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Landlord insurance advice and tips

No matter how prepared your property is, or how reliable your tenants are, disaster can inevitably strike at any moment. The possibility of flooding, fire damage or even theft occurring at your rental property means that as a landlord, making sure you have insurance is a must.

But what types of cover do you need? How much does it cost and where do you find the best deals?

Find out more in our landlord insurance guide.

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What is landlord insurance?

Landlord insurance is a specialist type of cover for rental properties, covering the risk to your property from theft, flood and fire. As well as buildings and contents, other types of landlord insurance offer cover for rent arrears, compensation claims and home emergency cover.

What level of insurance do you need?

The types of cover you need as a landlord will depend very much on the risk you are willing to accept. Above the standard cover for buildings and contents, are you comfortable with leaving yourself open to a public liability claim, or the unexpected costs of a boiler breakdown? If not then you may have to add cover like liability insurance or home emergency cover.  

The different types of landlord insurance

Buildings insurance

Landlord buildings insurance protects you as the property owner from damage caused by flood, theft, fire and weather damage. You will be covered for the rebuild value of the property, and for issues such as subsidence. Additional features could be legal expenses cover, accidental damage, home emergency cover and replacement locks and keys.

Contents insurance

Landlord contents insurance is much the same as a standard contents policy – covering the items in the property such as furniture and appliances from the risk of theft or damage. If the property is being let unfurnished the landlord does not require a contents policy of their own – this is the responsibility of the tenant.

Liability insurance

Public liability cover gives the landlord protection if the tenant makes a claim against them for personal injury or damage to belongings if something goes wrong while living legally at a property.

Rent guarantee insurance

This kind of insurance protects the landlord if the tenant has to move out of the property for an insured event such as fire or flood, and for the cost of arranging alternative accommodation.

Home emergency cover

Home emergency cover provides cover if an issue with gas, electricity or water supply needs emergency maintenance. For example, if you experience a faulty boiler, burst pipe or blocked drain, home emergency cover will cover you for the cost of call out, parts and labour.  

How much does landlord insurance cost?

You should take care when it comes to how much you’re paying. While you don’t want to scrimp on the coverage you receive, there are ways that you can save money on your insurance. Basic landlord buildings and contents policies will come in at around £300 per year, but adding the extras like accidental damage, legal expenses and home emergency cover could double this premium. Choose carefully if you need these extras.

How to find the best landlord insurance

While it’s easy to find an insurer who will offer landlord coverage, finding the best price for your insurance might not be quite as simple.

Using price comparison sites like GoCompare, MoneySuperMarket or Compare the Market will give you an overview of the different types of insurances deals which are available, and help you find the best deal. Choosing to work with specialist insurers might also mean you’re offered simplified, straight to the point quotes.

Choose realistic excess amounts

Generally, choosing a higher excess for your insurance can make your policy more affordable in the short term. However, this approach could backfire and result in you paying more if you make a claim. We suggest choosing an excess amount based on the area of cover it applies to.

As contents claims are usually smaller, it might be a good idea to choose a lower excess.

Because building claims are generally larger, we recommend going with a higher excess to cover these. 

How to claim on your landlord insurance

If you have no choice but to claim on your landlords contents insurance or landlords buildings insurance, there are a few things you should already have in place. Before the tenancy starts it is good practice to take photos of all appliances, furnishings and meter readings, keep receipts of all items you have bought for the property, and have a professional inventory signed by the tenant.

You should also declare any changes to the property and tenancy as soon as possible, to avoid it seriously affecting your insurance and invalidating any claims.

Make sure you claim for the full replacement value of the items that are affected. Your insurer is likely to suggest a lower value – possibly the value of the items as they are now, rather than the cost of replacing them new. That is where an insurance broker or loss adjuster will come in and agree a fair settlement value.

Frequently asked questions

Is landlord insurance a legal requirement?

There is no legal obligation to take out landlord insurance, but your mortgage lender will insist upon it before you take on any tenants. As a standard home contents or buildings policy will not cover rental activities, any existing types of cover will need to be changed.

Do I need to take out landlord insurance for Airbnb or a short-term let?

Landlord insurance will not cover you for Airbnb rentals or short term lettings. Neither will the Airbnb guarantee and host protection insurance – as this has a property damage cover limit of £700,000. You should take out a holiday home or short term let insurance policy, which most insurers will be able to provide.

Do I need landlord insurance for a lodger?

No. As you will still be living in the property, your home insurance policy will cover this. But when you take in a lodger you will need to inform your insurance company, who could increase your premium, add exclusions or refuse to cover you. This is because your liability and risk has increased.

Does landlord insurance cover malicious damage?

Most landlords insurance policies will include malicious damage as part of your buildings or contents cover, if it is caused during a theft at your property. However not all policies cover damage caused by tenants as standard. This may be an optional extra. If you are not sure, check with your insurer and the terms of your policy.

Talk to a haart lettings specialist

While opting for the cheapest policy available may be tempting, you might regret this decision if you’re not best protected by it. Choosing a policy which offers the best value for money and all the coverage you need is a much safer bet, and should stop you having to pay large bills should the worst happen.

If you’re interested in renting out a property, or want to know more about Landlord insurance, talk to one of our lettings specialists.