Personal Property Protection During Working From Home

Posted in: Personal Insurance

Since the Coronavirus outbreak in March, many of us have been forced to make an abrupt transition to working from home. After roughly six months, many of us are still juggling telecommuting, virtual learning and social distancing, and you might not be thinking about the new exposures associated with your home and vehicle that are emerging with the “new normal”. Consider these personal property protection tips to help you avoid possible loss and insurance coverage issues. 

Home Protection 

Since many of us across the country now use our personal residences as both home and the office, personal property protection has become even more important. 

  • Keep up with periodic maintenance in your home, such as changing your air vent filters and having your fireplace and chimney cleaned that could impact the air quality in your home. Not to mention, you could find unwelcome visitors lodging in your chimney—an annual cleaning prior to use for the season can ensure it is safe and critter-free. Don’t forget about the outside of your home as well. If there are any precarious trees that could fall onto your house in high winds, be sure to have them trimmed or removed. It’s also advisable that you clean out gutters and downspouts and make sure water is directed away from the foundation of your home to avoid water damage.  
  • Have you made any home improvements while stuck at home? It seems home projects, such as ordering new furniture or renovating a room in the house, were popular pastimes over the past several months of social distancing. If you’ve made any major upgrades to your home (inside or out), notify your insurance agent to ensure your Homeowners coverage is sufficient to cover any upgrades should damage occur. 
  • If you’ve brought work equipment (laptops, extra screens, keyboards, printers, webcams, etc.) home that you didn’t have previously, you should check the limits of your Homeowners policy. Most standard Homeowners insurance policy have a limit or cap on the amount of coverage available for items related to business property in your home. So, if you’ve set up any new or expensive equipment in your home office, give your agent a call to see if it’s possible to increase your coverage.  

Vehicle Protection 

Commuting to work has almost become obsolete, since most of us are now working remotely. Follow these personal property protection tips to keep your vehicle in good working order, especially when it’s not in use, and adjust your vehicle insurance for optimal coverage and savings. 

  • Many clients received credits or refunds of premium from their auto insurer for the time their state was in government mandated lockdown. If your state is no longer shut down but continue to work from home, reach out to your agent to explore changing your vehicle usage for potential savings. 
  • Keep up with regular maintenance, such as having the oil changed and brakes and tires checked. These small preventive measures could help you avoid issues. 
  • Take your car for a 30-minute drive once a week, weather permitting. You may benefit from the change of scenery, and your vehicle will benefit as an occasional drive can keep the parts lubricated and the battery charged.   
  • Check under your car every so often to make sure it hasn’t become a home for rodents or other critters. When your car is stationary for long periods of time, it’s not uncommon for animals to take shelter underneath. This is not only dangerous to those animals when you go to finally start your car, but they are also known to gnaw on wires and parts, causing extensive damage that results in costly repairs or possibly an accident. 
  • Choose your long-term parking spot with careIf you have a choice, park inside a garage or use a cover to protect your vehicle from the elements. Also, try to park on pavement rather than ground surfaces if possible and beware of parking beneath trees that are sappy or drop pods, nuts, or other decaying plant material that can damage the glass or paint. 

Much has changed in 2020 in terms of how we use our homes and vehicles. If you’ve made any changes to your property or have questions about your policy coverages, please contact your PSA insurance agent or service representative, or feel free to reach out to me at john@psafinancial.comAlso, check out PSA’s Covid related resources for more helpful information. Be well and stay safe!