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7.5m Brits work from home – but are they covered?

28 April 2015

Only 42% of homeworkers are confident they are covered under their household insurance

As new research reveals that 7.5m* Brits spend at least some part of their week working from home, Gocompare.com Home Insurance warns regular homeworkers to check their home insurance to make sure they are covered. 

The survey, commissioned by Gocompare.com Home Insurance, found that 7.5m people occasionally or permanently work from home.  Workers aged 35 to 44 (32%) and those aged 25 to 34 (30%) were the most likely to be full or part-time homeworkers. However, only 42% of homeworkers were confident that their home insurance covered the equipment – such as computers, tablets and printers – they use for work.

The comparison website compared over 300 home contents insurance policies** and found that while most (87%) provide cover for business equipment,  5% only provide this cover as an optional extra, and 8% give no cover at all.  Of those policies providing cover, there was a significant variation in the sums insured, from just £500 to unlimited cover. However, policies typically provide cover of between £3,000 and £5,000. Some policies don’t state a specific amount and instead cover a percentage of the overall amount of contents insurance on a policy.

Gocompare.com Home Insurance’s analysis also revealed that the vast majority (87%) of policies exclude cover for business stock. Of the 44 policies which cover business stock, half provide just £500 worth of cover. 

Ben Wilson, home insurance spokesperson at Gocompare.com, commented: “With many companies offering flexible working to employees, it’s not unusual for people to work from home either on a fulltime or occasional basis. But if you do so regularly you need to let your home insurer know that you are using your home for business purposes. This doesn’t apply if you only work the odd day or two from home, for example to look after a sick child.

“Your insurer will want to know the type of work you undertake at home.  For example, whether it’s clerical work or whether you’re providing a service such as physiotherapy and have regular business visitors.

“As a rule of thumb, clerical work doesn’t make much difference to the cost of your cover because many policies cover administrative duties. However, receiving regular business visitors or storing stock could have a bigger impact on your insurance premium. However, some home insurers give a discount if your home is occupied during the day so it’s important to shop around to find the cover you need at a good price.

“Failing to tell your insurer that you work from home could invalidate your policy if you need to make a claim.”

Ben continued: “If you keep stock or product samples at home then you need to inform your insurer.  Most contents insurance policies exclude cover for business stock, so you’ll probably need to buy a separate policy to cover this. Also, if in running your business you keep cash at home, then you’ll need to check your home insurance policy limits to make sure you have adequate cover. However, if you use equipment supplied by your employer, such as a work laptop, you should not put this on your own home insurance policy.”

“And if you regularly travel on business, you’ll need to make sure that your belongings - including mobile phones, laptops - are covered when away from home.”

For more information on the insurance implications of working from home visit Gocompare.com's working from home guide