HR · 8 June 2020

Does your insurance cover you to work from home?

Michael Foote, Director of cost comparison site, Quote Goat explores the topic of insurance cover when working from home during the coronavirus crisis…

While there has been a slight easing of lockdown conditions in the UK, the coronavirus outbreak remains an ongoing public health emergency, and we remain far from “business as usual”.

A recent report by work management platform Asana highlights this, revealing that 59% of UK employees are working different hours than they were previously. For many people, working from home over the last few months has been a positive experience, and has seen a growing acceptance from employers, leading many to believe we will see a permanent increase in remote working.

If this is the case, it is vital that employees and employers are safe to work from home, and that they and their equipment are appropriately insured to do so. Below are outlined responses to the key questions that you and your colleagues should be aware of when working from home. Remember that policies vary with each insurer so always double-check the level of cover offered and contact your provider directly if you are unsure and have questions that need answering.

Am I covered by my home insurance policy to work from home?

In the first instance, you will need to take a look at your home contents insurance policy rather than buildings insurance. Typically, your policy will be unaffected if undertaking clerical work e.g. day-to-day office tasks, like answering phones or data entry. If your job involves slightly more hazardous duties, then you may not be covered.

Either way, it is better to be cautious and flag to your insurance provider that you are working from home, because if you don’t and make a claim, your settlement could be affected or in the worst case your insurer may decline to deal with it.

Help! My dog has just chewed up my work laptop, am I covered?

There are numerous ways that vital work equipment can get broken or misplaced while working from home. For example with the majority of schools and nurseries shut for everyone except the children of key workers, many parents will be having to watch out for juice spills or temper tantrums from their wayward offspring, in case of damage to their laptops and phones.

Usually, any equipment your employer provides you will be covered by their business insurance, so you will not have to worry about changing your home policy. Also, any equipment you have purchased that you use for work such as a home computer or printer will also likely be covered. That being said, if you are using far more specialist equipment, it may be best to check with your insurer to avoid any potential mishaps.

I have set-up my home office with my new equipment but not updated my home insurance policy, can I claim?

You have finally got the big desk you have always dreamed off, with a chair that does not hurt your back and is positioned next to a window with a lovely view. Yet all the time spent indulging in office design has meant you forgot to insure your lovely new photocopier and it has suddenly stopped working… What do you do? If you have unlimited contents insurance, then you are fortunate enough to have all your home contents covered by the policy.

Naturally, this costs more but you can be confident that you will not lose out. For many people though, it may be better to have a contents policy with an upper limit in place, as it will work out far cheaper in the long run. Unless you are a lightning rod for mishaps that is!

Do I need employer’s liability insurance if my employees are not in the office?

If you employ anyone other than family members, you are legally obliged to have employers’ liability insurance. Whether your employees are in the office or not, they can be fined up to £2,500 for every day you do not have appropriate insurance.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Michael Foote is the founder of Quote Goat, a money-saving site for personal and business customers, offering leading comparison solutions in finance, energy, and insurance. Michael has over 13 years’ experience working in the finance, insurance and currency sectors and is a self-taught expert in all things SEO.

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