Sutcliffe & Co insurance working from home

Working from home in the New Year

If you’re using the start of 2020 to address your work/life balance or finally take steps to scratch that entrepreneurial itch, then the likelihood is that you will be working from home. You will be joining the c. 4 million in the UK already doing so, according to Government figures by the TUC.

However, in all the excitement of a new way of life, the mundane can often be forgotten. There are potential implications for safety and insurance when working from home – mundane, but important to consider.

When it comes to home insurance, some policies can restrict or exclude cover if your home is being used for business purposes. Similarly, your portable electronic equipment (ie laptops, phones, tablets) can be subject to limits. Another consideration is your car: does your car insurance policy include cover for business travel, or is it just the ‘social, domestic and pleasure’ category? All these need to be checked, reviewed and addressed to make sure you have the right cover should the worst happen; if you don’t then you could void your insurance and any claim would be rejected.

Then there’s safety to bear in mind. You might not be working in a ‘traditional’ office, but still need to make sure your workstation is adjustable to your own needs to prevent eye/back/wrist strain. If you are still employed, then your employer is likely to carry out a ‘Display Screen Equipment’ (DSE) workstation assessment if you are using screens.

Safety also encompasses that of your data. If you are starting out on your own, then ensuring your client information is kept secure is essential – it is the lifeblood of your business after all. Making sure you have good security procedures in place is incredibly important and doesn’t have to cost the earth. The National Cyber Security Centre has some useful, free, guidance; it’s not just about strong passwords.

Duncan Sutcliffe, director, Sutcliffe & Co, added: “The phrase ‘risk management’ can sound scary and intimidating, especially when you’re starting a new business and there’s already a lot to think about, but having a few things checked such as your cyber security and your insurance will save a lot of headaches in the future.”

Here are 8 top tips for working from home:

  1. Check your home insurance cover for ‘administration duties’ or items used for ‘business or professional services’ – if it doesn’t, then speak to your broker or insurer
  2. What about your contents cover? You’ll want accidental damage cover for portable computer equipment outside the home ie. If you’re working on a train or in a café
  3. Will you have clients or colleagues meeting in your home? If so, check your home insurance policy includes public liability cover
  4. Does your car insurance have ‘business use’ cover?
  5. Check your firewalls, passwords and general cyber ‘hygiene’ to help keep your data secure
  6. Are product samples used for work covered by either your own or your employer’s contents insurance?
  7. Will you be using/storing hazardous materials? Are they being stored safely? Does your insurer know about it? If not, speak with them or your broker
  8. If you are still employed, is the equipment you’re using appropriately covered by your employer’s insurance?

If you’re taking the plunge in 2020 but are not sure what insurance you might need to protect you while you’re starting a new business from home, then give our team a call on 01905 21681 or contact us for advice.