Please Note: The information contained here is for information purposes only, and may not apply to your situation. The NHSN provide no guarantee about this content. Information provided is subjective. Keep this in mind when reviewing this guide.
House Insurance & Public Liability Insurance
A Host Family must ensure that they have Public Property Owners Liability insurance cover on their house/home. This cover is sometimes included in most standard home insurance policies and is clearly evident on the insurance policy documentation. More specifically, the host family may require an extension of their public liability cover to cover home sharing. As the host family is entering into a business agreement with the Agency to provide the latter’s services in their own home, they need to inform their household insurer of this agreement, purely from a ‘property owners liability’ perspective.
It should be noted that Host Families are treated by agencies in a similar manner to volunteers, who are covered as such under the insurance policies of the agency. Additionally, all guest’s are insured by the agencies that provide services to them, including where such services are provided in host families homes.
The Host Family only needs to ensure they have property owner’s liability cover (as stated above). As for liability arising in connection of the services they provide in their home, this is insured under the Agency’s liability policies.
Some insurance companies can be hesitant about covering ‘home sharing’ as they have concerns about families looking after someone else’s child or adult son/daughter on a ‘planned’, overnight basis. There is generally an understanding when it comes to fostering. In order to give comfort to the insurance company it is important that the host family makes clear to their household insurer, or insurance broker (if they have one), that the services the placement they provide in their homes to the child/adult are fully insured under the agencies’ liability policies. They should state that they are purely advising of this arrangement with the Agency from a property owner’s liability perspective.
It can be difficult to negotiate the extension of liability required with individual insurers. Host families can choose to deal with an insurance broker instead of dealing directly with insurance companies. Brokers can sometimes have more flexibility in terms of finding the appropriate cover with a company that will be willing to provide cover for Host families. Brokers are regularly individualising insurance policies for customers based on their needs. An insurance broker can only negotiate with an insurer if they have placed the policy in question with that insurer. It is also important to note that the vast majority of household policies are being purchased online these days with no requirement for going through an insurance broker. It is up to each individual family as to how they acquire insurance. Either way the guidance above is recommended to be followed by the National Home Sharing Network (NHSN).
For Shared Living Host Families, some insurers will view the full-time Shared Living guest as a ‘family member’ and the service user (guest) will need to be added to the policy as an adult residing in the family home. This means that they are treated as a family member by the insurer and the public liability does not apply.
The National Home Sharing Network (NHSN) advise that host families notify their Motor Insurance Company accordingly and request that the scheme is indemnified on the Motor Insurance Policy. Written confirmation from the Motor Insurance Company should be then included in your motor insurance documentation and held by the host family. The home sharing scheme may require such information during reviews.
From a duty of disclosure point of view, the Host family needs to inform their motor insurer of this new use of their vehicle as it would not have existed if it were not for the agreement with the agency.