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February 21, 2021

Insurance Tips for the Remote Workforce

Summary:

Ask your HR team how you’re covered if you experience a work-related issue at home. Start with four questions.

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First, create a list of questions to ask your HR team.

Before you set up your new work-from-home space or even if you’ve already left the office to go remote, circle back with your HR team to understand how you’re covered if you experience a work-related issue at home. Start with these questions:

  • May I take my work equipment with me? If so, what is covered in case of an accident?
  • What happens if I get injured during my time working from home? 
  • Am I covered through my work?
  • If so, how do I file a claim?

Start to separate business equipment from your personal electronics.

Typically, headsets, desktops and screens that are owned by your company would not fall under your homeowners insurance — even if you’re working remotely. However, if you’re doing work on a personal computer for business use and have a theft or loss, there may be limits on personal property coverage.

Enroll in a comprehensive homeowners insurance plan.

Most Americans are required to purchase home insurance with their mortgage, but the home office coverage limit may not cover the range of equipment you’re bringing home from your employer. If you’re going remote, understand what items your company owns and what is a personal item being used for business. Do an inventory of personal items like laptops, monitors, printers and voice headsets to make sure your coverage limit lines up with what your stuff is worth. We’ve found that video logs work great for this.

Or, do a thorough review of your existing homeowners policy.

When you go remote, the occupancy of your home may shift drastically from 30% of your time to 100%. And, during the day, you’re up and moving around, while at night you’re usually asleep. The increase in activity could increase the probability of a claim in your home, especially if you’ve got kids home from school. 

See also: Does Remote Work Halt Innovation?

Request an increase in your personal home office limit (if you need it).

The average homeowners policy in the U.S. has a $2,000 limit for home office equipment. As more people have office setups at home, homeowners can request higher limits, if necessary.

  • Storage of business inventory could increase your personal limits. If you’re unable to make it into the office and must begin storing your company’s products or materials at your home, then speak to your company first or call your homeowners insurance company to make sure you’re covered before you take on the responsibility of business inventory. 
  • Increases in foot traffic could boost your personal limits. If you’re going to be remote for an extended period and are thinking about bringing clients to your home, then you’re assuming liability for those guests as they come onto your property. Check with your insurance company to make sure you’re covered appropriately.  

If remote working turns into a permanent thing.

Home-based businesses usually require more coverage than standard personal limits. If you decide to stay remote, check with your homeowners insurance company on what coverage limits it offers and ask for endorsements. 

Remember, adapting to a new work environment takes time.

If you’re already thinking about your insurance coverages, then you’re ahead of the game. But be sure you’ve set up your new working environment in a safe way. Think through the different scenarios that could lead to physical harm or injury, like loose electrical cords or leaving the stove on when you have the ability to cook lunch instead of buying it. New environments take some time to get used to.

See also: Navigating Security in the Remote Paradigm

Finally, know your home’s limits.

Energy costs may go up when your family members are home during a time of day when your home is usually at its lowest point of energy consumption. Try offsetting the drawing of power and energy throughout the entire day with some energy saving devices and LED lights.

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About the Author

Steve Wilson is the senior manager of underwriting at Hippo Insurance, an insurtech company that’s reimagining home insurance through the lens of homeowners — building policies with more comprehensive coverage for today’s consumers at up to 25% less than competitors.

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