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Business insurance for co-working spaces

Co-working spaces give you flexibility and freedom, and can be cost-effective too. But how does using a co-working space affect your insurance? Are you covered if your laptop goes missing or your equipment is damaged? Here’s what you need to know.

Co-working spaces give you flexibility and freedom, and can be cost-effective too. But how does using a co-working space affect your insurance? Are you covered if your laptop goes missing or your equipment is damaged? Here’s what you need to know.

Written by
Mubina Pirmohamed
Business and landlord insurance expert
Last Updated
31 MARCH 2022
5 min read
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What are the benefits of co-working spaces?  

Co-working spaces offer lots of benefits for small businesses, freelancers and those who simply don’t like working from home. They can be an affordable way to base yourself in the centre of town and often boast super-fast broadband, meeting rooms and swanky coffee-making facilities.

More importantly, co-working spaces – in other words, shared office spaces – offer flexibility. You can easily take on more space if you need it and less if you don’t. Many offer community hot desks, which can be an affordable way to use these spaces if you work by yourself. 

On top of that, you don’t need to worry about maintaining the premises or paying for utilities or buildings insurance. Many co-working spaces also stage networking events, fitness classes and other social activities, so you can broaden your circle and make contacts with other business owners and freelancers.

It isn’t just small businesses that operate from co-working spaces either. Many larger organisations are taking advantage of the flexibility these arrangements can offer.

Can I get insurance in a co-working space? 

If you’re planning to work in a shared office space, you might need to look for specialist business contents insurance.

That’s because many insurance providers consider co-working spaces to be high risk. With so many people coming and going, your laptop, phone and other valuables could be vulnerable to theft. 

A specialist policy should cover you for items you leave in the co-working space, as well as offering add-ons like public liability insurance and cyber insurance.

Do co-working spaces provide insurance?  

Some co-working spaces may offer you insurance when you sign up. When you join, ask the owner what business insurance cover they have in place, so you can see what you need to add on to be fully covered.

I need insurance cover for a co-working space. What should I think about? 

Looking for business insurance for a co-working space? Here’s a few types to consider:  

  • Employers’ liability insurance: if you employ anyone – even if it’s just one person – you’ll need employers’ liability insurance. This is a legal requirement, wherever you’re based, and is designed to protect you against claims if an employee is injured or becomes ill while working for you. The only potential exception is for those who employ immediate family members. However, limited companies, with multiple directors, are legally required to have employers' liability insurance. This is regardless of immediate family members being employed.
  • Public liability insurance: it’s possible the owner of the co-working space will have this cover, but you’ll need to check. Public liability insurance can cover you against claims if your business activities cause injury, death or damage to someone’s property.
  • Business interruption insurance: when you’re sharing a working space, incidents can happen that interrupt your business or damage your equipment – even if you’re not directly responsible for them. Business interruption insurance can cover you for lost income if something goes wrong. 
  • Cyber insurance: working with others in a shared space can present cyber security risks. What if the shared WiFi network is hacked? Or someone steals valuable information by looking over your shoulder when you’re using your laptop? Cyber insurance can cover you against a range of risks. But please note, you can’t currently compare cyber insurance with us.

How can you increase your security?  

There are several factors to consider when choosing and using a co-working space:

  • Check out the building's security. Look for offices where access is controlled by electronic passes, where there’s a reception, and where entrances and exits are well lit. 
  • Choose a space with lockers so you can store your valuables safely when you’re not using them. Alternatively, you could buy a cable lock to attach your laptop to your desk.
  • Be aware of cyber security issues when using a shared space. At the very least, make sure the WiFi network is password protected and lock your screen if you’re leaving your computer.

I run a start-up. Do I need specialist insurance?  

Many companies that base themselves in co-working spaces are start-ups. Some insurance providers specialise in insurance for start-ups, so it’s worth researching to check what’s out there.

What happens if I only work in a co-working space from time to time?  

If you’re only doing some of your work in a co-working space, you might find it makes more sense to get insurance to cover your possessions outside the home. This could already be included in your home contents insurance or you may be able to add it on. Alternatively, you can look into standalone gadget insurance to cover your tech.

Frequently asked questions

What should I do if there’s a security breach while I’m working in a co-working space?

It sounds dramatic, but corporate espionage can be an issue in co-working spaces, which are often full of small, innovative companies trading in fresh ideas. There’s a few safety measures you can take to protect yourself in the event of a security breach:

  • Change your passwords regularly – if you have trouble remembering them, you can always use a password manager
  • Update your computer software, so it has the latest security updates
  • Always lock your computer screen when you’re away from it.

Is business insurance a legal requirement when working in a co-working space?

Business insurance isn’t a legal requirement unless you employ someone, in which case you’ll need employers’ liability insurance. And depending on your line of work, you might find that your clients expect you to have public liability insurance in place.

But it makes sense to have cover for your contents to protect yourself from the financial consequences if your equipment is damaged or stolen. And business interruption insurance can help protect you financially if other unforeseen circumstances stop your business from operating.

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Mubina Pirmohamed - Business and landlord insurance expert

With almost 15 years’ experience in the insurance industry, Mubina is an expert from one end to the other. From leading the introduction of new products, marketing them, innovating them, all the way to handling claims with customers. At some point in her career, she’s done it all.

Learn more about Mubina

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