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15 Top Tips: Getting the right landlord insurance

Cat PolaroidAs you will know, landlords require specialist insurance for their Buy to Lets, primarily because tenants are considered ‘higher risk’ than homeowners, and rental activities mean the property is being used in a different way than if an owner-occupier were living there.

Continuing our celebration of 150 years of Reeds Rains, our experts reveal the 15 things you need to ask your insurance company or broker about, and check you are covered for:

When choosing a broker or insurance provider, make sure you ask:

  1. Do they specialise exclusively in landlord insurance? The benefit of dealing with a specialist is that they’re more likely to have experience in a wider range of landlord claims.
  2. What fees do they charge?
  3. What is their process if you need to make a claim? Do you have to complete all the paperwork yourself, or will they take information from you over the phone/email and submit the claim for you

    In your application, ensure you disclose:
  4. How quickly do they typically pay out and what’s the excess?
  5. The type of tenancy – i.e. how the property is being let. Are you using a standard AST to let the property as a single unit, is it an HMO, a short-term corporate let, etc.? If you do have an HMO, you will find you’re limited to a few specialist lenders.
  6. The type of tenants: employed, students, unemployed on benefits, etc...

    Essential cover
  7. Every landlord buildings policy should cover you for, as standard:
    - Buildings insurance for rebuild purposes
    - Accidental damage cover
  8. Public liability insurance (sometimes also known as ‘property owner’s liability insurance), in case a tenant, contractor or visitor injures themselves in your property.

    But you should ensure you also have cover for the following:
  9. Malicious damage, in case your tenants deliberately damage the property or steal from it. Without this cover, you wouldn’t be protected against one of the biggest risks to landlords: a cannabis factory being set up in your rental property – and it does happen.
  10. Alternative accommodation, which will cover the cost of rehousing your tenants if the property becomes uninhabitable, e.g. after a fire or flood.

    Other things to discuss with insurer or broker:
  11. What contents might you need to insure in the property? If you are supplying white goods, you might want to insure those, along with any furniture.
  12. Is it worthwhile insuring the boiler? If it’s new, it’s likely to come with a warranty against breakdown, but if it’s older, you may want to take out a repair or replacement policy.
  13. Does it make sense to take out insurance against non-payment of rent by the tenant?
  14. How long is the property covered for if it’s vacant for a period of time and what conditions or limited apply?
  15. If you have several properties, is it more advantageous to have ‘portfolio’ insurance, rather than individual policies?

At Reeds Rains, we offer a comprehensive range of landlord policies and can provide cover for everything mentioned. Visit https://www.reedsrains.co.uk/services/insurance/landlords-insurance for more information, or contact your local branch directly.