Volunteers and Workers' Comp Coverage


Who can elect to cover volunteers?

In Washington, some organizations may choose to purchase volunteer coverage, or workers’ compensation coverage for medical costs only. Volunteer coverage does not include the other usual benefits of workers’ compensation, such as wage replacement, vocational and retraining costs, permanent partial disability payments, or death benefits.

Organizations that may elect to buy volunteer coverage (medical only) include:


How to start coverage

To elect volunteer coverage, you must submit an Application for Elective Coverage of Excluded Employment form (F213-112-000). Coverage starts at 12:01 a.m. the day after we receive your completed form, or you may choose a future effective date.

If your business or organization elects to cover volunteers, you must:

  • Cover all your volunteers and notify them of coverage.
  • Choose whether to report all volunteers based on actual hours or based on 100 hours per volunteer per calendar year.
  • Report and pay premiums for either all volunteer hours worked, or for 100 hours per volunteer per calendar year.
  • Create auditable records of all volunteers and keep these records for 3 full calendar years. Records must include:
    • Names and Social Security numbers.
    • Registration and acceptance of each person as a volunteer for your organization.
    • Beginning and end date of volunteer service.
    • Applicable risk classifications (likely 6901 or 6906).
    • Actual hours worked, or your decision to report 100 hours per volunteer per calendar year.
    • For student volunteers and unpaid students:
      • Proof of registration showing the student's current enrollment in school or an institution of higher education.
      • Authorization from the school or institution of higher education for the student's participation in the school's volunteer or unpaid work-based learning program.

How to cancel coverage

If your business or organization chooses to cancel volunteer coverage, you must notify all volunteers that you are cancelling coverage. The cancellation is effective 30 days after we receive your written notice of cancellation.

To cancel volunteer coverage, you may use the Cancellation of Elective Coverage for Excluded Employments form (F213-005-000) or another written form of notification.

State government agencies

State government agencies must provide their registered volunteers with “volunteer coverage.”

Workers’ compensation coverage for volunteer emergency services workers is not available. The Department of Emergency Services administers these volunteer activities, which include but are not limited to:

  • Mountain search and rescue
  • Explorer scout trackers
  • Clean up after volcanic eruptions
  • Sandbagging during floods

The local jurisdiction, usually the sheriff’s office, registers these volunteers and typically issues an identification card to the emergency worker volunteer.

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