Tanks at my House! What does that do to our insurance coverage?
January 23, 2009 1:53 PM   Subscribe

How can I protect my home from my (somewhat) risky home business?

We have homeowners insurance but what else do I need to be completely protected from any accidents that may occur at my house due to my home business? I have 3 tanks of gas for use in the attached shop space (propane is outside and 2 small acetylene B tanks inside). I think they would void our home insurance if, please forbid, anything happened. I am working from home under an LLC but I'm not sure and I don’t think we are zoned for business, so I'm not even sure if business insurance would be a possibility…..
What do I do to protect our house and still be able to work from home knowing that I am covered? Thanks
posted by bdoop21 to Work & Money (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If the business is operating illegally, insurance will not help much. It might even void your coverage for regular homeowner issues (check policy about "operating a business").

So you may wish to fix your business/license/zoning issues before even thinking about insurance.

If that is impossible, you will want to work very hard to make sure your "work" chemicals are plausible "home" chemicals, and that you're storing them the way a responsible homeowner would.
posted by rokusan at 1:57 PM on January 23, 2009

This is one to discuss with your insurance agent and accountant (you may be able to write off some of these expenses). This isn't "forgetting" to mention that parking lot fender bender to your insurance agent. Your home is a big deal.

If your house is your largest asset, then you want it correctly insured.
posted by 26.2 at 2:18 PM on January 23, 2009

I dont mean to sound ignorant, but i have no idea if my business is operating illegally. I am a freelance artist, and use my home studio to make my work. I dont know how else to do it. I have an LLC to help me keep my personal and commission work separate, and for the other benefits of actually having a business name. I dont know if acetylene could ever be considered a "home" chemical, I assume propane would pass.
Thanks for your response.
posted by bdoop21 at 2:25 PM on January 23, 2009

Call your fire department. I am a welder and was using my garage for a few years to work. They told me I could use argon, but not acetelyne, etc. I am in a high fire zone, so some things were off limits. You usually can have a home based business, and you can use tools, it's hard, though, as I called many city officials and they had no idea. Fire dept. was the closest. Ask them for the correct ordinances.
posted by Vaike at 3:01 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

I would also look into getting separate business insurance.

(It caused me too much stress, so I got a studio which I split with 3 others and it really keeps costs down.)
posted by Vaike at 3:03 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Please consider talking to a lawyer. Your situation is one that could potentially get very messy and costly down the road if something were to happen, which makes it worth it to spend a little time and money now to make sure you're doing everything right. If you can find a firm that does small business commercial, municipal, and insurance law, that would be ideal.
posted by AV at 4:10 PM on January 23, 2009

We used to have a candle business where we worked with hot wax, hot oils, and melters. We just got business insurance and it was not that expensive. You should be able to get it through the same company that provides your homeowner's insurance.
posted by Ostara at 5:33 PM on January 23, 2009

bdoop21 writes "I dont know if acetylene could ever be considered a 'home' chemical, I assume propane would pass."

An oxy-acetylene torch is a common tool found in a significant portion of the garages of the mechanically inclined. Propane of course is everywhere people barbecue.
posted by Mitheral at 11:09 PM on January 23, 2009

Thanks everyone. I ended up getting business insurance and I called the fire department. There is a permit that I still have to get for "hot work" from them...its expensive and annual.
posted by bdoop21 at 7:27 PM on April 7, 2009

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