. The below-listed items describe some of the prominent exemptions from the Idaho workers comp law.

  • Owners, Partners, and sole proprietors in Idaho are excluded from coverage but have the option to include themselves.
  • Corporate officers owning ten percent or more in Idaho are not covered.
  • Members of an LLC: Idaho excludes them from coverage but leaves an option to include themselves.

Where to Buy Insurance?

Insurance brokers offer a no charge service to assist employers in getting quotes for coverage. Brokers and agents are excellent sources of advice on prices, coverage, and market conditions. You can ultimately purchase insurance on the open market, from the Idaho Insurance Fund, or the high-risk pool.

How Much Does Workers' Comp Insurance Cost?

The costs of workers' comp depend on the codes assigned by the NCIC to the occupations within the workforce. The other factor that affects price is the employer’s history of workforce injuries, illnesses, and claims. The Idaho State insurance fund typically charges more than private carriers, and the assigned risk pool is likely to have the highest rates for a given employer.

What Is the Cost of Not Getting Workers' Comp Insurance?

Across all occupational codes, the 2012 average for Idaho was $1.43 per $100 of earnings. Although in 2016 the rate was nearly flat, the rate has climbed in the years between by about ten percent. The investment required for coverage is a tax-deductible expense. The costs of underinsurance or uninsured employment can ruin a business. Fines, penalties, jail time, and personal liability are employer risks from carrying on uninsured employment in Idaho.

Uninsured Employer Fines and Penalties

Uninsured employers of injured workers face criminal and civil penalties. The failure to insure is a misdemeanor under state law, and the employer could face jail time and criminal fines, costs, and penalties. The law holds an uninsured employer liable for all benefits that would have been provided by the workers' compensation law. The state of Idaho can levy a penalty of ten percent of the work loss and medical expenses plus attorney fees.

Penalties for failure to insure are stiff and compelling reasons to get coverage. The law authorizes a penalty of the greater of $2.00 per day per employee or $25.00 per day. The Idaho Industrial Commission can file in a district court for injunctive relief to halt further operation until in compliance. The combination of fines and shut down of a business is a powerful incentive to get and keep coverage.

List of places you can get workers' comp or more info

  • Idaho Commission on Industrial Relations
  • Idaho State Insurance Fund

Factors that Impact Coverage

  • Legal factors in Idaho Workers' Comp involve underinsurance and uninsured employers. Underinsurance will expose employers to personal liability for any deficiency in medical and wage benefits due to the injured employee. The state can criminally charge uninsured business owners. The State can shut down businesses that do not comply.
  • Liability protection for employers depends on adequate insurance coverage. Idaho can levy fines, penalties, and shut down orders for noncompliance. Without coverage, employees may be free to sue for civil liability and expose the employer’s business and personal assets.
  • Rates set by the NCCI control prices for workers comp insurance coverage in Idaho. The National Council on Compensation Insurance determines rates based on actuarial and other economic data localized to Idaho.

Helpful Tips

The history of coverage, claims, and injuries are important factors in determining the insurer and the price you will pay for coverage. The experience modification can raise prices substantially. The most impactful factor is the occupation code of the employee. For example, power saw operators have heavier ratings than librarians; there are simply more potential hazards in one than the other.

Using an approved workplace safety program will help avoid injuries and accidents. Most insurers offer discounts for safety programs and the use of approved safety experts to review and mitigate risks.


Nearly every employer must have workers compensation insurance in Idaho. The rule requires coverage in place prior to the first hire. Idaho is a state with severe laws and harsh consequences for employers that fail to get qualified coverage. Idaho offers many convenient ways to get and keep workers comp coverage.


  • Idaho State Insurance Fund

  • Idaho Commission on Industrial Relations

  • Self Insurance in Idaho