Home Insurance Advice for People Who Work from Home.

How remote working could have an impact on your home cover policy (and car insurance!)...

home office
August 5, 2015

Over recent years, more and more employees have been choosing to work remotely from their own homes, as certain industries and employers have become more willing to accept this flexible working arrangement than they had previously.

In 2020, the Coronavirus pandemic has caused a significant increase in the number of people stopping their commute to work and working from home instead, but what does that mean for our home and car insurance policies? Do you need to inform your insurer if you have been told to work from home for the foreseeable future?

In this guide, we explain everything you need to know about how remote working could have an impact on your insurance, whether you are working at home because it is a general perk of your job or due to Covid-19.

What is remote working? – UK statistics

Working remotely simply means that you do not carry out your job roles in an office-based environment, but instead, somewhere else – more commonly, at home.

Between May and June, the UK saw a spike in the number of people working exclusively from home due to the government’s lockdown measures, with figures reaching the highest in mid-June (38%), according to the ONS. But, as the number of Covid-19 cases reduced, home workers were soon urged to get back to the office where possible during August and September.

Then, after cases started rising again in October, there was a u-turn with the previous decision as employees were told once again to work from home if they could.

Many companies successfully transitioned their employees to home working by making sure members of staff were supplied with the correct equipment to carry on with their job as normal as possible during these changing times, while many others are still in the process of considering a switch to remote working.

According to recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there was a drop in the number of employees travelling to work in September 2020, falling from 64% to 59% within one week.

As a result, the number of people working from home increased from 21% to 24% over the same period.

Due to a high level of uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 and what will happen during the end of 2020, this number is likely to continue increasing and more and more people will return to remote working.

Read more: What is the Average Cost of Home Insurance?

Do I need to tell my insurer if I’ve been told to work from home due to Covid-19?

Normally, you would need to inform your insurer of any changes to your situation because you risk invalidating your car or home insurance policy if you don’t and you won’t receive compensation if you need to make a claim (so all of your premiums will have gone to waste), but the Coronavirus pandemic has led insurers to provide exceptions to certain policyholders.

In October 2020, The Association of British Insurers (ABI) confirmed that employees who have office-based roles and are currently working from home due to Covid-19 and government guidelines do not need to contact their car or home insurance company about amending or updating their policy, meaning that you will still be covered under your existing policy’s terms and conditions.

This pledge from insurers will remain in place until 31st December, where it will be revised again depending on the Covid-19 situation, so be sure to keep up to date with the changing rules and laws.

Although some home content insurers will quite happily (and readily) protect up to £5,000 of home office hardware automatically, specialist items may well fall outside of this provision, and in some cases, the likes of expensive audio and visual equipment, photocopiers and other state-of-the-art commercial office-spec devices are excluded from general cover.

So, if you have purchased items that mean the total value of your home contents has increased significantly, you will need to inform your insurer about the new estimated value so they can amend your contents-only cover (whether you have it as part of a combined buildings and contents policy or just a separate, standalone policy).

If your employer has purchased the equipment for you though, then this will be covered under their own insurance policy. Your employer will need to have statutory employer’s liability insurance in place as well as any additional cover for equipment or materials they have provided.

If your situation is different to the above and you are unsure whether or not you should inform your insurer about your current working arrangements, it is a good idea to get in touch with them anyway to make sure you’re fully covered with your existing policy, otherwise, if the worst happens and you need to make a claim, your policy may be invalidated due to failure to disclose information.

Volunteers and keyworkers

If you have an ‘essential’ or ‘critical’ job role, such as working in healthcare, social care or education, which requires you to use your own vehicle more or use it instead of public transport which you would normally commute to work by, you will still be covered by your insurance policy.

This also applies to people who are volunteering to help those most vulnerable, by delivering medicine or other essential supplies, such as food.

Remember though, if you are not sure and you want to double-check what you are covered for, it’s always best to contact your insurance provider directly.

Read more: Insurance Companies Offer Further Support During Coronavirus

Do I need to tell my insurer if I’m running my own business from home?

It’s important to remember that the above exceptions only apply to office-based workers who are currently working from home due to Coronavirus – If you work from home because you run your own business then you should already have extra protection in place to cover you.

Under normal circumstances, if you are working from home and your business means that people need to visit your house, you should consider getting a policy for public liability insurance on top of your standard home cover policy.

Public liability insurance isn’t compulsory, but it does protect you against any visitors who come to your home and subsequently make a compensation claim against you, covering you for any legal costs or other fees that you may incur as a result of trying to defend the claim.

If you have employees, you may also need employer’s liability insurance and additional travel insurance if they are required to travel abroad.

Remember, if you use your car or other vehicle for business purposes, your car insurance policy must cover you for the correct type of business use – including cover for employees if they use your vehicle too.

Given the recent social distancing rules, however, it may now mean that you cannot carry on with business as usual, so if you’re unsure how much cover you need for your own individual circumstances, make sure you contact your insurer.

Home and car insurance renewal dates – check them now!

With so much to think about throughout the year and with even more on our minds now thanks to Covid-19, forgetting when your home and car insurance policies are due for renewal is easily done.

If you’re not sure when your policy is due to expire or be automatically renewed by your provider, it is important that you check this and make a note of it to avoid your policy auto-renewing, as you are unlikely to be on the best deal and you’ll be missing out on potentially significant savings if you don’t switch to another provider.

Learn more : Car Insurance Renewal Explained

The only way to see how much you could be saving by switching is to compare quotes now, which you can do for free by tapping either of the buttons below.

Remember, if you find a cheaper quote for the same cover, contact your insurer to see if they will match the price for you; if not, you’ll be better off letting them know you do not wish to auto-renew your policy and instead, switching providers.

See how much you could save now: