I have a home office. Am I covered under my homeowner policy?
Today, companies are offering employees greater and greater access to telecommuting; which means that the number of home-based businesses is growing. According to a survey conducted by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, 40% of people who work from home mistakenly thought that their homeowner policy or their employers’ insurance policy would provide coverage for their home-based business if they needed it. In reality, the typical homeowner insurance policy provides zero coverage for business-related claims.
Think about what you have invested in your home office. You probably have a computer or laptop, printer, desk, phones, scanner and other expensive office equipment. A homeowner policy will typically limit the amount of coverage it offers for this type of “office” equipment. A homeowner policy will not cover business liability, loss or damage due to cyber-crime, loss or damage of business records and it will not cover damages caused by business interruption. If you receive deliveries for your business at your home and the deliveryman slips and falls on your property, chances are your homeowner policy will not cover the claim. And what about the inventory you store in your garage? Nope! No coverage for that either. Unless you have home business insurance coverage, you will probably be paying for any loss out of your own pocket!
To protect yourself, your home and your business, consider purchasing insurance for your home office. You can do that in several ways:
Homeowner endorsement – Some companies offer home office insurance as an endorsement to your homeowner policy. These endorsements are normally quite inexpensive and will increase the amount of coverage you have for office equipment and may cover you for certain types of losses related to your business such as loss of records or data. Only certain types of businesses can be covered under this endorsement, so check with your insurance carrier for more information and to see if it is available for your type of business.
Separate business insurance policies – You can purchase separate business insurance policies for the coverage that you need. Business property coverage can be purchased to cover your equipment and inventory, and liability coverage can be purchased if you have frequent business visitors to your home such as delivery people, couriers or clients.
Business Owners Policy (BOP) – This is a package that combines your property coverage and your liability coverage in a single policy. These policies typically offer coverage for business property, loss of data, loss of business income and general business liability. This is the perfect solution for a small business and is usually very affordable.
If you operate a home based business or office, avoid any nasty surprises in the event of a claim and obtain adequate insurance coverage to protect you, your home and your business.