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Working from home: Choosing an insurance policy

Insurance is vital when losing your equipment means losing your business

Insurance is one of those necessary evils. We all have to have it. We curse every payment, feeling that we are giving money away for nothing but the moment a claim comes in, we are extremely grateful for the help.

As homeworkers, many of us pay little heed to our special needs and many simply rely on existing home contents and buildings insurance. But when something happens, it can be all too late to take any precautions and we could be woefully under-insured.

In the past insurers tended to make a huge distinction between home and office life and the hint of someone working at home would effectively nullify the home policy. But these days insurers have realised that thousands of us do operate from home with little disruption to home life. With a computer and telephone, it is easy to set up your own business.

Added to that, millions of people have computers at home for leisure purposes, making it extremely hard for insurers to justify including a PC in the home contents policy for leisure use but not for business use. The lines are becoming too blurred.

Most insurers are quite happy to include an element of business equipment on the home policy. The trick is to make sure they are aware of what you are doing. Non-disclosure is one of the most frequent reasons behind the refusal to pay out on a claim. Insurers say they are always happy to assess a risk and provide the policy required – but they can only do this if they have the relevant facts to start with.

Choosing an insurance policy

There are tailored home worker policies on the market. A standard policy will add around £140 to your annual insurance costs. If you have a lot of expensive equipment, it will probably cost nearer £300 a year extra.

If you use a broker, give them a call. It may be that your existing household policy can be “tweaked” to suit your needs at no extra cost or just for a small sum. Shop around and make sure you give everyone all the details. There are policies available on the internet, through high street brokers and over the telephone. All the usual suspects of home insurers will be able to give you a quote, just check the fine print for inclusions and exclusions.

Checklist – are these issues covered by your policy?

- Do you have adequate cover for your expensive equipment? – Can you take your equipment in the car or abroad and still be covered? – What happens after a fire/flood/subsidence? – What happens if a visitor has an accident? – What happens to any staff after an accident? – Have you checked your policy for any specific exclusions?

Non-disclosure is one of the most frequent reasons behind the refusal to pay out a claim.

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