Working From Home & Your Home Insurance
Insurance When Remote Working
Working from home is something many of us have done for the last couple of years, and even now that the government guidance has changed and we no longer need to work remotely, companies have seen the benefits of working from home. With fewer staff in the office, they can cut down on energy bills and other expenses and it’s also been found that employees seem to be more productive at home.
But something you may not have considered is whether working remotely can affect your home insurance. Below, you can find all the answers you need.
What Defines 'Working From Home'?
Working from home is when you complete work tasks, either for yourself if you’re self-employed or for an employer, at home rather than in an office or other similar work environment.
It doesn’t matter whether this work is carried out using company hardware, such as a laptop or desktop computer, or using their software - you’re still working outside the company premises. It also doesn’t matter whether you have a hybrid working policy in place, splitting your time between the office and home. In both of these instances, you’re still working from home, which is sometimes abbreviated to ‘WFH’ and also sometimes called ‘remote working’.
Does Working From Home Affect Home Insurance?
In many cases, working from home doesn’t usually affect your home insurance. Your policy should still provide cover when you’re home working, and will continue to protect your personal equipment, such as laptops and printers. However, there are some instances and items that might not be covered on your standard home insurance policy.
For instance, most policies will offer cover of up to €4,000 for home office equipment. If the total cost of the equipment owned by you goes above this, you may need to consider taking out additional cover.
You may also need to amend your policy if you have any single items worth more than €1,500. Sometimes, such expensive items aren’t covered with a standard policy, though the amount can vary from provider to provider. If you’re unsure, you should check with your insurance company what the maximum value is and that any items you have over this limit are listed separately on your policy.
Things that usually aren’t covered on your residential home insurance policy include work phones, tools, products you intend to sell and cash. Any items that are owned by the business also aren’t covered. Instead, it’s the business’ responsibility to insure these, not yours.
Do I Need To Tell My Home Insurance Provider That I Work From Home?
There’s no obligation to tell your insurance provider that you work from home, but it can be a good idea to give them the heads up. This will allow them to make sure your current policy covers all your needs and may make the claims process a little smoother should you ever need to make a claim on your policy.
Can You Run A Business From Your Home?
You absolutely can run a business from home. In fact, many small businesses start out at a dining table or a home office and then eventually branch out. Some businesses never leave the home premises, finding they have everything they need to operate without requiring a larger establishment.
If you rent your home, you may need permission from your landlord first, so do be sure to ask for this. Other things you should consider include registering your business and applying for tax through Revenue.ie.
You don’t necessarily need to tell your insurance provider that you are running a business from home, but doing so could make them aware of your situation. Usually, home insurance will cover certain aspects of home working, and your equipment should all be covered under your policy.
However, home insurance isn’t the only type of insurance policy you should have in place when running a business.
Do I Need Extra Home Cover If I Work From Home?
When it comes to your insurance, running a business from home is generally different to working from home on behalf of someone else, and so you may need to invest in other types of insurance, too. This is especially the case if you keep products in the home, have clients coming to your house or have employees that work for you, no matter whether they’re volunteers or work part time.
Below, you can find some of the common types of business insurance that you might also need to take out.
Public Liability Cover
Should you regularly come into contact with members of the public, or they need to come to your home to buy your service or product, you should consider public liability cover. If they were to suffer an injury or illness while on your premises, this insurance would cover any legal costs and compensation fees should they make a claim. For example, a client could come to your home to have their hair cut and trip over a trailing wire from a hairdryer, causing an injury.
It would also cover you should their property become lost or damaged in connection with your business. For instance, a customer might make a claim if a defective shelf you sold fell off the wall and damaged their flooring. Your business is responsible for supplying the defective product (even if you didn’t make it yourself), and would therefore be liable to pay the cost of any legal fees and compensation should they win.
This type of insurance could put your customers at ease, but you’ll also know that your business is protected, too, should an accident occur.
As a business, your reputation matters to you. You want all of your customers to walk away happy so they can shout about you to their friends and family. But mistakes can happen, and you want to be sure you’re covered should a client make a claim against your business for a fault with your work, advice or service.
Should a claim be made, this policy could cover the legal fees and compensation should a client claim that your advice or service resulted in negative consequences or financial loss. When you work with other businesses, they could claim that your advice lost them work, that you made a wrong statement about their business which affected their reputation (known as defamation), that you released private information without consent or that you used their property (such as an image) without declaring it.
As an example, you could be a graphic designer and leave a typo in a new sign for a client. The sign has been printed with the typo in it, and it would cost the client money to have a new one corrected and printed. In this instance, your mistake has cost them money, and so they could make a claim against your business. This is where professional indemnity insurance could cover you.
Employer Liability Insurance
Employers’ liability insurance is similar to public liability, but instead of protecting members of the public, it protects your employees in the case of illness or injury. You only need this type of insurance if you have people that work for you, including volunteers.
Does Home Insurance Cover A Garden Office?
Most home insurance policies do cover outbuildings, such as sheds and garden offices, and their contents. However, it’s always best to check with your own provider to ensure this is the case. You wouldn’t want to have the building broken into only to find that it’s not actually covered on your insurance policy, meaning you can’t make a claim.
If your garden office isn’t covered, you can add it to the policy so you know that your work-related items are protected against damage, loss and theft. Garden offices have become particularly popular in the last few years, so your insurance provider will be able to provide you all the information you need.
Remember if you do have a garden office that clients come in and out of, you should also have public liability insurance in place.