As employees gather laptops, phones and screens to use for remote and home working, the ABI issues guidance on how this should be treated under home insurance policies

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, the government has decreed that all employees should work from home unless it is impossible for them to do so – this is to quell the wide-ranging spread of the virus.

Businesses across the country, including insurers and brokers, have actioned this guidance promptly, undertaking the vast operational challenge of ensuring employees can work efficiently and effectively from home, whether it’s a few colleagues from an SME, or thousands of staff working for large national firms.

Although this undoubtedly means providing access to necessary servers, systems and software, it also means kitting out staff with laptops, additional screens, telephones and any other physical tech and hardware that may be deemed essential for performing day-to-day duties remotely.

But, with all this extra work-related technology now being stored in employees’ homes rather than their office, does this impact on their home or contents insurance at all? Or does responsibility still fall with the employer?

To clarify this conundrum, the ABI has issued guidance for its travel, motor and home insurance members, calling upon firms to support those who are now required to work from home. The trade association said that home insurance coverage will not be affected by having these additional work-related items stored at home and that policyholders do not need to update their documents or extend their cover.

Kate Devine, home insurance spokesperson at MoneySuperMarket, explained: “The good news is that the ABI has put plans in place to protect those who have home and car insurance during the coronavirus pandemic.

“As the government has advised that everyone must now stay at home, those who are clerical office workers will see no impact to their home insurance cover.

“If you are a clerical office worker, you do not need to contact your insurer to update your documents or extend your cover. In other words, you’re protected as long as you have home insurance in place.

“If you do not have building or contents insurance it could be worth shopping around for a policy, especially one that covers accidental damage, as there is a correlation between time at home and the need to claim. This can be particularly good if you have children staying at home.”

Employer responsibility

The main responsibility for ensuring devices and technology used for work are insured at employees’ homes, therefore, lies with business owners.

“If your employer has provided you with a laptop or any business equipment, they are responsible for insuring these away from the office. Any claims will need to be submitted through your employer’s insurer,” Devine confirmed.

John Bibby, chief executive at Ceta Insurance, added that organisations should be insuring equipment for clerical business, while any other businesses that are run from the home should be insured separately.

Last month, charity-owned insurer Ecclesiastical announced new cover enhancements to help support business owners during the coronavirus threat; this includes covering contents temporarily removed to the homes of employees due to the Covid-19 outbreak up to a limit of £2,500 for any one item, or a maximum of £5,000 for any one employee’s home.

For policyholders that do not already have cover for contents at employees’ homes, their policies will be extended to include this. For Ecclesiastical’s education insurance policies, the extension will also cover pupils’ and students’ homes.

Adrian Saunders, commercial director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “Ecclesiastical is proudly backing the ABI’s pledge to support those who are working from home.

“This is an unsettling and challenging time for many families and businesses and we want to support those who are affected by the impact of Covid-19 by reassuring them their insurance will still cover them working from home.

“Our home insurance policies will pay out, within policy limits, if work laptops, phones and other standard technology usually stored at the office and now within their homes are stolen or damaged.”

The firm has also implemented new standards for businesses that have had to close due to government advice around coronavirus – now, its typical unoccupied premises cover restrictions will not apply to temporarily closed premises, meaning that excesses and premiums will not increase and coverage will not decrease.

Broker support

Although policyholders are receiving extra support from their insurers during these unusual circumstances, are insurance firms also offering flexibility to their broker partners?

Ceta Insurance, for example, is striving to help smaller brokers who have had to close their offices or pause business operations because of the coronavirus risk.

In March, the firm opened up a section of its call centre to offer a specialist home insurance referral service – this can place quotes and referrals on brokers’ behalf, without impacting the brokers’ earnings.

“It’s great under such difficult circumstances to see how everyone’s pulling together across the industry and we just wanted to do what we could to try and support smaller operations, to protect their revenue where possible by providing an extra pair of hands,” Bibby explained.


The ABI’s motor and home insurer members are adhering to the following guidance:

1. Support those who need to make a claim. Insurers have implemented business continuity plans and work closely with service providers to do everything possible in these challenging circumstances to continue to handle claims and support their customers. There will be many customers who will need additional support and insurers will prioritise those in vulnerable circumstances.

2. Support those who are working from home. If you are an office-based worker and need to work from home because of government advice or because you need to self-isolate, your home insurance cover will not be affected. You do not need to contact your insurer to update your documents or extend your cover.

3. Support those who cannot work from home. If you have to drive to your workplace because of the impact of Covid-19, your insurance policy will not be affected. You do not need to contact your insurer to update your documents or extend your cover.

4. Support those who use their cars to help their communities. If you are using your own car for voluntary purposes to transport medicines or groceries to support others who are impacted by Covid-19, your cover will not be affected. You do not need to contact your insurer to update your documents or extend your cover. This applies to all categories of NHS Volunteer Responders, including transporting patients, equipment, or other essential supplies.

5. Support our key workers. If your work is critical to the national response to Covid-19 and you need to use your own car to drive to different locations for work purposes because of the impact of Covid-19, your cover will not be affected. You do not need to contact your insurer to update your documents or extend your cover.