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  • Writer's pictureTom Fowler

Is Workers Compensation Required in Iowa?

Workers' compensation is a sort of insurance that mandates most firms to offer benefits to qualified employees who sustain injuries or illnesses due to their job duties, according to the Iowa Workforce Development. In other words, it's a tool for safeguarding the company's most important asset: its workers.

According to the Iowa Workers Compensation Law - Chapter 87, unless an exemption exists, every employer is required to provide worker's compensation for its employees. However, Chapter 87 also explains how companies can choose not to provide worker's compensation. Still, they will risk facing civil fines and being held responsible for the total cost of an employee's work-related injury and its immediate and long-term impacts.

Workers' compensation insurance protects the business against liabilities, including high medical expenses and any legal repercussions if an employee is hurt.

What Are the Legal Requirements in Iowa for Workers' Compensation Insurance?

What Are the Legal Requirements in Iowa for Workers' Compensation Insurance?

Iowa employees are protected under the state's workers' compensation statute in most working situations. Most business owners are thus compelled by law to have workers' compensation liability insurance. However, a process enables firms to apply to the Iowa Insurance Commissioner to get certified to self-insure rather than buy insurance.

Specific individuals and employers are exempt from workers' compensation coverage under Iowa law (85.1 IA Code). Those who qualify for compensation under the federal statute are exempted. Some exemptions apply if the employee's yearly employer compensation is less than $1,500. In addition, business owners can choose to insure certain groups of exempt workers.

What Are the Consequences of Not Having Workers' Compensation Insurance Coverage in Iowa?

Owners of businesses in Iowa who break the statute requiring workers' compensation insurance are subject to criminal and civil sanctions.

The exclusive remedy protection provided by the workers' compensation legislation is lost by employers that operate unlawfully without workers' compensation insurance. They become accountable to the employee for the entire amount of damages allowable under tort law if an injured worker sues them in court.

Moreover, the state may impose several civil fines against a company that does not maintain workers' compensation insurance or fails to pay statutory benefits from its self-insurance account, including:

  • Ordinances of the law.

  • Loss of rights to insurance and self-insurance.

  • A fine of up to $1,000 is charged due to the second injury fund of Iowa failing to submit employee injury reports promptly.

  • Assessment for consistently failing to start paying weekly compensation within 11 days is due to the Second Injury Fund of Iowa.

  • An award of up to 50% of the extra benefits to the employee for delaying or refusing weekly benefits.

When Is an Employee Not Covered by the Workers’ Compensation?

Almost every company with employees in Iowa is obliged to have workers' compensation insurance. However, some types of employees are not covered by workers' compensation. Among the exceptions are the following:

  • Domestic and temporary workers who received less than $1,500 from their employer in the 12 months before the accident.

  • Agricultural workers employed by firms having a calendar-year prior cash salary of less than $2,500.

  • People who perform agricultural labor.

  • The president, vice president, secretary, or treasurer of a family farm corporation and their spouses, as well as the parents, siblings, kids, stepchildren, and spouses of either the officials or their spouses.

  • Police officers and firefighters: A firefighter pension fund covers benefit-eligible police officers and firefighters.

  • Personnel who are eligible for benefits under any liability or compensation policy established by the United States Congress for federal employees.

What Does Iowa Workers' Compensation Cover?

Among the benefits of Iowa workers' compensation insurance are the following:

  • Accidents or mishaps that occur at work.

  • Illnesses brought on by working among toxic substances or allergies.

  • Injuries caused by a repetitive strain that might take months or years to manifest.

  • Repetitive stress injuries.


It is crucial for workers to have worker’s compensation in Iowa. The employees will benefit from their workers' compensation insurance as they recuperate from a sickness or accident. In Iowa, workers' compensation claims for injuries must be made within two years following the incident or three years after the final payout.

Irrespective of the circumstance, it is essential to have support from trustworthy and compassionate Des Moines workers comp attorneys skilled in handling workers' compensation claims. People may contact the Tom Fowler Law Firm to seek help to claim the insurance.


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