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No traffic, no tie, no sweat. From telecommuting to running their own business, many people are forgoing a traditional office setting for the comfort of their own home. Regardless of what kind of work you’re doing, you should make sure you are informed as to what kind of insurance coverage you are entitled to.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) recently released a consumer alert, detailing the types of questions you should be asking about insurance as a home-based business. Here are their suggestions for ensuring that your home-based business is protected from liability incidents.

Running a business from your home means you have different concerns than the employee who simply telecommutes. Here are a few questions to contemplate:

  • Do you keep business related stock or inventory in your home?
  • Do you have specialized or difficult-to-replace equipment that requires special consideration? Many renters or homeowners policies limit office equipment replacement to $2,500. Would this cover the equipment you need to keep your business running?
  • Do clients or customers visit your home office? If so, are you protected against possible lawsuits if a visitor were to injure themselves?
  • If your home office were destroyed by a flood or fire, how would you be compensated for the downtime?

These are just a few of the questions you should discuss with your provider. Coverage for business-related property losses or liability exposures is typically excluded from a traditional homeowner’s policy. You may need to consider a business-related endorsement or a more comprehensive in-home business policy or business owner’s policy in order to be fully protected.

Telecommuting, while simpler than running a business from home, still can raise concerns over cybersecurity. The NAIC recommends that you confirm that your company will install software on your home computer to protect any sensitive company information. Telecommuters should also double check that workers’ compensation covers their home office.

If you are unsure about your coverage, it is best to contact your insurance agency. Communication and full disclosure will help ensure that your work is not jeopardized due to an accident or oversight.  For more information, check out the Insure U’s Home-Based Business page and Insure U’s Job Change resources, both organized by the NAIC, or contact your state insurance department.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s Lemon Laws, data breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the state’s Do Not Call Registry.

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