John Price, National Sales Manager, assesses working from home during the lockdown and outlines the importance of quality home insurance, even if you're going to be inside your property for the duration.
Understandably, as many of us are now confined to our makeshift home offices for the foreseeable future, one of the most common questions we’ve received lately from policyholders has been if working from home will affect their home insurance and if they need to let us know that they’re now working from home.
As much as we love hearing from our policyholders, there’s not normally a need for policyholders to contact us to tell us that they’re now working from home. As long as the work being done is simple administrative tasks and clerical duties such as sending emails and taking calls - which you would likely have been doing previously from your normal place of work - this won’t affect the cover you receive from your Paymentshield Home Insurance policy.
However, if you’re not a Paymentshield policyholder we’d highly recommend checking your policy as not all insurance policies may offer this protection.
Will I require add-ons to my policy if I am working from home?
If you’re using computer equipment from home that you purchased yourself then you’re already covered by your policy if you need to claim for loss or damage following theft, fire, or escape of water (such as a burst pipe causing damage to your equipment).
We also cover Accidental Damage to computer equipment as standard with some of our products. So, if you spill your morning cup of coffee over your laptop because you haven’t quite woken up yet, you’ll be covered for it to be fixed or replaced where the item cannot be economically repaired. If computer equipment isn’t covered as standard in your policy, you may require the optional level of cover to be added to your policy.
So, it’s a good idea, especially if you’ve got children at home, to check your policy documentation to see if you’ve got accidental damage cover as part of your policy to ensure you’re covered for common mishaps like careless coffee spills or damage to your TV from an inside ball game!
I’m using business equipment whilst working at home. Am I still protected?
Your insurance policy will generally only provide cover for the items you’re legally responsible for. So, if you’re using equipment provided by your employer to work from home then you should also check with your employer if the equipment is your legal responsibility or to confirm if they carry adequate insurance for the items they have issued to you.
In addition, if you run your own business and are now working from home instead of your normal place of work then you will need to get in touch with your insurer to see if any items you need to conduct your business are covered. For example, if you’re now holding stock or cash in your home, garage, or other outbuildings instead of your normal business premises, you may find that you need to buy a separate business insurance policy instead of your existing home insurance policy.
It’s also important to keep in mind that your policy may not be suitable if you have staff or business-related visitors at the property. Restrictions should be put in place regarding the admission of staff and visitors to your temporary business premises.
Do I still need Home Insurance if I’m going to be inside my property throughout the lockdown?
For many people, the financial impact of lockdown will be playing on their minds and they may have started reviewing outgoings to try and save a few pounds where possible. However, it’s important that even though you may now be spending a significant amount of time at home, having quality Home Insurance that meets your needs (rather than just trying to find the cheapest policy), is just as important as ever.
For example, we sometimes hear from customers who think that the main benefit of Home Insurance is protection from burglary. It’s a common misconception among homeowners that the risk of burglary will be significantly reduced if they are staying in their property 24/7, which isn’t necessarily the case.
A few years back we even heard from a customer that was thinking about cancelling just because he’d become a dog owner, and thought the dog could take on the job of his policy by fending off burglars!
That said, your Home Insurance policy isn’t just there to protect against theft. It’s also in place to cover the cost from loss or damage from the likes of fire, floods, falling trees, storms, and subsidence which can happen at any time, whether you’re at home or not.
In fact, one of the most common reasons people need to claim on their policy is an escape of water from leaking or burst pipes which can happen at any time of year (not just winter) and can cause significant damage to the room of the leak or overflow as well as the rooms below.
It’s also worth remembering that in most cases, Buildings Insurance will be a non-negotiable requirement of your mortgage agreement. So, if you’re a homeowner, having adequate home insurance in place at all times is an absolute necessity.