Does Home Insurance Cover Home Offices?
Working from home can be stressful, but there’s no need to stress about the expensive office equipment in your home if you have the right insurance.
Thanks to the pandemic, a record amount of the workforce has been working from home. Even though we have downgraded to lower levels of lockdown, many workplaces have chosen to keep working remotely. If you have office equipment and technology at your home, you may be wondering if it is covered should anything untoward happen.
The answer really depends on a few factors. What is the equipment, and how is it being used? Who is the owner of the equipment? What type of policy do they have? What kind of cover does the owner’s policy provide?
Does Home Insurance Cover Home Office Equipment in South Africa?
Home insurance is designed to cover your personal effects and possessions. These items are usually listed along with their values and uses in an addendum to your policy. The items covered by home insurance are not typically used for business, nor are they covered if removed from the property that is insured.
This means if you have any equipment you are using for work purposes, you may need to find a plan that specifically covers such equipment. Your home insurance policy might clearly state that objects used for business are not covered by the policy. Insurance providers may state this because risk levels differ for home-use and work-use objects.
To figure out which kind of cover you need, answer the following questions.
- What is the equipment? Is it a camera, laptop, tv, or something expensive and electronic? If so, you may need business insurance that covers electronic equipment. Furniture like chairs and desks may be covered for different risks, but usually also on a business insurance policy if it is used for work.
- How is it being used? Is it moved to different locations, or does it stay in one place? A laptop, for example, may be moved from your home to a meeting or to a different location at times. Movable objects need different cover because the risks they are exposed to differ. Take camera equipment, for example. A photographer often travels to locations for photoshoots. At the location, there could be a river, different weather, hazardous obstacles, or even a thief. The equipment would not have been exposed to these specific risks if it hadn’t been moved to the location. When an object is valuable, movable, and used for business, it is often covered by business all-risk plans or by a form of movable objects insurance that forms part of a business insurance policy.
- Who is the owner of the equipment? If you are a sole proprietor or work for yourself, you own the home office equipment, and that means you need to ensure it is adequately covered. If you are working from home, but you work for an employer, they may own some of the equipment you are using. It is best to speak to your employer to make sure the equipment is adequately covered. If the objects are not portable, you can provide your employer with the address at which the equipment will be. By speaking to your employer about the right kind of cover for these objects, you can make sure you do not get into trouble if something happens.
- What type of policy does the owner have? A home insurance policy covers possessions in your home, often listed, but does not necessarily cover equipment used to make money. That means the owner, whether you or your employer, needs a business insurance policy. The policy can include business all-risk cover for portable objects and electronic equipment cover for expensive electronics that remain in one place. If you are not the owner, it’s a good idea to find out what kind of policy covers the equipment you are using in your home office. You could ask to see the policy and read through it. The policy wording will make it clear whether the equipment at your home is covered adequately.
- What kind of cover does the owner’s policy provide?Insurance providers do not offer identical coverage for the same risks. Some policies may require certain security measures are put in place. Other insurance providers may require excess payment or certain conditions in order to cover the equipment. If you want to get a policy that covers your home office equipment, it’s best to get quotes and compare the offerings of different insurers.
Some insurance providers have made special provisions for their customers during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. To find out whether any provisions have been made that offer temporary cover for office equipment at your home, speak to the insurance providers covering the objects.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, medical, or financial advice. Facts stated in this article are correct at the time it was published.