Tens of millions of British people are risking invalidating their home insurance if they continue to work from home. As of the 1st August 2020 the UK government started to ease the Covid-19 lockdown encouraging people to return to their workplace. Yet, 26% of people are planning to continue working from the safety of their homes on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. It’s said that seven in ten people are unaware that they may need to inform their home insurance provider of changes in their circumstances.

With over half of customers stating that they have received little to no communication from their insurer. It is understandable why there is confusion about how these changes could impact them.

Association of British Insurers

Due to the lockdown the Association of British Insurers (ABI) stated that; “customers would not need to inform their insurer if they work from home while government advice is to do so”. With the government encouraging people to return to work it is unclear if this statement will change. According to the ABI the pledge will evaluated on September 1st. Until then, home insurance “will not be affected regardless of the government’s advice to return to work”. They are also advising customers to inform their insurer as soon as possible if they are continuing to work from home.

ABI also declared “If you will be receiving visitors to your home on business matters, you should check with your insurer. Business equipment used is likely not to be covered. However, in most cases the employer would be liable for ensuring their equipment is insured away from the office.”

Urban Jungle CEO, Jimmy Williams has suggested that the inflexibility from some insurers may push customers to consider switching providers. Williams says “What insurers are arguing is that it will change your risks because you might spill more tea on your laptop”

What Insurers are doing?

A spokesperson for the Direct Line Group told The Independent “Customers are covered under their home insurance policy to work from home, as long as their work is of a clerical nature, such as using a phone or laptop. Customers do not need to notify us of this change in working pattern.” Yet if the individuals working from home role is not clerical in nature their insurer should be informed and any necessary changes are made.

Aviva have agreed to “help customers and businesses since lockdown began, we also treat home office equipment as ‘contents’ and would pay up to the contents sum insured for any valid claim. All other policy conditions/terms remain unchanged.” Aviva’s policy remains unchanged after August 1st ease.

Working From Home

Finder.com has found that they have been a 57% increase to people claiming for accidental damage during the Covid-19 pandemic. The changes to customer behavior may become a challenge for the insurance industry. Mr. Williams stated There have been some interesting changes in behavior. One such change is the one of the top claims now being “I’ve spilt tea on my laptop”.

He notes that if your business runs out of your home or sell things online, your stock would not be covered, requiring you to have specialist policy.

Working from home is not without its grey areas. Many companies are offering ‘work-from-home kits’ however these belong to your employer, not you. This may mean that it is not covered by your home insurance. There for these kits are your employer’s responsibility and they are providing them at their own risk.

Our Response

Public Loss Adjusters always recommend that if you have any change in circumstances contact your insurer immediately to let them know. Even if your insurer does not acknowledge these changes at the time, you will be able to prove that these have been communicated with them.

Full article can be found at here.