I set off on holiday this week. It's my 30th birthday and I fancied celebrating it abroad, viewing the mountains in Switzerland and relaxing by the lake in Geneva.
I'd been on holiday one night when I received a phone call. My house had been burgled. I'd only been gone 24 hours, but somebody had ransacked my home—including the home office—and stolen my equipment.
Happy birthday, Ashley.
Aside from the emotional impact of being burgled, my mind turned to work.
They've taken the tools I need to do my work, but what about hard drives? Have I lost client work? Do I have back-ups? And if not, what are the consequences of that?
Working in insurance I've adopted a worst case scenario mindset. Being diligent with protecting your work and equipment minimises the disruption to your business when disaster strikes. If equipment is stolen I don't need to worry about having the capital to replace it overnight, or if work files are lost I can handle the consequences of angry clients.
Why should you have business insurance for contents if they're stored in your home? If they're used primarly for work purposes, you'll likely find your home insurance doesn't cover them.
With business insurance you can add multiple addresses to a single policy. For example, you can have your home and office address on the policy.
Your policy will also cover you whilst traveling abroad for work and probably have other features that home contents policies don't, like data reconstitution costs.
But wait, I don't want this to turn into too much of a sales pitch.
The bottom line is:
- I've been burgled
- I never expected this to happen to me. My apartment is secure yet they still forced their way in
- My camera bag was taken which is full of equipment I use for work, including CF cards with wedding photos on them
- Client work and data could have been lost if I hadn't backed up my work, or if they'd also stolen my hard drives
This experience has made me reconsider the security set-up I have for work. Is it enough? Have I implemented a secure enough system to bounce back from disaster and minimise the impact it has on my business and clients?
Lastly, is my insurance adequate enough to cover all of the stolen equipment?
Protecting Your Business And Clients
As a freelancer the onus is on you to have a bulletproof business and keep your client's trust should you have a bump in the road. If I had said to my clients after my house was burgled, "I'm sorry, but they stole my equipment including your wedding photos" I can't imagine they'd be too understanding. It's important we have measures in place to mitigate the risk, and then manage disasters when they happen.
- Take With Jack's business health check-up test to assess how vulnerable your business is
- Find out why you should have insurance
- Get insured
- Consider your security set-up. Is everything backed up? What if hard drives were lost, damaged or stolen? What do you stand to lose?
This intrusion has left me feeling violated and emotionally drained, but without insurance it would have been 1000x worse.