More and more employees are heading home to work. If you've decided to reap the benefits of the telecommuting trend, you also need to make sure you're covered from an insurance standpoint. It's possible your existing coverage is sufficient, but you may need to make a few changes to be sure you're adequately protected. Edgar J. Higgins Jr., a partner with Thousand Islands Agency, an insurance firm in Clayton, New York, says you need to consider these issues:
- Workers' compensation. Employees who sustain an injury while working or during working hours, even if they're in their homes, are protected by workers' comp. Higgins suggests developing a system that clearly defines when employees are considered to be "at work" and when they're not.
- General liability. This coverage deals with the issue of people on the premises. If your telecommuters meet with customers or associates in their homes, Higgins advises adding your employees' residences as additional locations to your business liability policy.
- Equipment. If you have equipment or other business property in your employees' homes, you need to make sure it's listed on your business property policy. You should also have a clear understanding with those employees of what you will and won't be responsible for. For example, Higgins says, you may want to hold your employees responsible for damage to equipment that results from negligence (such as if a child pours juice on a computer keyboard) but not for events beyond their control (such as a fire or flood).
- Customer property. If your employees ever take a customer's property to their homes, be sure your insurance agent knows and has provided for that.
"Don't leave anything to chance," Higgins advises. "You can do almost anything with an insurance policy if you do it before any damage occurs."
Thousand Islands Agency, (800) 453-8917, http://www.tiagency.com