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Your Home Insurance and Working from Home

Working from home can have an impact on your home insurance. It is essential to make your insurer aware if you work from home – failure to do so could invalidate your home insurance policy. Those who work or run a business from home might also need to think about other types of cover with regards to working from home insurance.

More people than ever before began working from home during the global pandemic as a step towards containing the outbreak. This means it is particularly important for those working from home in response to government advice to consider the impact on their home insurance.

Does working from home impact my home insurance?

In a nutshell: yes. In most cases, working from home will affect your home insurance. Standard home insurance cover is not usually sufficient for people who work from home, particularly if you are running a business.

The first thing to do is to check with your insurer to understand what is and is not covered by your policy. All insurance policies are slightly different, so the levels of cover and exclusions vary.

You should inform your insurer immediately if you work from home. Whether you are working from home full or part-time, or even just occasionally, you should keep your insurer updated. This gives them the most accurate picture of your circumstances. They will then be able to let you know whether or not you are covered to work from home, including the protection of your equipment.

If you work from home and fail to notify your insurer, your home insurance may become invalid if you do try to make a claim.

What important things should you think about if you work from home long-term?

If your home working arrangements are for the long-term, and not just whilst the pandemic is happening, you need to think carefully about your home insurance. This is true whether you work as an independent freelancer, are employed as a remote worker, or start your own business out of your home.

One of the key considerations with regards to home insurance is the type of work you are doing. If, for example, the work is clerical (computer-based, ‘office work’) you must inform your insurer of this. You may be able to take out extensions to your existing home contents insurance to cover work equipment.

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That said, your work equipment is only one thing that comes into the equation. There may be other relevant forms of insurance depending on whether or not you are self-employed, the type of work you do and whether you have employees. If visitors come to your home as part of your business, or you have stock stored at your home address, these may have a more significant impact on your insurance requirements. The risk of accidents occurring whilst working from home is much higher in these circumstances, and home insurance is unlikely to cover those risks.

Business insurance products might be worth considering, in addition to your home insurance.

  • Public liability insurance – This is something to consider if you have visitors coming into your home relating to your work. It will provide cover if your business is responsible for damage or injury to property or a member of the public/client.

  • Professional indemnity insurance – This is important cover for people who provide things like advice, services or designs. It will typically cover you in the event that your business is sued by a client for a mistake on your part.

  • Employers’ liability insurance – If you employ any staff at all, you are legally required to take out employers’ liability insurance in the UK.

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What about if I’m only working from home because of the pandemic?

The Association of British Insurers previously made a statement to confirm that, in most cases, home insurance cover will not be affected by working from home during the COVID-19 crisis. However, this mainly applies to work that is clerical in nature, and there are exceptions.

Furthermore, with restrictions all but removed across the UK, things may be different now. It is safest to contact your insurer and ask them if you are still covered – if not, seek advice on what sort of cover you need.

There are a number of insurance products designed for small businesses. It is essential that you get your small business insurance needs in order to ensure your business, clients and employees are protected. It can be helpful to work with an insurance broker to get expert advice and support in finding the most suitable cover for your needs.

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