Businesses have had to adapt and evolve over the last couple of years more than ever before. Our partner, PolicyBee, takes a look at how the changing landscape could affect VA insurance.
Change can be good for a business. But change doesn’t just mean a new source or stream of income. It can be buying some new kit, starting to work from home (or meeting your clients face-to-face), or it can mean expanding and taking on staff.
Whatever changes you make to your business, though, you should make sure your insurance is still up-to-date and covers all your business needs.
Business changes and your insurance
When you take out insurance for your VA business, you tailor it to your needs at the time. But companies can change and evolve.
You might get a big contract that dramatically increases your income well beyond your projections. Your limits of cover are affected by your turnover, which could make a difference to your level of cover.
Post-pandemic, you might be starting to meet customers, clients, or suppliers face-to-face. If you do, talking to your insurer or broker about public liability (PL) could be a good idea.
Public liability covers you if a third party has gets injured or if you accidentally damage their property and they say it’s your fault. For instance, a visitor could trip on a loose bit of carpet. Or, when meeting a supplier, you spill a drink on their laptop – either at your office or off-site.
On the flip side, if you were out and about but no longer see other people in person, you may want to remove PL from your policy. You don’t want to pay for something you don’t use.
Whatever the changes, it’s worth checking your insurance documents to ensure you still have the right cover and the right amount of cover for your business needs.
If you’re thinking of taking on employed staff
Employers’ liability (EL) insurance is a legal requirement if you have staff – even if they’re temporary or part-time. EL is there to protect both you and your team.
If a staff member injures themselves while working or becomes ill because of something at work, they can claim against you. EL will cover your legal costs associated with the claim and any compensation awarded.
Most insurers offer employers’ liability (EL) as an add-on when purchasing public liability (PL). The price of EL is competitive, and most insurers will offer £10 million cover as standard.
You should check the wording on any other policies you have. Your public liability and professional indemnity will cover any of your team and the work they do as standard. But your policy might not include freelancers or contractors. You can contact your insurer or broker if you’re not sure.
If you buy more equipment
Buying new gear for work can be expensive. And getting the value right on your insurance is essential.
If your insurer discovers that you’ve underinsured yourself (whether accidentally or on purpose), and you claim, you might get a smaller payout than you expect.
For example, you might have £10,000 worth of portable items in your business, but you only ever take £2,000 out and about with you. In that scenario, some people may be tempted only to insure their equipment for £2,000.
The difference in value would mean you’re underinsured, and some insurers have an ‘average clause’ to deal with this. They might pay a percentage based on how much you’re underinsured if you did make a claim.
To make sure you aren’t underinsured, keep an inventory of your kit. When you write everything down, it can be surprising how much it can total. Don’t forget your portable bits too – phones, laptops, etc.
Most insurers won’t want evidence of the items you’re covering. But having proof of ownership (like the purchase receipt) can move things along quicker if you make a claim.
Working from home
Working from home usually means the need for a home office. And some people convert (or build) an outbuilding or shed for the extra space away from the house.
When it comes to insurance for the outdoor space, your insurer will want to know the type of building you’ve got. They might have restrictions in the policy wording for what they’re happy to cover. And they’ll want to know if you’re keeping your equipment in your office overnight too.
Personal home insurance might (or might not) cover your business equipment, but policies vary, and you shouldn’t rely on it. Either way, you don’t want to pay twice for the same cover.
Something else to think about is if you’re having clients visit you in your garden office. You may need public liability to cover any mishaps that occur while they’re on the premises.
Do you need to increase your level of cover?
Your insurance can include public liability, professional indemnity, cyber, etc., and all have different ranges or levels of cover. If things have changed in your business, you might need to check your cover limits.
Some contracts can specify a minimum amount of insurance, for example, £1million professional indemnity. In this case, you can change your level of cover mid-way through a policy by contacting your insurer or broker.
A good rule to follow is you can never have too much cover. Think about your day-to-day work. How much would it cost you if your client sued for compensation if you were to make a mistake? That won’t give you an exact answer but should give you an idea of the levels of cover you might need.
Employers’ liability is slightly different as it’s the only business policy with a standard limit (£10 million), so there’s no option to increase or decrease your level of cover. The amount you pay as a premium may change based on the number of employees you have and your total wage bill, but your level of cover will remain the same.
For 10% off your VA insurance, visit policybee.co.uk/vact. Or for help and advice call the team on 0345 222 5370. If you are not sure what questions to ask your Insurance company we give 5 recommended ones here.
If you are looking for more blogs about insurance – they have a designated category on the VACT Blog and you can just click here to see all the blogs on that subject.