Workers compensation insurance is something that is often misunderstood by employers. Some employers describe this type of insurance as an "optional insurance" that you can either choose to obtain or not. However, what many people may not know is that most states require this insurance. It is against the law in these states not to carry workers’ compensation coverage.

In the state of Oregon, it is required that employers carry workers compensation insurance. This document spells out the law regarding this coverage in Oregon and explains why it is essential for employers who have either part-time or full-time employees to carry it.

How to purchase workers’ compensation insurance in Oregon

If you own a business in Oregon, it's important that you know what to do to get this important insurance. There are over 400 companies approved to write workers’ compensation policies in the state of Oregon. You can either work with your existing insurance agent, purchase insurance directly from a site such as this one, or reach out to the state of Oregon to get in contact with an insurer.

What is the assigned risk plan?

If your insurance company denies you workers’ compensation coverage, you still need to get workers’ compensation insurance. The state of Oregon has something called the Assigned Risk Plan. This plan is orchestrated and offered by the NCCI (National Council on Compensation Insurance). You may still shop around on the private market for a lower rate, and you may cancel this policy (provided you have obtained other coverage) with 30 days notice at any time with no penalty.

Cost and needed information in Oregon

If you live in Oregon and own a business, you should know that it is required for any employers who have full-time or part-time employees. This insurance is not required for employers who only have independent contractors. The reason is that most independent contractors do not work on the premises of the business as employees do. As a result, they are usually not bound by the same regulations or boundaries that employees are. Thus, there is less liability for injury since an independent contractor takes this risk upon themselves in most cases.

To check if your business is required to carry this insurance, ask yourself if you have any employees that work either part-time or full-time. If you do, you are required to carry it. Failure to do so can result in personal injury lawsuits from your employees in order for them to collect lost wages, medical expenses, and other benefits that may result from an injury on the job. Don't take the risk if you know that you are required to carry this important insurance and remember that it protects you as well as your employees.

The cost of workers’ compensation insurance varies and depends on the amount of risk that you pose to an insurance company. Some industries are just naturally more risky than others. If you work in a field that involves heavy machinery, for example, you may be more liable for injuries, and the risk may be perceived as more significant, so your cost may be more.

Additional factors in the cost might include the number of claims you've had for on-the-job injuries in the past, the number of years you've been in business, and your current insurance record and payment record.

The cost of not having insurance

  • While you are mulling over the potential cost of paying for workers’ compensation insurance, you should also consider the costs of not having it. Since you live and operate a business in a state (Oregon) that requires it, not carrying it carries a high risk of legal liability, as well as criminal or civil penalties. In some cases, you may be imprisoned for up to a year for failure to comply.
  • People could also sue you if you do not have such insurance if they are injured on the job. The situations that are included in workers compensation situations can consist of driving a company car, shipping or packing injuries, falling or on-the-job damage of any kind, sickness that results from work conditions, and even overwork in some cases.
  • Work conditions can come into play when you do not properly tend to your work environment so that they are considered safe, and workers or workers' families may sue you if you do not have this insurance in place.
  • You don't want to risk not having this mandatory insurance in place if you own a business. Failure to have this insurance in place can cost you hundreds of dollars in fees as well as court costs and even possible criminal charges.
  • Taking care of your business is the top priority. Part of this is making sure you comply with the state and local requirements for your business. Getting workers’ compensation is just another aspect of ensuring that you are staying in compliance with the laws.

Where can I obtain workers’ compensation insurance?

If you do not have workers compensation insurance, there are places that you can go to get this important and mandatory insurance in Oregon. Below is a partial list of online sites that will lead you to helpful information to get your worker's compensation insurance in place.

Remember that insurance is something you hope you do not have to use, but you cannot afford to be without it.

Oregon Workers' Compensation Site (main site for workers compensation insurance)

Why carry it?

It is illegal not to carry this insurance due to the high cost of civil liabilities that can and often do result from not having this vital protection. Get workers’ comp insurance quotes on the private market or contact your Oregon Workers’ Compensation site to get started. Once you have this coverage, you can rest easy knowing that your workers and your business interests are protected.

Failure to carry this coverage can result in fines relative to the time you are without coverage. The Workers’ Compensation Division (WCD) will send you an order notifying you of the period you were without coverage and the cost of your fine. First offense is twice the amount of the premium you should have paid, with a minimum of $1,000. From there, the penalty increases to $250 per day for each additional day of noncompliance with no limit. As you can see, workers’ comp coverage is not something the state of Oregon takes lightly, so make sure you get coverage today.


If you are a business owner in the state of Oregon, you are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This is to protect both you and your workers in the event of an injury or illness that occurs on the premises of your business or during work-related situations and scenarios.