HOME BUSINESS INSURANCE MADE SIMPLE

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1 HOME BUSINESS INSURANCE MADE SIMPLE Working with the profession to simplify the language of insurance

2 PRACTICAL HOME WORK For a growing number of people, working from home is an attractive option. It frees them from the daily commute, and can offer a better work-life balance. Many people have started successful businesses from home, too. Some of the world s largest and most successful companies started in someone s spare room. Working from home can offer a better work-life balance

3 Do I need to tell my home insurer if I work from home? In a word, yes. You must tell your home insurer, or you could find your policy isn t valid if you need to claim. If you re planning to work from home, talk to your insurer they probably don t need to change anything as long as you re not intending to invite business clients to your home. The number of home workers has grown from 2.9 million in 1998 to 4.2 million in 2014 Did you know? According to the latest figures from The Office for National Statistics, the number of homeworkers has grown from 2.9 million in 1998 to 4.2 million in 2014.* They now represent 13.9% of the workforce. *Source: ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lmac/characteristics-of-home-workers/2014 /sty-home-workers.html

4 What businesses does my home insurance cover? It depends on the type of policy you have, and the sort of work you will be doing. Most home insurers cover using the home for office work. In fact, you may even find your home insurance policy premium decreases, as being at home during the day can reduce the risk of theft. However, if your work involves more than office work, you ll need to arrange alternative cover. Maybe you re an accountant or beautician, with visiting clients, or a carpenter with a workshop at home. What cover does my home insurance include for working from home? Most insurers automatically include cover for a certain amount of business equipment in the home, but the level of protection can vary dramatically. Sums insured are often between 5,000 and 10,000, but can be as low as 3,000, or even less. Some policies don t state a specific amount, basing cover on a percentage of your home contents sum insured. Some include cover for business stock up to 2,500. So make sure you check your household policy for exactly what cover you have. Remember, the sum insured needs to be sufficient to replace all your business equipment with new items. If your work involves more than office work you ll need to arrange alternative cover

5 What is home business insurance? The cover your home insurance policy provides might not be enough for some kinds of work or business. Working from home can introduce a range of new risks, so consider these factors: Do you have business-related portable items such as tablets, mobile phones and laptops you take out of the home regularly? Do customers or suppliers visit you at home? Do you work at other people s premises, where you could cause injury or damage? Do you keep any stock at home that needs protecting while it s there or in transit? Do you supply any products that could cause injury or damage? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you should consider taking out a home business policy. Home business insurance covers your home in the same way a standard home insurance policy does, but with additional protection against the risks associated with running your business there. Tip: If you work at home, but for an employer, their insurance might cover any equipment they own, so make sure you re not doubling up on insurance unnecessarily. Your business equipment is covered if it is lost, damaged or destroyed by one of the events listed in your policy such as fire, storm, flood, burst pipes or theft. Accidental damage cover is not always included automatically so if you want cover in case you trip and drop a laptop for example, talk to your insurer about extending your policy for an additional premium. Does your work involve giving professional advice, where you can be held responsible for effects that advice has? Do you keep any of your business money on the premises? Will your business income be affected if your home is damaged or destroyed?

6 What additional cover does a home business policy provide? A home business policy can cover many things that aren t included in a home insurance policy, including: Business contents higher limits than with a standard home insurance policy up to 75,000 with some policies for business equipment and stock you keep at home. Portable business equipment for when you need to take equipment such as laptops or surveying equipment, outside the home. A limit of up to 1,500 will apply, and cover is often worldwide. Business money if your customers pay you in cash, you re covered when you go to the bank, for up to 1,000 kept in a safe at home, and up to 500 if it s not kept in a safe. If your customers pay you in cash, you re covered for up to 1,000 kept in a safe at home Business interruption this protects you against any periods when you can t do business as normal because of an event that damages property at your home. It covers any resulting shortfall in income, and any increased costs of running the business, such as renting alternative premises. Some policies will also cover other events that disrupt your business, such as damage at the premises of a supplier or customer. A limit of 50,000 usually applies.

7 Employers liability if you employ staff, you probably need employers liability insurance. If an employee is injured at work or becomes ill as a result of the work they do for you and it is your fault, they can seek compensation for this, plus the legal fees involved in claiming. This could happen, for example, if an employee trips on loose stair carpet in your home, injuring their back. Employers liability insurance makes sure the money is available to settle such claims. Did you know? If you employ people, you must have employers liability insurance, or you could receive a hefty fine. By law, your insurance must cover at least 5 million but, in practice, most policies offer 10 million. Only a few businesses are not legally required to have employers liability insurance, such as family businesses where the owner and employees are close family members. If you re not sure, check the Health and Safety Executive website: hse.gov.uk/simple-health-safety/get.htm. Public liability this covers the cost of compensation to third-parties for death, injury or damage to their property as a result of your business activities and where you are at fault in some way. This could happen, for example, if a visitor to your home slips on a wet floor and breaks an arm or you re at a trade show and your stand falls over and injures someone. A third-party is anyone outside your company that it has contact with including, for example, people visiting your home, watching activities you have organised, and even passers-by. A limit of 2 million usually applies, although higher limits are available for an additional premium. Products liability to cover the cost of compensation to anyone who is injured, or whose property is damaged, because of a fault in a product you design, manufacture or supply such as a badly cooked pie that gives a customer food poisoning. Cover is only for the compensation amount and associated legal costs it doesn t include the cost of replacing the defective product itself. Professional indemnity insurance professionals, such as solicitors or accountants, need this cover. In fact, your industry regulator might insist you have professional indemnity cover. It protects you against claims from clients for injury or loss if you don t carry out your professional duties in a proper manner. For example, an investment consultant may give incorrect advice, causing their client financial losses. Legal expenses designed to cover the costs of legal advice and representation if you make a claim against someone else, or if someone sues you. For example, in a contractual dispute with a customer. It includes solicitors, barristers, accountants and expert witnesses fees, plus court costs and opponents costs. Most policies also include access to a 24-hour helpline for free advice. Not all insurers provide these covers automatically, so check the summary of cover before you buy, and make sure it meets your needs.

8 What other options are available? Home insurance and home business policies offer set cover and sum insured/limits, although there may be limited flexibility to amend cover to your requirements. If you want to tailor your cover to your specific business, look into arranging standalone business cover. This can be complicated, so it might be worth using an intermediary, such as a broker, to help you find the policy that best matches your needs. Insurance Broker If you want to tailor your cover to your specific business, use an intermediary

9 How to buy the best policy You can buy cover direct from an insurer, or through an intermediary such as a broker, consultant, bank or building society. Or you can use internet comparison websites to shop around. Don t buy a policy based solely on price. While it's tempting to go for the cheapest policy, it may prove costly when you come to claim. Choose a policy that offers good value, but provides the cover you need. You can reduce your premium by negotiating your excess (the amount you agree to pay towards any claim). The higher the excess, the lower your premium. But don t just raise the excess to lower your premiums. Work out a sensible balance. Always check the policy small print to see exactly what is and isn t covered, and get an idea of whether your policy is good value for money. Things to consider if you work from home: Some mortgage and rental agreements place restrictions on working at, or running businesses from, home. Check your contracts to make sure you re not breaching their terms. If you use your vehicle for work, make sure it s covered for business use. Some customers might insist on you having cover such as public liability and professional indemnity before they ll do business with you. Always check your client s requirements before starting a contract. If you ve extended or altered your home to accommodate your business, make sure you allow for this when calculating your buildings sum insured.

10 Remember if you have any questions about home business insurance, just ask me, Ciindy /AskCiindy

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