Make sure ‘work from home’ devices are covered

25 February 2021 | Opinion

Windhoek • Corlia Kotze

As the new normal requires people to continue working from home, one needs to take the time to review portable work devices and ensure they are adequately insured from theft or unforeseen damage.
The awareness around the need for insurance, both in one’s professional and personal capacity, has increased tenfold since the onset of the pandemic. Having insurance cover for your assets provides peace of mind that your valuables are well covered to face the worst when unforeseen circumstances happen.
The line between personal and business insurance is starting to blur. Working from home not only touches on the exposure of your work devices or gadgets, it equally impacts your home contents that might be in use more frequently than the norm or taken out to public places such as restaurants for quick meetings.
It is important to understand your insurance contracts and claim parameters. Every policy sets out your obligations in the event of a claim. This includes the circumstance within which a claim must be reported to the police and your insurer or broker, what information you must provide to your insurer, as well as the time frame within which to dispute the outcome of a claim.

Key insurance points
• Many employees who use laptops that are owned by their employers aren’t sure if their devices are covered, whether inside their homes or when they are out and about. If you are financially liable to replace a work device, you should insure the device on your policy and advise your broker or insurer of the situation and note the interest of your company. Ask your employer what the company policy is and make the necessary changes to your policy to ensure that there is no financial impact to you. Unfortunately, most personal policies will not cover the excess that you might be liable for in the event of a claim on your company policy.
• Take the time to check your ‘all risk’ cover to ensure that all your devices such as cameras, cellphones and tech gadgets are insured, in case they are stolen, lost or damaged. Remember that unless your items are specifically noted on the policy, they will NOT be covered outside of your home. This means that if an incident occurs on your premises, depending on your policy wording, could potentially mean no cover.
• Most insurers offer power surge cover up to a certain limit under the household section which may not be adequate if you have expensive electronic items. Being at home also reduces the risk of burglaries or theft, but accidental damage to items could be more frequent. Check with your broker or insurer if you have cover for this and the limits and exclusions.
• Don’t forget to double check on any exclusions that may have been applied to your policy, for example, some insurers apply a safe clause endorsement for specified items such as rings or necklaces and will not cover theft of jewellery from the home unless it is kept locked in a safe whilst not being worn. This may be applied even if your home is occupied.
• Get your household contents inventory in check. Go through each room thoroughly and note all of your belongings, creating a checklist with a full current replacement value for each item, think of the worst-case scenario if you had to replace everything, you want to ensure that you have the correct cover to be able to do this.
Being underinsured is a common issue for claims on buildings and contents, and a policy holder is often unaware until it’s too late. Our role as brokers is to bring about peace of mind by working with the information provided by the client to ensure that the risks one is insured for, and the level of associated cover, are appropriate for their needs.
*Corlia Kotze is the CEO of FNB Insurance Brokers Namibia.