If you are a homeowner, getting the right home insurance is fairly straightforward – you just have the choice of buildings cover, contents cover, or both. For landlords though, things can get a bit more complicated and may require more specialist cover to make sure you are protected for every eventuality.
Recent research by landlord insurance provider Simple Landlords has reinforced this, revealing the varying reasons why landlords have to make claims on their policies. The majority of claims by landlords are made for storm damage, burst pipes and property damage caused by break-ins.
However there are also claims for things that only specialist landlord insurance would cover, such as when tenants move out without paying their rent or when tenants vandalise the property – leaving the landlord not only facing repair bills but also losing out on rent while the property is unsuitable to be let again.
In circumstances like this, standard home insurance would not pay out – and it is worrying that a lot of new landlords in particular are not aware of the benefits of landlord insurance.
What does specialist landlord insurance cover?
The majority of landlord insurance policies will offer the property owner’s liability cover, buildings insurance and contents insurance as standard. They also will typically offer cover for lost rent if the property cannot be rented out immediately after a claim e.g. if it requires extensive repairs.
As well as this, landlord home insurance can also come with additional extras such as accidental/malicious damage, emergency assistance cover and legal cover.
Landlord insurance is not a legal requirement, however if you have a buy-to-let mortgage your lender may require you to have specialist cover.
While having full cover is the sensible option and can provide peace of mind, most landlords are busy and would prefer to not have to claim on their policy. We’ve outlined a few tips on how landlords can reduce the risk of claiming on their home insurance policy…
Carry our regular property inspections
It is crucial that you build a relationship with your tenants, stay in touch with them and visit the property regularly. A lot of tenants will report any accidental damage or other problems to you right away, but others will not.
The longer some damage is left, the more expensive it is to repair – so make sure your tenants know how to get in touch with you and are comfortable doing so.
Regular inspections can help you build this relationship and give you the opportunity to check for any damage or problems yourself.
Get to know the neighbours
As well as building relationships with the tenants, it can also be very useful to get to know the neighbours well.
The people who live next door to your tenant can be an invaluable source of information if your tenants are causing damage to the property or not reporting damage.
Make sure you know the rebuild cost
It is a common misconception that the rebuild cost of a property is the same as the amount they paid for the house. This is not the case. The rebuild cost is essentially the ‘sum insured’ of your building cover, and will play a part in how much your home insurance premiums cost.
It is therefore essential that you do not over or under-estimate the rebuild cost when applying for insurance – as this could leave you either paying too much or under-insured.
Find out more: How to calculate your home’s rebuild cost
Stay on top of roof and gutter maintenance
It’s a boring subject, but it can save you time and money in the future if you make sure the roof of the property is well maintained. This includes fixing broken tiles, regularly clearing the gutters and checking for leaks.