Q. I am a self-employed artist who works from home, and I can’t understand why five separate insurance companies have refused to provide cover for my building and contents. They seem to be suggesting that my occupation is the issue.
Mrs S Ault, Derby
A. While it’s common knowledge that your occupation can affect the cost of your car insurance premium, many people aren’t aware that it affects home cover too.
If you have an occupation that is considered non-standard, you could face a higher bill, or in some cases may struggle to find home insurance at all.
And if you work from home, either part time or full time, you may find that you don’t get the cover you need, or that insurers won’t cover you because of the type of work you do.
Home insurance: will my job affect my premium?
If an insurer thinks your property will be vacant for extended periods – for example if you work night shifts or are in the military – you may struggle to get a quote.
And, as you’ve found, this can also be the case for people who work from home on a full-time basis.
It’s not just your job as an artist – a range of professions can be affected, from childminders and music tutors to self-employed beauticians who conduct treatments at home.
Why are insurers refusing to offer me cover?
Malcolm Tarling from the Association of British Insurers told Which? that insurers could be more reluctant to offer cover for people who work from home on a standard policy for a number of reasons:
- There may be more valuable items in their home (this could particularly affect you as a self-employed artist)
- There’s a greater risk of accidental damage
- You’re more likely to be a victim of theft
- Client liability has to be taken in to account (for example if a customer visits your home and injures themselves)
The British Insurance Brokers’ Association told us: ‘Standard home insurance policies may offer some basic levels of cover for occasional working from home, but if your home is your permanent place of work or you have valuable equipment, you’ll need a specific working-from-home policy’.
While you might still be able to find a deal, a combination of working from home and other external issues, such as living in an area with high crime rates or an increased chance of flooding, could seriously impede your chances of getting cover.
Is there an insurance policy available for home workers?
The good news is that there are policies out there that will cover you if you work from home but stop short of being a full commercial insurance policy, the likes of which would be taken out on business premises.
For example, Direct Line told us that it offers a ‘Home Business Insurance’ policy, which includes cover for stock, equipment and any loss of income as part of the standard package. This includes public liability cover (not only at your home but also those of your clients, and at exhibitions and trade fairs), cover for business contents and cover for loss of income if your business is interrupted by say, theft or a fire.
How to find a good deal on home insurance
While price comparison sites are useful to find cheap insurance deals, you might find it easier to go through a broker to get the best deal. Comparison sites do ask you if you use your premises for work purposes, but that may result in policies that don’t give you the cover at the levels you need.
As a starting point, you can check out our tables of the best and worst home insurers. We’ve rated the contents and buildings insurance policies of 31 providers on their customer service and value for money, before naming the best as our Which? Recommended Providers.
It’s worth visiting the British Insurance Brokers’ Association, to find a broker that can help you find a policy for your needs.