Babysitting and Your Home Insurance

September 10th, 2019

Teenage babysitting at her home, carrying a sleeping toddler on her shoulder.

Babysitting makes a great job for responsible teenagers or adults who like kids. With childcare in high demand for many parents, it’s a great way to start earning money and help out the family, friend, or neighbour. If you or your teenager is taking on the task of babysitting, make sure you understand the risks of babysitting and your home insurance. 

When your child decides that they might want to take on the task of babysitting for your neighbours, there are some risks you should consider when it comes to your insurance. If something happens, are you protected? Not always. For example, a 14-year-old Albertan was sued for negligence after a fire destroyed a home – even though she had safely gotten her charges and pets out of the house. 

Technically, babysitting is a business – you’re receiving money in exchange for a service. Even if you’re not making a living off that money, it is still a job. That means your home insurance will likely not protect you if something happens. 

Personal Liability and Home Insurance

Generally, your home insurance offers some personal liability protection if someone gets hurt or has their stuff damaged while visiting you at your or if you accidentally cause that harm or damage. That should be great news if you babysit, right? If anything happens to your charges or the home, you’ll have some protection! 

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. This is because home insurance won’t cover anything related to business or work. And if you’re getting paid for babysitting or childcare, your home insurance likely won’t cover you.

Can my policy extend to a home-based business?

Many home insurance companies do offer specialty coverage for home-based businesses as an add-on (known as an “endorsement” in insurance lingo) to your home insurance. Some policies may even include casual babysitting. Talk to your broker or insurer about your situation and they’ll be able to help you determine if your home insurance will be adequate protection or they will advise if you need additional coverage.

What can I do to protect myself?

If babysitting or childcare is not covered by your home insurance or a home-based business add-on, you should consider purchasing business and/or liability insurance. This will help you cover your expenses if something happens while you’re babysitting, whether that’s a child gets hurt or damage occurs to the home you’re in. 

It’s always a great idea to ensure you’re properly trained for babysitting. This can include:

Discuss your options with your broker and together, you can ensure you or your teenager is protected if you babysit. Your home insurance may not be enough and it’s important to understand the risks and your choices for protection as a single lawsuit can be incredibly expensive and have a long-lasting impact.

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