Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, many companies and governments worldwide implemented work-from-home policies to help mitigate the public health crisis. Despite successfully flattening the curve nationwide, many workplaces everywhere are maintaining these remote work measures to prevent a second wave of COVID-19 in the fall.
The Royal Bank of Scotland recently informed its 50,000 employees to expect working from home until sometime next year. Amazon extended its work from home directive until January 2021. Fujitsu is going as far as instituting a permanent work-from-home policy. These announcements should not be surprising, since various studies have found that most people anticipate the work-at-home policy to continue in the foreseeable future.
Now that working from home is the norm, there is no shortage of questions about the insurance coverage for the arrangement. A common query among Canadian workers is this: am I covered by working from home insurance? Let’s explore the question.
Are you covered by insurance while working from home?
The short answer is: yes, you are probably still covered by insurance when working from home. However, it’s important to distinguish the type of insurance coverage that you will receive, since there are new restrictions. Whether you are employed by someone else, or you’re operating your business within your kitchen or basement, homeowners’ insurance is not the same as business insurance. The primary reason is that homeowners’ insurance is about protecting your personal property and personal activities within the space. Therefore, it’s unrelated to professional issues or work-related matters.
As soon as an item is intended for business use, then you will find restrictions on how homeowners’ insurance will deal with your losses. Your home insurance coverage may consist of limitations for the desktop computer you use to work. There may also be limitations on an expensive piece of equipment you use in both a personal and professional capacity. Some home items may be insurable, while others are not included by the coverage. As such, it is critical that you speak with your home insurance provider to understand what your risks are and what restrictions you may have.
What insurance do I need to work from home?
The silver lining is that your business insurance should cover any voids left by your homeowners’ insurance. As more Canadians become permanent full-time remote employees, you may find your corporate benefits extending. Therefore, you might receive insurance coverage for business property given to you while working from home. Although specific details vary, your business insurance coverage is comparable to an employee who attends a work conference in another city, and then faces a theft or an injury.
If you’re a freelancer, you shouldn’t expect your current home insurance plan to extend to your work-related equipment. Instead, freelancers may need to get separate liability insurance policies to protect the inventory in their home offices. Likewise, small business owners and entrepreneurs must understand the distinction between their home insurance and business insurance. Even though you might be working from home, treat the two insurance coverages as if they are separate.
Insurance and work from home trends
According to new Statistics Canada data, one-quarter of Canadian businesses expect to have at least 10% of their workforce to telecommute in the post-coronavirus economy. Previous data from the statistics agency found that nearly half of Canadian workers performed their professional functions at home when governments shut down the economy. In 2018, that figure was less than 10%.
These work from home trends all indicate that the new working arrangement is here to stay. In the future, working from home may become as ubiquitous as wearing a face mask. There are three insurance trends that companies should home focus on:
1. Cybersecurity insurance
Technology is a vulnerable sector when working from home, notably the protection of corporate data. Since personnel may not have similar high-functioning technology, the company could be at a higher risk of digital fraud or theft. A recent Chubb study showed that half of employees are unconcerned by this possibility. Yet, the rise in cyber attacks since the pandemic shows that extra precautions should be taken, especially for your insurance coverage.
2. Office supplies insurance
If remote work is permanent, then companies will need to furnish their teams with the necessary office supplies. This is especially true when it comes to the insurance aspect. Firms will need to adopt the proper protocols to satisfy the terms and conditions of insurance policies, whether it is installing new technology or ensuring employees adhere to the corporate playbook.
3. Additional insurance coverage
When working from home, taking extra precautions with your insurance coverage may be necessary. You should prepare insurance for business interruptions, such as fire or water damage that may force you to lose customers and money. In addition, you should obtain insurance coverage for important client accounts and valuable documentations in case they are destroyed or stolen.
Keep in mind that not every item will fall under your default insurance policy. Some businesses may encourage staff to secure their own additional insurance coverage, which can be written as a business expense come Tax Day. In the end, it is critical to speak with your manager and your insurance provider for more details. Learn what your risks are and what restrictions you might face with your working from home insurance.
As the work from home trends evolve, insurance policies will become more tailored to this new way of working. At Keller & Associates Insurance Brokers, our team is on the forefront of providing insurance options that fit your lifestyle seamlessly. Contact us and we’ll help you explore the best home insurance solutions for your needs.