Working from home is becoming much more commonplace than it was even just five years ago. Many employers recognize that with improved technology there is no need for employees to make the journey into work every day if they can be just as productive (or more so) from home. Similarly, many employees find working from home an attractive option because it allows them to be more flexible in meeting their family commitments.
Other people work from home because they have either chosen to be self-employed and have generated their own business from scratch or because they have been made redundant or have been unable to find work and are cobbling together an income from piecemeal work, usually through internet-based businesses.
Whatever the reason, if you’re working from home then you need to check that you are covered by suitable business insurance from AXA. So either ask your employer to check their business insurance policies to make sure that you are covered when working at home (because if something happens that your employers aren’t insured for, the business could have to be wound up and you’d lose your job), or check your own insurance policies to make sure that you are protected.
If you are self-employed, there are many different types of business insurance and which one(s) you need depend on the nature of your business and your working practices. If you come into contact with customers then make sure you have adequate public liability insurance in place. This will protect you against the cost of legal fees and compensation awards made if a customer or member of the public sues you for personal injury or damage to property.
If you have any employees then it is vital that you have employers’ liability insurance because if you don’t then you could face criminal prosecution and a fine (calculated on a ‘per-day’ basis for each day that you were without insurance when you should have had it) and even imprisonment. Employers’ liability insurance will cover your legal costs and the costs of any compensation awarded if your employee is injured at work or claims that you have discriminated against them or unfairly dismissed them.
If you give professional advice then you should have professional indemnity insurance to protect you in case a client claims that you have given negligent advice that has caused them to suffer a loss.
You must also check your house insurance (buildings and contents) and make sure that your insurers know that you use your home for work. If you don’t disclose that information then your entire house insurance policy could be invalid, because your insurers would say that had they known of the extra risk involved (by you working at home) then your premiums would have been higher and your insurance would have been on different terms. Working at home makes you more at risk of having to claim against your home insurance because of the increased risk of burglary (if you have additional office equipment) and fire.
Ultimately, if you don’t get the business insurance you need, then if you are ever sued you will have to pay your legal fees at the very least (and these can quickly become unaffordable). If you can’t afford to defend yourself then you reduce your prospects of success in the case. If you can’t afford to offer a settlement out of court then the matter is likely to go to a final hearing, meaning more costs and more time off work. If you lose your case, then you’d have to pay whatever compensation was awarded by the court.
If you don’t have business insurance then any money like this that you have to pay out will have to come from your business’s assets, or your personal assets. That could mean losing your business and/or your home.