Does home insurance cover you for remote working?
As home insurance is intended for residential and not business use, depending on the work you do and what equipment you need, it could leave you short of cover when working remotely.
Is your office equipment covered?
Your home insurance policy will determine what cover is included and this largely depends on:
- What equipment you have
- Who supplies your equipment
- The value of your equipment
- Where the equipment is used
If you’re renting, you’ll only have contents insurance, but if you own your property, you’ll also have buildings insurance, or a combined home insurance policy that covers both.
1. What counts as home office equipment?
This is defined by each insurer, so you’ll need to check the contents section of your policy. It usually includes:
- Computers, keyboards and laptops
- Printers and scanners
- Office furniture
What is excluded?
Any property other than home office equipment that’s held or used at your home for business, trade or professional purposes won’t be covered against loss or damage.
- Construction materials
If you need cover for business items like these, you should contact your insurer who will assess the risk and advise what your options are.
2. Who bought the equipment?
If you’re using your own home office equipment, most contents insurers cover it as standard, but not all so double check.
If you’ve been asked to work from home by your employer and they provide your electronic equipment, it’s their responsibility to insure it.
Check their company policy for restrictions in how it’s used or stored at home, and whether you can also use it outside your home, so you don’t invalidate any potential claims.
3. How much cover is included?
You’ll need to check your contents insurance policy wording document to find out the value of cover that’s included, or call your insurer.
Most policies provide up to €4,000 cover for home office equipment. There will also be a single item value limit that applies.
If you need to increase the cover amount, you could consider:
- A premium policy that has a higher cover level, but you’ll usually have to pay extra
- A separate gadget insurance policy that specifically covers high value items
It’s a good opportunity to check that you’ve set the replacement value for all the contents in your home at the correct level. Our guide to contents insurance explains more.
4. Where can you use your office equipment?
If you only have standard cover, you’re probably just covered to use it at home.
If you want to use it away from home, some insurers extend ‘All Risks cover’ to home office equipment, but not all.
All Risks is an add on that protects your personal possessions from loss and damage both in and away from home.
Since most remote working involves the use of a laptop or computer, it’s worth being aware of these common home insurance policy claim exclusions:
- Failure of your computers and electrical equipment
- Loss or damage caused by your computer or electrical equipment not recognising the correct calendar date
- Damage caused by computer viruses
Does gadget insurance offer better protection?
If your devices are portable, expensive to replace and relatively new, gadget insurance could be a better option than contents insurance.
Portable gadgets are covered in and away from home with gadget insurance, but you’d have to add All Risks cover (if available) to your contents insurance to get this protection.
Our guide: How to get the best gadget insurance explains more about what you’re covered for, common exclusions, and how it works.
You may also be able to get a lower excess on a gadget insurance policy, and your device could be replaced quicker if you had to claim.
What about public and personal liability?
Home insurance usually covers claims arising from visitors to your home who suffer an injury or damage to their property.
For example, if a tile falls off the roof and hits someone, you’re liable as the homeowner, but any costs awarded, would be covered by your insurance.
What it means for your business
Public liability: protects you from claims against your business from a third party, excluding employees.
Personal liability: protects you from claims made against you by a third party.
Are you covered?
Home insurance doesn’t cover personal or public liability resulting from your employment, business, profession or trade.
For example, if your job involves customers visiting your home, you won’t be covered if they have an accident that results in:
- Illness or death,
- If their property gets lost or damaged.
Another example is if you store confidential client information on your laptop and it gets stolen, causing their details to be compromised.
In each scenario, if a claim was brought against you or your business, you’d be responsible for legal costs and settlement costs if they won the case.
This could amount to thousands of euro, and even result in bankruptcy.
Contact your insurer
To protect yourself, make sure you share details with your insurer about the role you’re doing at home, answer their questions honestly and follow their advice.
Any claim you make will be invalidated if you’re found to have withheld information about the use of your home or contents.