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How Does Working From Home Impact Your Office Insurance Policies?

By Maria Hickey on October 10th, 2022

The invention of the internet has seen a boom in self-employment and work-from-home jobs over the past two decades. Whether you run a solely online business or run a workshop, studio or local shop and operate your office from your home, it gives you the freedom that people in a 9 to 5 job simply don’t enjoy.

Like any other UK business, it makes sense to protect yourself with office insurance to cover any risks or unexpected events you are open to. Many people forget that they may need different working-from-home office insurance that covers more than your typical home or content insurance will protect.

Suppose your home office isn’t protected by business insurance for working from home, and something happens to your property, such as a fire or flood. In that case, your standard home insurance may not offer enough protection to cover all your extra losses.

Home insurance is incredibly valuable for any homeowner. Still, domestic home insurance policies are created to help you recover your losses of personal possessions rather than essential business tools and equipment.

But if you aren’t protected, what you’re working for is at risk. That’s why it’s essential to make sure that you’re covered.

Does Office Insurance Protect Employees Working From Home?

If your business employs staff, you must include the employer’s liability cover in your office insurance policy. Luckily, you can build the perfect work-at-home insurance policy to suit your needs, so you can add employer’s liability if you employ staff or leave it out if you are a sole trader with no employees.

Many entrepreneurs will work from their home office as sole traders, to begin with, but may need to hire staff as their business grows. This means that as soon as you employ someone to work for your business – including full and part-time staff, freelancers or volunteers – you will need to have at least £5 million employers’ liability cover added to your work-from-home insurance. It’s required by law.

You need employer’s liability insurance because if any member of your staff gets injured because of working for your business, you will need to make sure your injured staff member is properly cared for. Plus, you must protect your company from expensive lawsuits and compensation claims.

Do I Need to Update My Office Insurance To Cover Working From Home?

Your standard home insurance won’t extend to cover your laptops, computers and other equipment you use professionally for your business. While many people may start an online business from home using their personal laptop without any work-from-home business insurance, if the company takes off, you will leave yourself at a disadvantage by not protecting yourself with adequate work-from-home business insurance.

You can start by covering yourself with the bare minimum protection needed for working from home insurance implications. Once you upgrade your office laptop and add more essential office equipment, you should be mindful about updating your office insurance to cover these extra business assets.

As your business awareness and reputation grow, you will also need to protect your good name, reputation and business standing with professional indemnity insurance. This covers your work and protects your business from compensation claims made against you by customers who think you have made a mistake, given them the wrong advice, or lost them money in some way.

Without adding professional indemnity insurance to your working from home office insurance policy, any legal claim made against your business could be costly.

Does Office Insurance Cover Other Kinds of Flexible Working?

Insurance for home workers goes further than just protecting yourself in your home office environment. Many solo entrepreneurs or small business owners will have an office based in their own homes, but they may also work outside of the office as part of their job.

Suppose your business involves working face to face with clients or the public where you invite clients into your workplace or you visit other people while conducting your business. In that case, public liability insurance is a must!

Public liability insurance can be added to your working from home insurance policy. It offers protection if anyone visiting your property gets injured and makes a compensation claim against you. Public liability insurance protects you against claims should you accidentally damage your client’s personal property.

Let’s say you offer counselling sessions from your home, and a client trips over your front doorstep as they enter your home, falls and breaks their wrist. You could be held liable for paying compensation to your injured client. This cover also protects you should you visit a client in their home and the buckle on your bag accidentally scratches a piece of furniture or gets snagged on soft furnishings, for which you will be charged for repairs.

Do I Need Employer’s Liability Insurance If My Employees Work From Home?

Just because your employees don’t work from a central office doesn’t mean you don’t need employer’s liability insurance. Many lean companies are springing up now that don’t own business premises and employ remote workers instead to work from home.

The UK law states that employers are covered with employer’s liability insurance regardless of where their staff are based. When working out what cover you need in your office insurance policy, you will need to include employee working from home insurance in the form of employer’s liability insurance no matter how many staff you have, whether they are full-time, part-time, volunteers or temporary employees.

Think of it this way – if you need to work from home with insurance, so will your remote staff.

Will I Require Public Liability Insurance If My Employees Work Flexibly?

While public liability insurance isn’t a legal requirement under UK law, it is worth taking out because it can protect your business financially should anyone take legal action against you for injuries or property damage.

Public liability insurance protects the interests of your clients and the general public. Even if your staff work remotely full-time or split their time between working at home and in your office, if they work with clients or come into contact with the general public as part of their job, purchasing public liability insurance will give you great peace of mind

You should definitely think about including public liability as part of your work-at-home business insurance policy, as it can protect you should someone makes a claim against you or a member of your staff for injury or damage to property suffered because of your business.

Conclusion

Starting a business and setting up a home office adds additional risks that your standard home insurance policy isn’t created to cope with. In most cases, your home insurance provider will increase your premiums to a higher level to cover the extra assets your business will bring into your home. But this still won’t be insurance cover specific for business use.

It can be far more cost-effective and practical to arrange separate home office business insurance to meet your needs that will offer more protection than your standard home insurance cover.

Maria Hickey

For more than 20 years, Maria has worked in the insurance sector and has extensive underwriting and customer service expertise. Maria is an experienced Senior Underwriter with a particular specialism for shop, office and surgery related insurance.

All articles by Maria Hickey

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