Automotive Towing Services

Classification 1109-00

Why your 2005 rates went up

Here's what you can do to help reverse the trend

The Claims by Injury Type chart illustrates that among tow truck operators the most common injuries occur when drivers:

  • Are struck by an object.
  • Overexert themselves.
  • Slip getting out of the truck.

The Composite Rates Over Last Six Years chart illustrates that rising rates are driven by the increased cost of claims. The average rate rose 12 percent in 2005 because back injuries and muscle strains frequently result in:

  • Lost wages.
  • Employee disability.
  • Costly claims.

Most injuries are preventable.

  • Maintain equipment properly .
  • Focus safety training on:
    • Awareness of your surroundings.
    • Defensive driving.
    • Operating equipment safely.

About your industry


Risk Class 1109 represents 326 tow truck operators and companies that employ over 700 drivers. In general, employers accurately report hours worked.

Premium rates

On January 1, 2005, the base premium rate went from $2.229 per hour per employee to $2.504. Within this risk class, rates range from $1.51 cents an hour to $4.70. In this risk class, employers can charge workers 22.8 percent of the premium. The Claim Costs per Hour Worked chart illustrates the average claim cost per hour worked over the last several years.

Injuries drive up rates

Rates rose because the number of compensable claims and the cost of those claims rose dramatically beginning in 2000. Overexertion is a leading cause of injuries, causing muscle tears and back injuries that result in a loss of wages and permanent disabilities.

Proper use of equipment is critical

A single serious injury that results in lost wages or a disability payment will drive up the cost of your workers' compensation insurance. For example, a tow truck company in northwest Washington was claim free and benefiting from the claim-free discount when one of its drivers dislocated his shoulder while lifting a dolly onto his truck.

Like most injuries, this one was preventable. The truck was equipped with a winch and hoist that the operator didn't use to do the lifting. The injury has so far cost the company and its employees nearly $17,000 in additional premiums in the four years since the injury.

The Range of Annual Premiums per Employee chart illustrates the range of premiums employers and workers are paying this year in Risk Class 1109. Premiums are based on the number of claims an employer has and the cost of those claims.

Employers are responsible for workplace safety

Tow truck operators frequently work in dangerous surroundings. As an employer, Washington law holds you responsible for the safety of your employees. Here are some of the things you can do to ensure they work safely:

  • Avoid slips and falls. Make sure workers wear proper footwear and equip running boards with a slip-resistant surface.
  • Prevent back and shoulder injuries by making sure operators use hoists and winches to lift heavy objects.
  • Train workers to be aware of their surroundings. Slick pavement and vehicle crash sites are full of hazards that can cause injuries.
  • Alert other drivers to your presence at a crash site using flares and caution signs.
  • Make workplace safety a job requirement.

Rates Watch

Rates Watch is a regular service provided for employers insured by L&I. Using data collected by L&I, Rates Watch analyzes industry trends to advise employers and industry groups how to:

  • Avoid injuries.
  • Lower workers' compensation insurance premiums.

Contact us

If you have questions about the information provided here please contact your L&I account manager. His or her phone number is listed on your quarterly report.

L&I offers you a variety of services to help you prevent injuries in you workplace. Call
1‑800‑423‑7233 or your local L&I office to request a no-charge safety and health consulation. Safety training tools are available.

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