Know if your work needs additional coverage
Many of us are new to working from home, but the concept is not new. Changes in workplace culture and technological advances have increased the popularity of telecommuting in recent years. But whether you are working from home until the current COVID-19 situation is over or as a long-term arrangement with your employer, think about your insurance.
Can telecommuting affect your insurance needs? Do you need a different type of home insurance coverage? Here are some points to find out the answers.
Talk with your agent
More often than not, a standard homeowners insurance policy is adequate to keep a telecommuter well-covered. This is because insurance is all about protecting against potential loss, and there’s simply not much risk involved with someone working on their couch. Having said that, there are special cases that present uncommon risks, which is why it’s advisable to check with your insurance agent, who knows what questions to ask to uncover any unexpected risks. Luckily, this type of insurance review can take place entirely over the phone.
Visitors equal risk
Under the current stay-at-home orders, you probably don’t receive visitors. But to understand your risk for when the situation changes, here is the bottom line: If clients or coworkers ever visit your home, you are taking a risk that might not be covered. Whether you’re a piano teacher inviting students into your home studio or a CPA chatting with clients at your home office, your insurance agent will need to know about it and adjust your coverage accordingly.
Once again, this may not be a concern now, with people teleconferencing, but you should be sure you’re covered before restrictions loosen. Many homeowners policies have specific language excluding injuries caused to others while doing work-related activities, so if a client or visiting coworker is hurt at your home, you may have to pay damages out-of-pocket.
When you need commercial insurance
There are so many unique situations that require additional coverage — too many to list. Some even necessitate the purchase of a commercial insurance policy, totally separate from your homeowners policy. For example, if you have an attached garage that you use for business, it’s likely covered by your current homeowners policy, or at least could be covered by an endorsement (coverage added to an existing policy). But if your garage is freestanding, you may need a dedicated commercial insurance property policy. Insurance agents also will need to know whether you’re the business owner or you work for someone else to determine your insurance coverage.
Read more about when you might need commercial coverage for your home-based business.
What about worker’s comp?
Worker’s compensation is mandatory insurance in Washington that is purchased by an employer through the state to cover their business and their employees in case an on-the-job injury should occur. Which leads to the question: Does worker’s comp extend to job-related injuries that occur while working from home? The short answer is yes; injuries that are caused directly by work-related activities should be covered, regardless of the location. But the definition of “work-related” is squishy, and you’ll have to prove that the injury occurred while doing work.
If you are unsure whether you need additional insurance while you work from home, talk with your agent today. AAA Washington Insurance agents are happy to review your insurance and answer your questions.
AAA Washington Insurance agents are here to help. Whether you’re ready to buy, need an insurance review or simply have questions, we’re your one-stop shop. Call (877) 222-4678 for a free, no-obligation consultation. Find an agent now.