The Covid-19 pandemic has touched just about every aspect of our lives, but among the most significant impacts have been on our working habits. Social distance requires that many non-essential workers continue to work from home. According to the Office for National Statistics, around 49.2% of adults in employment are doing it. But exactly what does that mean from an insurance point of view?
How might Working from Home affect my Contents Insurance?
The contentious distinction is between items that are being used for business. Some home contents policies will specifically provide cover for items used for ‘administration’, while others will exclude anything used for ‘business or professional purposes’. In other words, if you’re using your computer to work, then it might no longer be insured. This is especially likely if, prior to the pandemic, you were using it only for recreation. Check your policy and see whether you’re covered.
What kinds of policy are worth checking?
Home insurance falls into several different categories. There’s tenant’s contents insurance, which covers the belongings contained in a property rather than the property itself; there’s tenant’s liability insurance, which will cover any damage to the building; and then there are things like car insurance and healthcare.
Given that the overwhelming majority of us are driving less than we were before (despite some slight reversion to previous habits), motor insurance is unlikely to be a problem. For some who might have started a home-delivery service during the crisis, using the vehicle for business might be deemed contrary to the policy. Again, it’s worth having a read to confirm that you’re adequately covered.
What about stuff your employer provides you with?
Many workers will have been given laptops, mobile phones, and other devices in order that they can carry on working uninterrupted. It is your employer’s responsibility to check that these items are covered against damage.
What about Stock?
Of course, many of us aren’t just working remotely; we’ve effectively moved our premises into our homes, including all of the stock that goes with them. Large amounts of high-value stock are unlikely to be covered by a standard home contents policy. This is especially so if the goods in question are flammable or otherwise dangerous. In this case, you’re likely to need a separate business insurance policy to complement your home contents one.
What about Employees
Most of us are living with family, and thus we won’t have to worry about colleagues entering our homes in a business capacity. However, there are exceptions: you might, for example, be hiring a member of your family. In this case, you may need additional liability covered.
Often, the simplest way to deal with any ambiguity in your policy is to take out a separate short-term business insurance policy to cover you until the lockdown measures come to an end. Since there’s no way to be entirely sure when this will be, it might be best to invest in rolling cover that you can simply cancel when the time arrives.