Millions of workers forced to work where they live may find their home and contents insurance no longer covers them from next week.
Currently, the Association of British Insurers, a trade body, states: “If you are an office-based worker and are working from home as a result of the pandemic, your home insurance cover will not be affected. You do not need to contact your insurer to update your documents or extend your cover.”
However, the ABI will review this guidance on Sept 1, which may leave homeworkers unprotected as some homes and contents policies are designed only for “home or domestic use” and not for work.
Jimmy Williams, of insurer Urban Jungle, advised those working from home to make sure their home and contents policies cover them.
“Some insurers aren’t being very flexible and are insisting that domestic policies don’t cover incidents if people are working from home or if they are running a business. So, if you spill tea on your laptop while writing a work email, they might say you’re not covered.
“If you are doing clerical work, mostly working on a computer, then your home insurance usually covers that. But if you run a business out of your home that is public-facing then that’s probably different. Also, online sellers won’t be able to claim for stock which is damaged, lost or stolen,” said Mr Williams.
When lockdown was in place, it was harder for insurers to draw a distinction between the office and home. But now that the government guidance is different, it is easier for them to do so, he added.
Home working became the norm this year, with figures from the Office for National Statistics showing nearly half of Britain’s 32 million strong labour force worked from home during lockdown.
Official government guidance now states: “If your workplace is open, you can return to work but your employer must make arrangements for you to work safely.”