When you’re letting a property, you must make sure you take out appropriate landlord insurance, rather than simply standard home insurance, because renting to tenants is considered higher risk than having owner-occupiers in a property. Not only that, but only landlord insurance will cover you for rental-specific events, such as malicious damage by a tenant, loss of rent and legal costs in case you have to evict a tenant.
However, research suggests that up to a quarter of landlords may not have the right insurance and that could prove a very costly mistake, as insurers are highly unlikely to pay out in the event of a claim.
If you are unsure about whether you have the right type or level of cover, or would simply like a quote, you can request a callback from one of our Reeds Rains Insurance Services advisors via our website: https://www.reedsrains.co.uk/landlords/landlords-insurance .
Meanwhile, here are five of the things you and your tenants should be most vigilant over, as they are the most common claims made on landlord insurance. Average claim figures are based on our own data.
- Broken or burst water pipes
It is most likely that this will be caused by a burst or broken pipe and it accounts for around a third of all insurance claims. It’s also one of the more expensive incidents, costing an average of £2,500 to repair damage to ceilings and walls, and replace carpets and other affected furnishings.
To minimise the risk of your property suffering water damage and give yourself the best chance of a successful insurance claim:
- Where pipework is concealed – e.g. behind tiles or walls – make sure there is easy access via a panel
- Make sure your tenants now how to turn off the stop cock in an emergency
- Remind your tenants to let whoever is managing the property know if they’re going to be away during the winter months, so someone can check on it
- Encourage tenants to keep the heating on low during particularly cold spells
- Ensure kitchens and bathroom water is draining away easily during inspections.
- Weather related damage
Keeping the property well maintained should help protect against storm damage, which has an average claim of £1,181. So:
- Clear guttering and drains regularly, particularly before and after winter
- Check the roof and brickwork each year and after any storm, to make sure there are no gaps or missing tiles where water could get in
- Ensure all windows and doors - on the property itself and any outbuildings – have good locks and seals to prevent them blowing open.
- Damage from break-ins & theft
Make sure the property is secure and, importantly, looks secure. Keep windows and doors in good condition and fitted with appropriate locks, and you might consider external motion-activated security lighting. The average claim for damage from break-ins and burglary is £2,358.
- Accidental damage by tenants
Accidental damage is virtually unavoidable and tenants can be a bit less careful when things don’t belong to them. While you might not claim for smaller things, you might want to be reimbursed for spillages and breakages that affect larger items of furniture or carpets – average claim £660. But be aware there is a difference between damage and wear and tear, such as a carpet fraying.
- : make sure all soft furnishings are treated with fabric protector.
- Malicious damage by tenants
Vandalism by tenants, although relatively rare, costs an average of £1,304 to repair. While proper reference checks and screening usually filters out the ‘bad’ ones, you should still make sure you have this cover. The policy will also extend to malicious damage to the property by non-tenants.