The question of working from home insurance is one we at GSI Insurance occasionally encounter – and the answer can be a little complex depending upon your exact position.
We’ll try to pick out some of the key points below for your consideration.
Your home insurance
Typically, your home insurance policy will be written on the basis that you use your home mainly for residential and recreational purposes.
Of course, policies also recognise that you may work from home at times, whether you are self-employed or working as an employee of another company. Home working has changed the shape of the British workforce over the last decade and such activities are now far from unusual.
However, the position can become more complicated if you are operating a business using your home as your main business premises and registered address. In such scenarios, you are no longer using your property more or less exclusively for residential and recreational purposes but now also as a commercial location.
In some circumstances that may cause some issues with your home insurance policy and “work from home insurance” may be necessary.
Informing your insurance provider
In some cases, your usage might be unlikely to be an issue for your insurer.
For example, if you are simply using a PC in your home and working online occasionally, the potential issues and risks may be largely irrelevant for your policy provider. However, they may see things very differently if you have decided to turn your attic or garage into a small goods manufacturing operation.
It’s impossible here to give you a definitive statement about what is or would be an issue. The important thing is to fully discuss your intentions and business use with your insurance provider before you make any such changes – even if it is only the aforementioned use of a PC in the home for work purposes.
Self-employed insurance cover from home
Another factor that is sometimes overlooked with working from home insurance arises in the domain of self-employed people working from home.
The fact that you are running your business from your home address, as opposed to perhaps a rented office, a garage or a shop, does not itself change your need for certain types of important professional insurance cover.
To take one example, if you have people working for you as employees, the law will typically require you to take out employer’s liability insurance. That will apply whether your business activities are based at home or from any other form of commercial premises.
Equally, you may still be at risk of being sued for third party, product or professional liability whether you are operating from home or not. The exact risks in those areas will depend upon the nature of your business, your products/services and who you engage with.
The key message we would like to convey regarding working from home insurance breaks down into two separate components:
- be cautious about putting your typical owner-occupier home insurance policy at risk by starting commercial activities based at your home address. Get advice on this and work from home insurance in advance;
- consider your business liabilities and think carefully about appropriate insurance cover to protect you. That applies whether you are working from home or elsewhere.
We are experts in this area of work from home insurance cover and would welcome the opportunity to discuss your situation with you further. Please contact us for more information.