Simple Landlord Insurance
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Simple landlord insurance
From credit checks to tenancy agreements, and from arranging gas safety checks to registering with deposit protection schemes – being a landlord is complicated enough even before you add the complexities of landlord insurance to that mix.
Still, finding the right cover for your rental property doesn’t have to be hard if you know where to go to compare policies, and if you want a simple, no nonsense landlord insurance policy you should have quite a few options to choose from when you do that comparison.
Why do I need landlord insurance?
Landlord insurance can cover the cost of damage to your property and any of the contents you provide as part of your tenancy agreement. Policies can also protect you and your interests by paying for legal fees if you’re involved in a dispute.
You don’t need landlord insurance by law, so if you own your rental property outright you’re under no obligation whatsoever to buy a policy. But remember, if you don’t have cover in place you’d be expected to pay for any damage or legal fees yourself.
The situation might be a little different if you have a buy-to-let mortgage, though, because in that case your lender could insist that you have a simple landlord insurance policy in place, one that will insure the actual building at the very least – and they may even make this buildings insurance a condition of the loan. The good news is that you don’t have to buy landlord insurance from your lender and you’re free to shop around for the best deals and discounts.
What does a simple, no-nonsense landlord insurance policy include?
There’s no one size fits all when it comes to landlords insurance, because policies are tailored to meet your specific needs. That said, you can expect a simple landlord insurance policy to include the following types of cover at the very least:
- Buildings insurance – this covers the structure of your property and pays to repair or rebuild it if it’s damaged by an insured event such as fire, flood, subsidence, vandalism or theft. Buildings cover also protects any permanent fixtures and fittings like kitchen cupboards, bathroom suites, pipes and drains.
- Contents insurance – covers the cost of damage done to furniture or soft furnishings you provide, such as curtains, chairs and sofas. You won’t need to insure any of your tenant’s belongings as this is their own responsibility.
If I only need something simple won’t standard home insurance meet my needs?
No, standard home insurance wouldn’t be suitable to insure a rental property because the risks involved are different compared to a property you live in as an owner-occupier. For example, tenants on a short-term let are less likely to notice minor issues that could develop into bigger problems – such as damp.
Rental properties are also more likely to stand empty if you’re in-between tenancies, which increases the risk of vandalism or theft. Plus, if you own an HMO (house in multiple occupation) or you rent to students or housing benefit tenants, your property represents a much higher risk to insurers than an owner-occupied house would do.
All these factors increase the likelihood of a claim being made – which insurers need to factor in when they work out your premium. Crucially, if you tried to make a claim for a rental property using standard home insurance your insurer can and would refuse to pay out.
Can I add optional extras to a simple landlords insurance policy?
A simple landlords insurance policy is better than no insurance at all, of course, but if you want to give yourself total protection you can add a range of optional extras to your basic policy. If you decide to do this just bear in mind that insurers all have their own terms and conditions, so it’s essential to check exactly what is and isn’t covered to avoid a costly misunderstanding.
Add-ons and optional extras you might want to consider adding to your basic landlord insurance policy include:
- Rent guarantee insurance – compensates you if your tenant stops paying their rent (it’s also known as tenant default insurance).
- Loss of rent insurance – covers lost rental income if your tenant cannot live in the property because of an insured event.
- Unoccupied property insurance – covers your property if you’re in-between tenants and the building is empty.
- Landlord liability – pays for legal fees and compensation if someone is injured or has their belongings damaged because of your property. For example, if your tenant or a visitor tripped over a wobbly step and broke their ankle.
- Alternative accommodation – pays to temporarily rehome your tenants if your rental becomes uninhabitable. You’ll only need this if your tenancy agreement says you must provide alternative accommodation.
- Landlord home emergency cover – deals with household emergencies like burst pipes or unplanned power cuts. Some insurers also offer boiler breakdown cover as part of their home emergency plan – something worth looking for when you compare policies.
- Accidental damage insurance – covers unintentional damage done to your property or contents, for instance if DIY results in a damaged wall.
- Legal expenses – covers legal fees if you have a dispute involving your property, for example if you needed to evict your tenant. Legal expenses cover can also pay any costs if you need to defend yourself against a claim or if HMRC decide to investigate you for tax reasons.
- Malicious damage – compensates you for damage purposely caused by your tenant.
Will simple landlords insurance be enough to protect my investment?
A simple, no nonsense policy should be able to protect the basics, including the building itself and any contents you provide as part of your tenancy agreement.
But if you depend on the rent you receive from your tenants to cover your buy-to-let mortgage repayments you might want your landlord insurance to also protect this rental income, in which case you’d need to add rent guarantee insurance to your policy.
Similarly, if you don’t have enough working capital to cover home emergencies in your rental properties as and when they arise (broken boilers or plumbing emergencies, for instance), then you might decide it’s a good idea to add home emergency cover to your simple landlords insurance policy.
How much should a simple landlord insurance policy cost?
All sorts of factors affect the cost of insurance so it’s difficult to pinpoint an average, not least because there’s a good chance you’ll want to add one or more add-ons to your policy instead of taking out the most basic type of landlord buildings cover.
It’s vital that your policy covers you for the real risks you face based on your circumstances, which is why it’s important to weigh up the value of paying a little more for optional add-ons versus taking out the most simple landlord insurance you can find.
Of course, there are ways to bring the cost of cover down even if you do opt for a more comprehensive policy – like paying for your premium on an annual basis go to avoid interest charges, or investing in extra home security features which can sometimes attract a discount from landlord insurers.
What do I need to get a basic landlord insurance quote?
Getting a quote with us at Quotezone.co.uk is simple and straightforward. Just answer a few questions about the type of property you have and the type of tenants you rent to, and we’ll take it from there.