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7 months ago

The Landlord’s Guide to Protecting Your Property

Being a landlord is undoubtedly a privileged position but it comes with its own set of responsibilities and challenges. Aside from respecting the rights of your tenants and complying with industry regulations, protecting your investment is of utmost importance.

In this guide, we'll walk you through the essentials of landlord insurance in the UK, helping you make informed decisions to safeguard your property and rental income.

Understand the Basics

Landlord insurance is specifically designed to cover the unique risks associated with renting out property. It differs from standard home insurance, which doesn't typically provide an adequate level of coverage for rental properties. A typical landlord insurance policy usually includes the following components:

Buildings Insurance

This covers the structural aspects of your property, including the walls, roof, floors and fixtures. It's essential to protect your investment against potential damage caused by fire, flooding, mould, extreme weather or even vandalism.

Contents Insurance

If you're renting out a furnished property, consider contents insurance to cover your belongings within the rental property. This would include furniture, appliances and even carpets and tiles. This isn't mandatory for landlords but would be advisable if you have valuable items that would cost you a lot to replace.

Liability Insurance

Liability insurance protects you against claims made by tenants or visitors who sustain injuries on your premises. It's a crucial component of landlord insurance as it can protect you from claims and therefore costly legal expenses.

Loss of Rent Insurance

If your property suddenly becomes uninhabitable due to an insured event like a flood or fire, this coverage will get you compensated for financial losses. This will usually be for the full amount you would otherwise have received in the form of rent.

Study Specific Circumstances

Different types of rental properties may have unique insurance requirements so its important to do your research and find out what you need. Circumstances where you might need to seek out additional cover include:

House Shares

If you're renting out a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), which is a property with multiple unrelated tenants, you’ll need specialist HMO insurance. This type of coverage often includes extra liability protection and caters to the specific needs of house share arrangements.

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Holiday Lets

For holiday rental properties, like Airbnb's for example, you'll require a specific type of insurance that takes into account the short-term nature of these rentals. This is primarily because of the unusually high turnover of guests that creates a higher risk factor for insurers.

Screen Tenants and Maintain the Property

Insurers may take into account your tenant screening process when offering coverage, whether you do this yourself or use a middleman like a property management service. Having reliable tenants with a clean record and positive references is always a bonus.

Keeping your property well-maintained, with up-to-date certificates, can also help you secure more favourable premiums.

Don’t Miss Policy Exclusions

Be aware that every insurance policy has exclusions, which are situations or events that aren’t covered. It’s vital to go through your policy documents with a fine tooth comb to fully understand what is and what isn't covered.

Common omissions include ‘reasonable’ wear and tear, acts of terrorism and some types of malicious damage.

Inform Your Insurer of Changes

As your circumstances change over time, your insurance may need to change with them. It’s advisable to regularly review your policy to ensure it still meets your requirements.

For example, if you make renovations, decorate or even add new furnishings, you might need to make your insurer aware. Particularly if the changes affect the value of the property or contents significantly.

Remember Honesty is the Best Policy

When applying for landlord insurance, always provide accurate and complete information about your property and its occupancy. Failure to do so could land you in hot water with your policy being voided. This would ultimately leave you without any coverage when you need it most.

Worse still, if your insurer can prove you lied, it could result in increased premiums, denied coverage and even criminal charges being brought against you.

Make Cost Considerations

For SMEs across the UK, in every industry, insurance is a big cost consideration each year. Landlords are no exception and policies are generally becoming more expensive.

The primary contributor to rising premiums is the volume of filed claims. When the number of claims surges, insurers incur greater costs and usually pass these expenses onto policyholders. Additional factors include emerging risks, market dynamics, changes in regulations and economic factors. Insurance essentially revolves around risk versus reward for providers.

Find the Right Insurance Policies

Not all landlord insurance policies are created equal so it's essential to compare quotes from multiple providers. You should consider factors like coverage limits, excesses and any additional perks or add-ons. We at BusinessComparison can help you find the most suitable policy for your needs.

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Sam White