WFH: What could affect my home insurance during coronavirus lockdown?

Tara McCabe

Thursday 07 May 2020

Despite the slight easing of social distancing restrictions, the vast majority of people across the country are still working from dining tables, home offices or even sofas. The global pandemic has shaken up not only the work-life balance, but also living arrangements and with that comes home insurance. 

Woman working from home during coronavirus lockdown - home insurance.

For the most part, your home and contents insurance may not be affected by the lockdown measures, but there are a few instances in which it might. 

Here’s a quick wrap-up of how the current situation might affect your policy:

New equipment to work from home

If you haven’t moved since you took out your policy and you haven’t bought any new tech to see you through social distancing, then you shouldn’t have to make any changes to your home and contents insurance.

That said, if you have bought new equipment to assist you while working from home, then depending on the value of it, you may want to review your contents cover. For instance, if your policy covers you for up to $10,000, but the tech you’ve just invested in tips you over that amount, then you may want to increase the sum you’re insured for.

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Business stock stored at home

If COVID-19 has you storing excess amounts of stock for your business at home, then it might be a good idea to review your home and contents insurance policy.

For that matter, if you’re now running your business out of your home, then you may want to consider whether or not you need business insurance. 

This type of insurance covers stuff like:

  • Public liability - Although it’s highly unlikely that you have anyone visiting you right now, if you do have customers or suppliers dropping by, this type of insurance can protect you in case someone injures themselves on your property.
  • Machinery breakdown - This type of insurance can cover you for equipment breakdown, including tech equipment that you rely on to run your business.
  • Business interruption - If you’re forced to press pause on business operations due to property damage or a break in, then this type of insurance can help cover any ongoing business expenses.
  • Accidental injury - Insurance to help cover medical bills, income loss and other expenses linked to certain accidental injuries.

Leaving your home unoccupied for 60 days

Usually when you take out a home and contents insurance policy there will be a clause relating to unoccupancy. So, if like a large number of younger Aussies you’ve left your rental unoccupied and shipped off to your parents’ to ride out social distancing, then you may want to look into this.

Generally, the clause requires you to inform your insurer if you are going to leave your home unoccupied for more than sixty consecutive days (the time frame may vary from policy to policy). Some insurers may even specify the approximate hours you need to be in your property each day to be covered. For example, eight out of twenty four hours.

If you do wind up leaving your home unoccupied for a few months, then you may not be covered for any loss or damage to your possessions or home.

RELATED: An essential guide to landlord insurance

Family members moving in during lockdown

On the flip side, unless your family member comes to live with you permanently, you shouldn’t have to tell your insurer if your relative has moved in temporarily during lockdown.

The only thing to be mindful of is that if your family member or friend brings valuables with them, these items will not be covered under your contents insurance. That is unless you make changes to your policy to include them.

Need help deciphering your home and contents insurance policy? Read Mozo’s home and contents insurance jargon buster for help reading your product disclosure statement.

Or if you’re searching for cover right now, check out the home and contents insurance policies on offer below.

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