Does Home Insurance Cover Work Meetings In My House?
Caeva O'Callaghan | May 18th, 2021
More people than ever are working from home. But if you hold meetings and host colleagues in a work capacity, does that mean you’ll be liable?
No. If a meeting for work is held in your home, your colleagues and their property would be covered by your employers’ insurance policy.
Having a work meeting in your home will not mean you will be liable if any unfortunate event should occur.
In this article, we’ll answer the following questions:
- Do I need extra insurance if I work from home?
- Does my home insurance cover work equipment?
- What does my employers’ insurance policy cover?
Your employers’ insurance policy should cover work colleagues and their belongings if they come to harm while present in your home for work reasons.
Do I need extra insurance if I work from home?
Not necessarily. When the coronavirus pandemic hit Ireland in the first quarter of 2020, many people were furloughed or asked to work from home. Offices, factories and other workplaces make perfect breeding grounds for the virus, but after the initial shutdown, many businesses have been able to adapt and reopen.
For example, staff of essential shops and supermarkets now serve from behind screens, social distancing measures have been put in place, and hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes may be available at the entrance to wipe down trolley handles and baskets.
But for office environments, these measures are tricky to put in place. People need to mingle and meet. Space is at a premium, and offices contain hazards that homes do not – and this is why more people are working from home.
However, this doesn’t mean that, from an insurance standpoint, anything has changed in your home. During a normal workday, you aren’t necessarily likely to take any risks you wouldn’t do on a day off, so your home insurance would stay the same.
Even if you host meetings in your home, from your insurer’s point of view this is no different than having a few guests over.
Does my home insurance cover work equipment?
No. If you or anyone who attends your meeting brings a work laptop, or any other equipment or materials provided by your employer, your employer’s business insurance will protect them against harm. They will not be covered by your home insurance, and you need to contact your employer directly if a work laptop is damaged.
Any work equipment provided by an employer and given to you for the explicit purpose of enabling you to work from home belongs to your employer. This means it’s not your responsibility to insure the item: in other words, you have no insurable interest in the laptop.
If someone steals the laptop from your home or your car during a meeting and your employer has no insurance, it’s their fault. They’ve lost money, and unless you were negligent with the laptop they probably can’t make you pay for it. Negligence means you failed to act in a way any reasonable person should to ensure the equipment stayed in good condition.
If the laptop is lost or stolen, you should inform your employer as soon as possible – not just to get a new one, but to inform them of a possible data leak. Your employer may also need to make a claim on their cyber insurance to prevent customer, client and staff data being targeted by hackers.
What does my employers’ insurance policy cover?
Your employer should have the necessary insurance in place to protect their employees, equipment and any other property both during and outside of work occasions. If you hold meetings in your house for work purposes, your employer’s insurance will cover anything bad that happens as a direct result of the meeting taking place.
If, however, you’re having a few colleagues over for a barbecue, this would not constitute a work occasion. It would be a social occasion – and your employer would likely give you a hard stare if someone suffered an injury and you tried to get the company to pay for it.
If you are self-employed, you may need your own business insurance. As with most things, it’s better to be safe than sorry. However, the vast majority of home businesses fall into the “safe” category – if you stay at your kitchen table with a laptop, and only move for the occasional coffee, your home insurance will be fine. If you have a study or a home office, the risk of fire, flood or any other damage is no higher.
But if you are meeting members of the public at home as part of your work – as a counsellor or consultant, for example – then you need comprehensive business insurance to protect them as well as you and your property.
If you have any home insurance questions, pick up the phone and talk to us today
If you’re confused as to where your work obligations leave you with regards to home insurance, give us a call and we can clear things up for you.