Home-working insurance: Taking precautions

You can reduce the costs and risks by taking some basic measures

Check the small print of most household policies carefully and it quickly becomes obvious that many offices at home are completely exempt from any cover.

The standard policy will only insure outbuildings or garages that are attached to the house and secured as part of the premises. Stand-alone sheds are not covered. This may not have mattered if you kept a few rusty buckets and not much else in an old shed but convert that to an office and it becomes a major loophole. Again specialised home-worker policies will specifically include “home lodges” or wooden chalets in the garden as well as converted barns or outbuildings.

Reduce the risk

Buried in the small print there are some basic rules of insurance. Insurers will put the onus on the insured not to be negligent and leave themselves open to disaster.

In the case of household policies this might mean the installation of five-lever deadlocks on every door and adequate window locks on downstairs windows. Installing a burglar alarm can sometimes reduce the premiums, as can membership of a neighbourhood watch scheme.

Many insurers will also reduce the premium if the insured accepts an excess on any claim. The standard these days is £100 but if you are prepared to pay a higher amount yourself, the premium is usually reduced.

Home workers can help themselves still further with a few simple checks. Backing up the hard disk is an obvious security measure that many of us ignore. Temple says the worst offenders are those who do a lot of travelling, fill the laptop up with valuable information, do not take a back up copy and then leave the computer in the car where it is stolen.

Insurers will put the onus on the insured not to be negligent and leave themselves open to disaster.

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