Working from home is increasingly popular in the UK – there is even a National Work from Home Day in May of each year.
According to a story in the Independent newspaper in May this year, an estimated four million people or more – some 13% of the total labour force – now work from home. Their numbers have been swollen by some 800,000 in the past decade alone.
They include those who are in employment, the self-employed, freelancers, those who only occasionally work from home, and those who may work from several different sites but keep their home as their main base.
According to a report by the BBC, homeworking is described as their primary job by as many as 1.54 million people.
Why insurance matters
The attractions of working from home are self-evident – your environment is as familiar and as comfortable as you choose to make it; you decide the hours you work; you avoid the time, hassle and expense of any commute to work; and in many ways, you are likely to be very much your own boss.
Being your own boss, though, also comes with its downside. If and when anything goes wrong, it is you – and you alone – who ends up carrying the can and making good from your own pocket any financial losses that may arise.
Those are the losses that purposely-tailored working from home insurance may help you avoid. If you are employed and working from home, your employer may have arranged some level of protection. But that is not always the case, so you need to check what is and what is not covered. And if you are self-employed or a freelancer, of course, the responsibility is entirely yours.
Let’s consider just a few of the risks:
- you may be working from home, but that does not mean you are always alone;
- there may be occasions when a client comes to visit, a colleague working on a similar project, or anyone else to comes to call while you are in work mode;
- if anyone suffers an injury or has their property damaged because of actions you have taken – or failed to take – while they are visiting you at your workplace at home, you may be held liable;
- in that event, you may be ordered to pay a substantial sum in compensation – for which public liability insurance provides the cover you need;
Professional indemnity insurance
- if your homeworking involves giving any kind of professional advice, your clients are entitled to expect work that is done to the best of your ability and a standard required of anyone providing similar services;
- professional indemnity insurance is your financial defence against claims that you have been negligent in your professional capacity – whether through poor advice and judgment or mistakes you have made;
- anyone who works from home, of course, needs certain tools of their trade – almost certainly a computer, a printer, and the communications equipment which every day brings work into the home;
- this is the equipment vital to your homeworking activities – and if any of it is stolen, lost or damaged, your business stands to suffer significantly;
- insuring your office equipment is a prudent way of ensuring that your work suffers no permanent setback.
It is important to note that your standard home insurance will not cover any of your business-related activities if you have not discussed the matter with your insurance provider. In some cases, if you are working from home and you don’t have the relevant home office insurance, your insurer could completely withdraw your existing home insurance cover.
If you are working from home, therefore, you might want to make sure that you are adequately insured against the potential risks to your livelihood.