In many ways a laptop or a or similar type of tablet or phone has become an increasingly common item that needs to be considered under a home insurance policy.
In one sense it is fairly straightforward that any item such as a laptop or any type of computer can be included in the normal contents or possessions schedule of a home insurance policy that covers contents and possessions under the terms of the policy.
There is a proviso that most insurance policies will cover certain electrical items on standard terms against certain named perils or losses.
Items that are removable easily by an individual and are likely to be taken with them either in their car or to work also often need cover outside of the home against loss such as being damaged or stolen.
This is the area where home insurance concerning laptops becomes much more difficult, and in many ways untested as to what level of cover is actually provided. The problem with home insurance covering laptops etc is not simply the loss of the item itself, it is often the loss of data that has on the item especially if that could lead to some potential liability claim against the individual concerned.
Traditionally home insurance would exclude any type of business being operated at the home, on the assumption that any home business was effectively a physical type of business involving customers, plant, machinery etc.
This would mean that any individual who operated a business out of our home would have to apply for specific business insurance that would be tailored exclusively to a mix of residential and business conditions appropriate for their situation.
With the growth in computers and laptops, this has changed enormously as many people use a laptop as part of the business, either employed or self-employed. As such people will use their laptop or computer at home either exclusively for their own business if they are self-employed, or often they will take work home with them that they will do on their computer at home.
This raises the question from a home insurance point of view as to what level it covers any type of individual doing work that is business-related that could be deemed commercial as opposed to residential.
Most insurance companies have addressed this issue to an extent, by normally including a specific endorsement or rider in the home insurance policy that gives limited coverage to a business that is being carried out at home. This type of insurance extension is normally meant to cover an individual using a laptop or similar item that would be no different whether they were doing residential or commercial work at home with it.
This aspect of home insurance is important because it can be extended to cover many other household items and garden items, where the item can be used either for a purely residential purpose or a mix of residential and business purposes. The advice for any policyholder if in doubt as to whether the laptop or other household item is covered under their insurance policy is to agree in writing via email with the insurance company at the outset of the commencement of the policy that any said items are included.