Buying workers’ compensation for:


State Fund: No

Insurance Coverage Requirements: Workers’ Compensation is compulsory in Tennessee, although some waivers are permitted.

Who is Required to Purchase Workers’ Compensation Coverage?

Tennessee employers with 5 or more full or part-time employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Corporate officers and family members, if they meet the definition of employee, are included in the count towards the total, regardless of whether the officer(s) elects to decline coverage. They may be excluded by filing Form I-6, Corporate Officer Election Not to Accept provisions of workers’ compensation.

Any person engaged in the construction industry is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance on their employees. Effective March 28, 2011, construction employers in the contracting group designated by the National Council of Compensation Insurance (NCCI) must have workers’ compensation insurance on all of their employees and themselves unless you are a sole proprietors or partners with no employees being paid directly by the property owner).

Employers in the coal mining industry with one or more employees are required to provide workers’ compensation coverage. State and local governments and those employing farm laborers or domestic help are exempt, but may elect workers’ compensation coverage.

Agricultural workers and Domestic workers do not come under the definition of "Employee"

An employer with less than 5 employees may still obtain coverage. You must file Form I-8, Exempt Employers Notice of Acceptance of the Workers’ Compensation Act of Tennessee. You should then keep current workers’ compensation coverage at all times. If you drop your workers’ compensation coverage, you must file Form I-9, Exempt Employers Withdrawal of Notice of Acceptance. Important: You will remain subject to the workers’ compensation requirements until Form I-9 is received by this Division. If you drop your coverage and do not file Form I-9 and an injury occurs, you could be held responsible for that claim.

Sole proprietors and partners are excluded from a workers’ compensation policy, but may elect to be covered by filing Form I-4, Sole Proprietor/Partner Election to come within the provisions of the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Law. Note: Both the I-4 and the I-6 forms are effective 30 days after the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s accepted stamp date. The original should be sent to the Division of Workers’ Compensation with all parts filled out and properly sworn to before a notary public or other official.

Factors that Impact Coverage

  • You are a sole proprietor, partner or member of an LLC: In Tennessee, you are excluded from coverage but have the option to include yourself.
  • You are a corporate officer: Tennessee includes you in coverage, but you have the option to exclude yourself.

Failure to Secure Compensation

The penalty for not maintaining current workers’ compensation coverage as required by law may be up to 2.5 times the average yearly workers’ compensation premium. Additionally, the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development may seek an injunction in state court to close the business of any employer which continues not to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage after being ordered by the Commissioner to provide such coverage in accordance with law pursuant to TCA Section.

The penalty for an Insurance Carrier not providing proof of existing workers’ compensation coverage to the Workers’ Compensation Division is $100.00 for each 15 days past the required date for filing until proof of coverage is filed electronically through an approved vendor.

Proof of Coverage is Required

Every employer is required to display the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Insurance notice. This notice should provide the name, telephone number and address of the employer representative that can confirm if an employer is subject to the workers’ compensation law and if so to obtain the name of the workers’ compensation insurance company. The notice should also contain the name, telephone number, and address of the employer representative that should be notified in the event of an injury. The employer should add the contact information to the notice and post it in an area accessible to all employees.

Independent Contractors

Mistakenly classifying an employee as an independent contractor can result in significant fines and penalties.

View 20 factors used by the IRS and our independent contractor questionnaire to determine whether you have enough control over a worker to be an employer.

Key Resources

Other Tips

If your insured employs workers in multiple states or your insured’s employees are temporarily working out-of-state, they need to purchase insurance for all the states where their workers are located, according to each state’s laws. Call 1-800-476-2948 and let us walk you through it.

The nature of your insured’s business, number of employees being covered and past coverage and claims are all factors in how much their premium will cost.