Office / Practice Insurance – Am I covered for site visits or manual work away from my office?

out of office insurance cover

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An office has three important aspects that the insurance policy should keep at its heart;


  • Your premises and equipment , owned by your business and anything you are responsible for, at your place of work (buildings and contents insurance)
  • Your staff and customers (public and employer’s liability insurance)
  • Protection of outgoing costs should you have to stop trading for a period of time (business interruption insurance)


Office insurance is primarily focused on businesses that are run from a commercial property. The basic types of cover mentioned above are standard and/or legal requirements across all offices and an Office policy will provide cover for accidental damage, theft and total loss from things like fire and flood, water damage and liability. However as with most office insurance policies, there are a fairly standard set of exclusions and you should be aware that most office policies do not provide cover in respect of;

  • Work away(including Manual work away) unless the work is clerical in nature
  • Professional indemnity or professional liability, this is generally the subject of a separate policy although some providers will offer it as part of an overall professional package with office insurance


If you do carry out work away from your business premises, there is a small element of cover provided under your office insurance policy for this as long as the work away is non-manual and of a clerical nature and does not exceed more than a certain percentage (normally 25%) of your usual business activities.  However if you carry out more than this or carry out manual work away from your business premises, Office policies usually have a manual work away exclusion.


An office is defined as a business based out of a specific type of commercial premises – your office. A policy is usually designed to cover you for the business you do there and extended to cover you for clerical work, collection and delivery outside of the property. Take for example an Engineering company; the business is run from a normal office but some of the profit and business may come from employees undertaking site visits to carry out surveys, inspections and other business activities off site at third party locations. The manual work away exclusion states that this type of business needs extra cover, simply because it faces a different type of risk. The ‘site visit’ aspect is simply NOT clerical work not can it be comfortably deemed ‘non-manual’ work. If the work balance tips more towards the external work it may be best to switch to a ‘Commercial Combined’ insurance policy which is better suited for this type of business need. A Commercial Combined policy will provide cover for the same aspects as an office policy but the liability cover is wider to cater for the high percentage of work away including manual work away.


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Remember:  If you are relying on it, your Office Insurance policy does not necessarily extend to cover your work away from the office, unless it is purely of a clerical nature e.g. an accountant doing an on-site audit. If you are an Engineer, an Architect or a Surveyor, do not count on your Office Insurance to extend to cover site visits or inspections as either the manual work away cover exclusion or the non-manual work away cover inclusion will be the deciding factor when it comes to a claim either against you as the professional or from an employee of yours injured on site. Site work is not deemed as non-manual work in most instances.