Here are some top tips for landlords covering the subject of landlord insurance.
Some of them are of a ‘be aware’ nature, while others might help you to save some money on your premiums.
Don’t just pick the first or cheapest policy you come across on a “that’ll do” basis
Equally, avoid drifting into ‘auto-renewal’ mode each year.
Instead, take your time to study the subject and think about your requirements versus what the policy is providing (or get a specialist landlord insurance provider such as ourselves to help you). That way you’ll be more likely to find suitable cover at a cost-effective price.
Take unoccupied property insurance seriously
Your insurer certainly will!
This type of cover applies in circumstances where your property will sit unoccupied for more than a specified number of consecutive days – usually 30-60. After that period of time, your standard landlord insurance policy may lapse and you’ll need separate cover.
Look out for subsidence cover
You might find it surprising but subsidence cover is not necessarily always included ‘as standard’ on all landlord policies. Never assume that your buildings insurance includes this – or some other elements of cover such as malicious damage by tenant – as standard. Make sure you fully understand what the cover entails.
Read your policy’s terms relating to tenant types carefully
Some may have strict conditions relating to prohibited types of tenants, with classic categories for issues usually including students, DHS housing benefit recipients and migrant shelter lettings.
If you wish to keep your options open, look for policies which contain no such restrictions. (You’ll be pleased to know our let property insurance policies have no such restrictions).
Consider whether or not you need trace and access cover
If you don’t know, this means the damage caused to your property by builders or other professionals when searching for the cause of a problem. For example, if you have water coming through a wall, it may take a plumber some time to actually find where the leak is coming from. During their search, he or she may need to rip up floorboards or take bathroom tiles off a wall.
Trace and access cover typically covers the cost of repairing your property when it has been damaged when looking for the cause of an insured event.
This type of cover is not always automatically covered by policies (though it is with ours!).
Think about employer’s liability insurance
True, this isn’t really a normal part of landlord insurance but it is related in situations where you have employees – even if part time, casual and sometimes even if they’re unpaid volunteers.
In all such situations, the law may define them as employees and that might make it mandatory for you to cover them accordingly via liability insurance.
This is a standalone policy that typically will not form part of any landlord’s insurance cover.
Decide if your property’s at risk from your tenants
It is generally accepted to be very rare but even so, malicious property damage by tenants is far from unknown.
Be aware that not all policies will cover it. So, if you think it’s a potential risk in your situation, look for a policy that includes it. Our let property insurance policies cover you up to £5,000.
Remember your policy’s excess might be something you can use
Although some policyholders see the excess as something inflicted upon them, others see it as an opportunity.
The excess is the first part of any successful claim that you’ll be expected to pay yourself. In the case of some policies, you may be able to increase the excess meaning, in effect, that you’ll agree to pay a larger part of any future claim.
In response, the insurer may offer you a reduced premium.
Have plenty of public liability cover
While many landlords are almost intuitively aware of the need for insurance covering their tenants, some overlook the fact that they also need to cover the general public too.
Examples might include:
- your tenant’s guests being injured on your property;
- passers-by hit by falling slates/tiles;
- trades visitors being injured due to a problem with your property;
Ideally, this cover should also help with the legal costs associated with defending yourself against any future claims. Remember, those costs might be incurred even if you win your case.