Insuring your Home Business

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Thanks to technology and a drive to achieve greater flexibility, working from home is becoming more and more popular in Australia. Many professionals will attest to the fact that working from home has all sorts of advantages. But don’t be fooled – working from home doesn’t give you or your business a free pass when it comes to insurance. In fact, here are some things to consider about working from home that will impact your insurance requirements. Don’t stress, your Omnisure broker will walk you through everything that he/she will require in order to arrange you the right cover.

working from home omnisure
Home or office?

We’re stating the obvious here, but once you start working from home, your home becomes a place of business. This recognition can impact any existing home building and contents insurance you have in place.

For this reason it is important that you let your Omnisure insurance broker know that you do work from home, and in what capacity. This is because for some policies, ‘tools of the trade’ (for example your desktop computer or any other equipment you need) may need to be additionally covered.

It is important to note that standard home and contents policies usually won’t cover any stock you have stored in the spare room or garage!

“You need to think about every aspect of what your business does…including whether you have products or equipment on site which, if they are damaged or destroyed or stolen, could affect the operation of the business.”

– John Clark, Broker Support Manager for the Steadfast Group

Other insurances.

There are various types of insurance policies that are recommended for any business. When you work from home some additional factors which will impact the type(s) of insurances you may require include: do you employ staff? Do you have customers or suppliers coming into your home? Do you use your vehicle for work purposes?

One common insurance for home-based businesses (which is often overlooked when business owners don’t utilise an Omnisure broker) is public liability. If any staff, suppliers or customers ever visit your home, then this is something you need. The more visitors you have, the more chance you have of something going wrong. Therefore the higher the estimated number of visitors to your home, the higher the premium you can expect to pay.

Working from home doesn’t mean you’re exempt from providing workers’ compensation to your staff either. It is mandatory, regardless of where you or your employees work.

Also, if you’re a professional who provides advice or a service, you should have professional indemnity insurance. It doesn’t matter whether the advice/service you provide is via a laptop from the living room couch in your pyjamas, or face to face in a boardroom. You need it, regardless.

Knowing exactly what insurances you need is complex and can be overwhelming. The reality is, you need to do a risk assessment to determine what policies are appropriate for you. But don’t worry – if you use an Omnisure broker you will be professionally advised and guided throughout the entire process.

home baking omnisure

Practical examples of working from home.

1. Hugh works from home on a computer as a marketing consultant.

Hugh never leaves home, doesn’t have any products stored at home, nor does he have clients visiting him at home. For Hugh, home and contents insurance and professional indemnity insurance may be all he needs.

2. Sally sells cakes which she has baked from her home kitchen.

Ontop of requiring home and contents insurance just as Hugh did, if Sally has a customer which comes to her kitchen to collect a cake and accidentally falls over and injures themselves, she may be liable. If the reason for the fall involved the house, for example a loose tile, it may fall under Sally’s existing home and contents insurance policy. However if the customer slipped on a banana peel, the cause could be determined as resulting from Sally’s business, in which case the insurer handling her business liability will provide cover.

Although there is no legal requirement for Sally to insure her oven, kichenaid and other cooking equipment, she should probably consider it, depending on what would happen to her income if her oven died mid triple-tiered wedding cake due tomorrow situation!

3. Dorothy has an eBay business, selling $20,000 worth of pet jumpers stored in her home office.

If Dorothy’s stock disappeared or was destroyed as a result of, say, burglary or a house fire, the business could suffer a terminal blow.

“It does make sense to consult an insurance broker in situations like these. They have the knowledge and tools to assess what you need to do in terms of the house and any stock stored in it, the car and the business. They can also help you through the process of getting the cover you need.” – says Clark.

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Where to from here?

If you currently work from home, are considering running your business from home, or would like to review and update your existing cover, an Omnisure insurance broker can provide the advice you need and put the cover in place for you. Simple give us a call on (02) 9959 2900, email, or contact us here.