Liability, Security and the Home-Based BusinessBy Anna Quon
Liability and security are issues for any business, and home-based businesses are no exception. Here are some tips to help protect your home-based business.
Insurance - don't stay home without it!
According to David Currie of the Co-operators, one of the largest growing sectors of the Canadian economy is home-based businesses, which employ one or two people. "Typically homeowners insurance excludes any business operations from the home and limits as well the amount the insurer will pay for business use of property," Currie says. To insure your home-based business, you can sometimes buy insurance attached to a home policy, which will cost you in the range of $150-350 per year depending on the revenue from the business. Bigger businesses would likely be rated apart from the home, with rates starting from $750.00.
"Liability is the leading cause of insurance claims now," Currie says. A courier who slips in your driveway while delivering a package will likely sue for his/her injuries. Home insurance excludes such business-related liability claims, so it's important to have a home business or commercial package. Loss or theft of data is excluded, as are customer records, and Currie recommends their off-site storage. Even Internet businesses may need coverage for personal injury (as it applies to advertising, libel, etc.) Currie recommends talking to an insurance agent or broker before starting a home-based business to discuss potential problems and how an insurance premium will fit your business plans. "The worst thing you could do is spend money to start up and find out later you can't get insurance or afford it if you can get it."
Security System - Home Safe Home
Joe Power of Power Security Systems Ltd. says that often the opening of a home-based business triggers a homeowner to think about getting a home security system. The electronic systems his company sells and installs allow someone to arm a part of his or her house, such as a home office, without activating the rest of the house, allowing a business owner to keep out pets and children, if so desired. Power says it's most often information on computers that business owners want to protect and, like Currie, he recommends they be backed up off-site.
A home security system can start at several hundred dollars, and can be customized to suit your needs. The activation site can be placed at the height of someone in a wheelchair, and can be armed or disabled by remote control. For people with visual or hearing impairments, a tone or visual can be used to signal an intruder.
Power says it's important to deal with a reputable company when considering buying and installing a home security system. He recommends checking with Worker's Compensation to make sure the person installing the system has the right credentials.