23 March 2020

With a large number of people already working from home, what are the insurance risks?

More than a third of full-time workers in the UK are currently looking for a flexible job that enables them to balance home and work commitments; a large number are already working from home, but what are the risks?

At a glance

·        An increasing number of people choose to work from home

·        Although this has many benefits, there are many risks and insurance consequences

·        We look at what clients should know about when working from home, and the consequences for their home insurance.

This desire for greater flexibility in the workplace saw a corresponding 74%* increase in the number of people working from home between 2008 and 2018.

In reality, the review of the TUC government figures reveals that the number of people who work regularly from home is now around 4.2 million – 13.7% of the UK workforce*.

Many people believe that working from home helps them to do more. The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) found that a third of home employees feel more successful at home than in the workplace*.

But what are the safety and insurance implications of working from home? And is regular home insurance enough for that? We look at some significant aspects for those who are home working.

Employers’ duty of care

All employers have a responsibility to take appropriate action to protect workers from potential risks of injury. This role is not limited to their usual place of employment – it often applies to other working environments, including working from home.

Anyone who chooses to work from home should ensure that they obtain enough help from their employer in order to do so safely. This may include helping to set up their workstation and ensuring that it is flexible to suit their needs. Those who work frequently from home may need an evaluation of the Display Screen Equipment (DSE) workstation.

Security risks of home working

Data protection is another concern which needs to be carefully considered. Employees should ensure that they have seen and understood the policy of their company on the appropriate use of devices for work purposes, including security protocols (e.g. strong passwords).

Insurance implications of working from home

Some home insurance policies can limit or exclude coverage where the home is used for business purposes. Portable computer devices can also be subject to internal restrictions. This can involve modifications to handle greater volumes or usage at multiple locations.

Car insurance should also be checked if a vehicle is being used for business travel, to make sure there is cover for uses beyond social, domestic and pleasure.

6 things to consider when working from home

  1. Does your home insurance policy provide cover for ‘administration duties’ or items used for ‘business or professional purposes’?
  2. Does your contents policy cover accidental damage to mobile phones, laptops or any portable computer equipment outside the home, e.g. if you are working in a café, on a train etc?
  3. Does your employer provide adequate insurance for the equipment it provides, for you to work from home?
  4. Are product samples used for work covered by either your own or your employer’s contents insurance?
  5. What about hazardous materials? Are they being stored safely?
  6. Do you have clients or colleagues meeting in your home? If so, does your home insurance policy include public liability cover?

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