Many of us are working from home now, several days a week. But what does this mean for our home insurance?
The global pandemic was the catalyst for creating a new way for many of us to work. While “Working from Home” was often looked upon with quite a bit of derision, with images of workers lying on the couch watching daytime TV. We all had to quickly adjust to working from home while the world battled COVID-19, and now it is commonplace for us to spend part of our week at home and part of our week in the office. But what does this mean for home insurance?
Is your office equipment covered?
Many people working from home might have a home office, but many employees have been provided with equipment by their employers, so do you have to make provisions for this in your home insurance? The employer is responsible for providing adequate insurance cover for any items, such as laptops, monitors or printers if the employer provided it. Not all insurers will cover your home office equipment automatically under the policy. The customer should always check if additional cover is required, whether self-employed or not.
What if I am self-employed?
If you work from home and are self-employed using office equipment that you own - you would first need to declare to your insurer that you are operating a business from your home, and then most providers will give you the option to add cover for Home Office equipment at an additional charge. Different companies would have different limits or acceptance on operating a business from your home - such as whether clients or employees would pay regular visits. Speaking in The Irish Times in 2021, Cathie Shannon, director of general insurance services at Brokers Ireland, said, “It is absolutely essential for home workers and their employers to take a fresh look at insurance cover in the new working environment. There are many risks they may not have considered, and, unfortunately, it’s not until something arises that the prospect of being liable in the event of something going wrong may actually dawn. For example, suppose a client comes to your home office for a meeting and slips on the way out.”
Meetings at home? Keep them digital.
As an employee it would be inadvisable to hold meetings with external clients or colleagues at home. Most insurers would advise employees and employers to hold only digital meetings at home and to use a co-working space or the office for any in-person meetings.
Would I need an additional policy for home-based work?
What are the different policies that businesses operating from home could need and when are they required?
“It would depend on the type of business, so it is always best to consult with your insurance provider and explain the nature of the work,” said Anthony Strickland of AA Ireland. “You might find that a carpenter, baker, computer programmer or psychotherapist might have very different requirements, so it is always best to check.”
To find out more about AA Home Insurance go here.