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Are you insured to work from home?

Written by: Emma Lunn
‘Work from home’ guidance is back in force, but a standard home insurance policy might not cover homeworking.

Ceta Insurance warns that if you work from home – even if it is just one day a week – your insurance policy might be inadequate.

As a result of the pandemic, the number of people working from home increased from 27% in 2019, to 37% in 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

While many people have returned to the office at some point during 2021, Ceta Insurance found that the majority (57%) of workers say that they would prefer to continue to work from home at least some of the time.

In most cases, a standard home insurance policy will be sufficient for homeworkers, but there are a number of exceptions – so check your policy.

Common reasons why your home insurance may not cover working from home could be:

  • You have converted, extended or renovated to create a home office space
  • You have visitors to your home as part of your job
  • You offer services from your home
  • You make, sell or store goods in your home
  • You have moved the running of a business to your home
  • You have started a business during the pandemic

James O’Hara, commercial director at Ceta Insurance, said: “According to the Association of British Insurers, if you are an office-based worker that is continuing to work from home in at least some capacity, ‘it will remain the case’ that you don’t need to contact your insurer, but there are a number of exceptions.

“For example, if you have visitors to your home on business matters, you make, sell or store goods from home, offer services from your home i.e. beauty treatments, hairdressing, child minding, or have started running a business from home during the pandemic.

“Home insurance policies will need to be revisited if the home has been altered in any way to accommodate for a home office environment.”

Most people working from home have set up an impromptu office in the lounge (21%) or their bedroom (15%). But, according to Rated People, one in 10 people have converted either the garage, a summer house or a shed, or built a dedicated office in the garden. All of these alterations would need to be declared to the insurer.

O’Hara said: “While it is great news that most home working will be covered by a standard home insurance policy, there is a danger that because most circumstances are covered, those whose aren’t will just assume they don’t need to worry, and this could leave millions of homes at risk.

“It is therefore really important that you check with your insurer. If you have created a new office space, are now offering services from your home, or having clients or customers to visit, you may well now come under non-standard insurance, and you might not be able to extend you current policy.”

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