The differences between landlord and home insurance

As a landlord, it is important that you ensure your property is adequately protected when you let it out to tenants. As well as the standard risks such as fire, or escape of water which could happen to anyone, tenant or owner, you also have to consider any other risk that may be possible when you let out your home to tenants.  Whilst the vast majority of tenants will treat their home well and take good care of the property - in our Landlord Survey, we found that some 90% of landlords were happy with their tenants.  However it's also a fact of life, that accidents do still happen and it's in your best interests to ensure you have adequate cover.’

Why do I need landlord insurance?

Insurance that’s specifically fit for purpose will be needed when you become a landlord. Why is this? Well, when you rent out a property, the associated risks are different. These lettings specific risks won’t all be covered under a standard home insurance policy, so you need something more tailored and comprehensive.

For example, if you make a claim on home insurance taken out in your name when letting out a property, your insurer may reject it. This, in turn, could leave you out of pocket and potentially footing a sizeable bill. Without specialist landlord insurance, you could find you are not covered at all and that your investment could be in jeopardy as a result.

It doesn’t matter if you’re renting out a single property or looking to insure an expanding property portfolio, you’ll need to consider specialist landlord insurance to ensure you’re properly covered and your investment is protected against risks and unexpected costs.

Once you have landlord insurance, it’s also of the utmost importance that you let your insurer know about any change in circumstances. This includes a change to the type of tenants your house or if you are renovating or decorating the property for an extended period of time which exceeds 180 days, tenancies and the time your property is empty between tenancies, otherwise known as a ‘void period’.

While you are under no legal obligation to insure a property you’re renting out, it makes sense on many levels to do so. If you’ve taken out a mortgage on your property rather than buying it outright, as many landlords do, your lender may be insistent that you have adequate insurance in place for the building.

With this in mind, you should look for insurance options that are specifically designed for landlords as it will help you safeguard your financial future.

Tips for Landlords The differences between landlord and home insurance

What does our landlord insurance include?

Every landlord insurance policy will have different features, but here is what ours includes:

  • Cover towards the loss of rent incurred, or the cost of alternative accommodation if the property is unfit to be lived in following an insured event
  • The option to add cover, up to the sum insured, for the repair of malicious damage caused by tenants, this includes protection to repair damage caused by a tenant’s use of the property for the illegal manufacturing of drugs
  • Up to £1,000 towards the cost of replacing the locks should the keys to the property be stolen (if you opt to cover your contents)
  • Up to £1,000 to cover the accidental loss of metered water and gas at a property because of an insured peril.
  • Up to £2,500 for items stolen from an outbuilding at your property (providing you’ve covered your contents).
  • Property Owners Liability to cover any accidents that result in loss or damage to a third party property or illness or injury to a person.
  • Optional Legal Expenses cover in respect of proceedings for insured incidents such as recovery of rent, eviction or property damage.
  • Rent Guarantee cover can be added which provides up to 12 months cover in respect of rent arrears owed by the tenant and includes Legal Expenses.
  • Optional Cover for the cost of any emergency repairs that are required following an emergency at the property, such as a loss of central heating. This includes up to £250 for emergency overnight accommodation.
  • If the property is unfit to be lived in following an insured incident, cover is provided towards the cost of alternative accommodation.
  • The optional emergency cover includes an emergency helpline which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

What protection can landlord insurance offer?

Deciding on the right level of cover for your property can prove tricky, the cheapest policy might not necessarily be suited to your needs. You need to check that the policy you opt for gives you all the protection you require.

It’s important to remember that Landlord’s Insurance can include many different elements, including buildings insurance, contents insurance, liability insurance, emergency assistance insurance, legal expenses insurance and rent guarantee, so you need to carefully consider which elements of cover you might want when coming to your decision. 

How does bad weather affect insurance claims?

In February and March 2018, the UK was hit by a particularly vicious cold spell – nicknamed the Beast from the East – which, along with Storm Emma, wrought chaos across the country.

Freezing winds, snow, rain and extremely cold temperatures battered Britain for a couple of weeks, causing some of the worst weather seen in years. Travel was severely disrupted, schools and hospitals were closed, and the Met Office issued a number of red alerts as the cold snap stung.

As you’d expect, the severe weather led to a number of issues with people’s homes and, later, a considerable number of insurance claims. According to the Association of British Insurers, the widespread disruption saw insurance claims rocket by 290% in the first quarter of 2018, with property insurers paying out a record amount in burst pipe claims.

Overall, £1.25 billion was paid by insurers under domestic and commercial property insurance policies in Q1 2018 – the highest quarterly figure for two years - while insurance pay-outs to homeowners and businesses for storm, flood and burst pipe damage leapt to £361 million, 290% up on the £93 million paid in the previous quarter. The number of claims handled also jumped to 86,000 from 29,000 in the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, £194 million was paid out to help homeowners cope with burst pipes - the highest amount ever paid in a single quarter and up from just £4 million paid out in the fourth quarter of 2017.

With severe cold spells set to become more common in the future as a result of climate change, it’s even more important than ever that your homes are well maintained and adequately insured to prevent you from being out of pocket.

Where can I get my landlord insurance?

Like with any financial decision, it’s important to explore all the available options before committing to a product. You should compare and research different landlord products on the market to ensure you have the right one for you.

Be careful to scrutinise closely what is covered, so you know exactly what you are getting from your landlord package. What’s more, it’s a wise idea to check company reviews using a peer-to-peer review platform such as Feefo.

On Feefo’s website, our landlord insurance has been given a customer experience rating of 4.6 out of 5 by 5,538 of our customers. We also offer a 15% discount on building and contents insurance when you buy our product online

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