Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal that 37% of adults worked at home at some point during the pandemic. The ONS also found that 85% of working adults in the UK want to take a hybrid approach to work in the future. But how does working from home affect your insurance and do you always need to tell your insurer?
Here, we take a look at what to consider if you’re working or running a business from home.
Do I need to tell my insurer I’m working from home?
Generally speaking, yes, you should tell your insurer if you work from home or are planning to (for example, if you’re thinking of becoming self-employed). You won’t necessarily need any additional cover, but you should let your insurer know just in case.
If you’re working from home because of the Coronavirus pandemic
Official advice from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) is that there is no need to tell your insurer if you’ve been told to work from home or are self-isolating. However, there are exceptions, so you will need to contact your insurer if any of the following apply to you:
- If visitors come to your home for work related reasons (for example, meetings).
- If you make, sell or store items from your home (especially flammable items like fireworks).
- If you provide services from your home (such as hairdressing or beauty therapy).
- Your property has been adapted to accommodate your business (for example, if you build a garden studio or office).
Does my home insurance already cover me to work from home?
This really depends on what you do and what the terms of your home insurance say about working from home. Remember that insurers set their own conditions so you should always double check.
For example, some policies already cover certain types of home working activities but these will usually be restricted to clerical work, for instance management or advisory services. But if you meet clients in your home or store stock on site, then it’s unlikely that standard home insurance will give you the cover you need if something unexpected happens.
What insurance do I need to work from home?
Again, this really comes down to the type of business you run and the work activities you’re doing at home.
Most contents insurance will cover basic home office equipment and furniture like a computer, laptop, printer, desk and chair. But don’t forget that almost all contents insurance will come with a single item (article) limit. This is the maximum amount of money your insurer will pay out for any one item. So, if (for instance) you’ve got a very expensive camera, computer, or printer, you’ll need to make sure your policy covers the cost of a replacement.
Depending on what you do, you might want to consider other types of insurance which can usually be added on to your existing home insurance policy, for example:
Some home insurance policies will already include public liability as it covers injury to visitors or damage to their property; for instance, if someone trips on a step and drops their phone. However, if you’re working from home and frequently meeting clients face to face, you might need more public liability cover than your existing policy provides.
This covers any advice you give as part of your job, for example, if you’re an accountant or architect. Policies pay legal costs and compensation claims if a client takes you to court because they think the advice you’ve provided is wrong or has lost them money.
This covers legal fees and compensation costs if a customer sues you because a product you’ve provided has injured them or damaged their property.
If you have any employees then you must have employers’ liability insurance by law. Policies cover compensation if a member of staff is hurt or becomes sick while working for you.
If you need employers’ liability cover but don’t have it, you can be fined up to £2,500 for every day you’re not insured. There are a handful of exemptions, for example if you only employ immediate family members and are not a limited company. A full list of exemptions can be found at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Does my home insurance cover a garden office or studio?
If you’re using an existing outbuilding like a shed or garage, any structural damage will be covered by your buildings insurance. Most home contents policies will also cover what’s inside the shed, but it’s always check that this is the case as policies vary by insurer. A well-equipped garden office may mean you need to increase the amount of cover you have.
If you’re thinking about building a garden office, you should contact your insurer so that they can update any existing policies you have or offer advice about your options. By the same token, if you’re carrying out extensive renovations to an outbuilding, let your home insurance company know.
Should I choose business insurance if I run my company from home?
As your business grows, you might find that a separate business insurance policy may be better for your needs. In certain situations, you may not have a choice – especially if you keep stock of hazardous items like gas bottles.
Do I need business car insurance if I work from home?
Yes, if you’re using your car for work related activities like delivering products or visiting clients in different locations, you’ll need business car insurance. If you don’t have the right cover and need to claim, your insurer could refuse to pay out.
Search for home insurance you can rely on
It’s crucial to protect your home, whether you work from there or not which is why it’s important to have home insurance you can rely on.
From buildings to contents cover, take a look at our handy home insurance guides that will help you make informed decisions about what you might need. We’ve also teamed up with Quotezone so that when you’re ready to compare policies, you can do that right here.