Working from Home Now? A Great Reason to Review
What we thought might be a month or two working from home continues to be extended with some businesses telling their employees to plan on working from home at least through the end of the year. The positive side is that businesses have determined that their employees can remain productive – maybe even more so – and they may be able to avoid the overhead of large office space. In other words, no one is rushing back to their cubicles.
With that in mind, we thought it was time to touch base on what changes this may have on your insurance needs. Let’s talk about the effect on your auto and home or renters, plus see if you may need to add some form of business insurance to keep yourself protected.
DOES WORKING FROM HOME CHANGE MY AUTO INSURANCE?
Your change in employment location can have an impact on your auto. When we thought this was short term it didn’t seem worth it, but now that we are 4 months in and no “back to normal” in sight for a lot of people, here are the things you will want to consider. You likely were rated for “commute” use if you were driving to an office every day and if you are the average commuter, your vehicle was probably listed with 10,000 to 12,000 miles annually. Since you don’t need your car to get to the office in your basement, your vehicle should be rated as pleasure use. We also doubt that you are putting on as many miles as you used to – that helps on oil changes, vehicle wear and tear, and your insurance. This may also be a great time to look at enrolling in your carriers Usage Based Insurance (UBI) program that uses telematics to monitor characteristics about your driving – the low mileage could help you qualify for a discount.
Keep in mind, if you drive your vehicle for work (construction, realtor, sales, etc.) you likely still need to keep business use on it even if you only have one or two locations to visit a week now. However, we can definitely update the annual mileage for you. Just remember, if that changes again in the future, you’ll want to let us know. We aren’t talking big dollars here, but if you want to keep a couple more in your pocket, give us a call and let us review your policy.
Finally, if your whole situation has changed and you are using your vehicle to drive for Uber or Lyft or have started making deliveries, please discuss this with your agent. Many companies will allow rideshare usage IF they are aware and the proper endorsement is added. Delivery; however, is not allowed on a personal auto policy. Your agent can discuss the options available.
SO WHAT IF MY OFFICE IS IN MY BASEMENT – WHY DOES INSURANCE CARE?
It seems easy enough, right? Set up a home office and continue working as you did before. Should that really matter to my home or renters insurance company or to me? There are several things to consider here. For many, you are still working for your employer and have simply changed the location where that work is completed. If you have no clients or co-workers at your home, no work-related deliveries, and all work is completed via computer or phone, it probably doesn’t change anything. However, let’s look at what could change your exposure.
Work-related people coming to your home means there is a chance they could be injured on your property. Your co-worker stops by to discuss an account and falls down the stairs or you have deliveries of your company product to your home and the delivery person trips on the crack in your front walk, these become business liability claims and are excluded from your personal homeowners policy.
For some, you have a large amount of business property in your home. This may be samples and product or it could be electronics needed to complete your work. The standard homeowners policy sets a limit for coverage on property used primarily for business and could be as low as $500 or $1000. Sure, that is probably plenty for a single laptop and accessories, but what if both you and your spouse have a home office set up? We may be able to cover the liability and increase your business property policy with an endorsement on your home policy so let’s talk about your specific needs.
I’M SELF EMPLOYED SO DO I NEED SOMETHING MORE?
The above work-from-home scenarios assume you are working for someone else. If, however, you are self-employed we should discuss the benefits of having a business owner policy (BOP) for your home-based business. A BOP provides general liability coverage as well as business property coverage for your computers, office furniture, inventory, etc. If your business is tech based or is responsible for safe-keeping clients’ personally identifiable information (names, social security numbers, bank accounts for payment), you may want to consider cyber liability. For professionals (like insurance agents, realtors, attorneys), you will need Errors & Omissions (E&O) coverage. If you have employees, you could be required to carry worker’s compensation.
There are a lot of things to consider and we are not trying to overwhelm anyone. In fact, our recommendation is the same for each of you who’s situation has recently changed. Let’s talk! Give your agent a call (303-232-3100), send an email or shoot us a text (720-619-2123) and let us make sure you are properly protected and not paying more than is needed. You’ll find your agent’s email address at www.insplace.com/contact/. We look forward to hearing from you!