Be adequately ensured to work from home
As working from home looks set to continue, one needs to take the time to review their portable work devices and ensure that they are adequately insured from theft or unforeseen damage.
The awareness around the need for insurance, both in one’s professional and personal capacity has increased tenfold since the onset of the pandemic. Having insurance cover for your assets provides peace of mind that your valuables are well covered to face the worst when unforeseen circumstances happen.
Elizabeth Mountjoy, private wealth manager for FNB Insurance Brokers says, “As many employees continue to work remotely, it’s important to monitor how this trend will affect your insurance cover for various household and work assets or contents. The line between personal and business insurance is starting to blur. Working from home not only touches on the exposure of your work devices or gadgets, but it also equally impacts your home contents that might be in use more frequently than the norm or taken out to public places such as restaurants for quick meetings.
It is important to understand your insurance contracts and claim parameters. Every policy sets out your obligations in the event of a claim. This includes the circumstance within which a claim must be reported to the police and your insurer or broker, what information you must provide to your insurer, as well as the time frame within which to dispute the outcome of a claim.”
Below are key insurance points that you need to consider, to ensure that your home workplace is adequately covered:
- Ask your employer about your work device’s insurance cover – Many employees who use laptops that are owned by their employers aren’t sure if their devices are covered, whether inside their homes or when they are out and about. If you are financially liable to replace a work device, you should insure the device on your policy and advise your broker or insurer of the situation and note the interest of your company. Ask your employer what the company policy is and make the necessary changes to your policy to ensure that there is no financial impact to you. Unfortunately, most personal policies will not cover the excess that you might be liable for in the event of a claim on your company policy.
- Read through your ‘all risk’ cover– Take the time to check your ‘all risk’ cover to ensure that all your devices such as cameras, cellphones and tech gadgets are insured, in case they are stolen, lost or damaged. It is important to remember that unless your items are specifically noted on the policy, they will NOT be covered outside of your home. This means that if an incident happens in your yard, depending on your policy wording, could potentially mean no cover. Other items such as laptops would be covered for theft if stolen from your home under the contents section, but accidental damage could be excluded unless specifically insured.
- Check your policy to see what cover is provided in the event of a power surge/accidental damage – With the return of frequent load-shedding while working from home, the chances of leaving your home to work from a coffee shop for an hour or two and returning home to appliances and devices damaged is likely. You should contact your insurer or broker who will be able to advise what sections of cover to add or increase the limit to your policy to have reasonable coverage. Most insurers offer power surge cover up to a certain limit under the household section which may not be adequate if you have expensive electronic items. Being at home also reduces the risk of burglaries or theft, but accidental damage to items could be more frequent. Check with your broker or insurer if you have cover for this and the limits and exclusions.
- Read and understand your policy fine print– Don’t forget to double check on any exclusions that may have been applied to your policy, for example, some insurers apply a safe clause endorsement for specified items such as rings or necklaces and will not cover theft of jewellery from the home unless it is kept locked in a safe whilst not being worn. This may be applied even if your home is occupied.
- Get your household contents inventory in check– For your household contents – go through each room thoroughly and note all of your belongings, creating a checklist with a full current replacement value for each item, think of the worst-case scenario if you had to replace everything, you want to ensure that you have the correct cover to be able to do this.
“Being underinsured is a common issue for claims on buildings and contents, and a policy holder is often unaware until it’s too late. Our role as brokers is to bring about peace of mind by working with the information provided by the client to ensure that the risks one is insured for, and the level of associated cover, are appropriate for their needs,” concludes Mountjoy.