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March 09, 2017

Insurance Policies for Landlords

Insurance Policies for Landlords

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We talk with Surewise about the best and most effective insurance policies for landlords and how to save money on your insurance.

Is it essential to have home insurance?

If you are a homeowner and have a mortgage, then most lenders will insist that you have buildings cover to protect their investment in your property. It's not normally a requirement to have buildings cover if you are renting, but you may choose to have contents insurance. Unlike buildings cover, home contents insurance is usually not a requirement. However, both homeowners and people in rented properties often consider it a good idea to protect their possessions in case of an unexpected event such as a burglary or fire.

What is the difference between buildings insurance and contents insurance?

Contents insurance covers the contents of your home, the possessions that you would take with you if you were to move property.  Buildings Insurance protects the actual structure of your home this includes and permanent fixtures and fittings such as kitchens and bathroom suites.

See also: How to Be a Good Landlord 

What are the different types of insurance landlords should consider?

There are a range of insurance policies for landlords, the task is to find the right combination that fits their individual needs. Buildings insurance is usually a requirement from their mortgage lender, if they have mortgages on their properties. Other popular policies include landlords home emergency cover, which means their tenants can have access to a network of qualifies engineers who will fix emergencies such as burst pipes or boiler breakdowns without charge. Rent Guarantee insurance will provide protection in the event tenants default on their rent, and legal protection is a product that helps cover landlords if they need to take these cases to court for resolution.

Suitable insurance policies for landlords also include liability cover that protects them from events such as the injury or death of any individuals on your property, and can also protect against tenants who may try to sue following an accident. Interestingly, even if a property is let unfurnished, landlords may want to consider contents cover at a low level to protect them against damage to items such as carpets and curtains. Furnished properties would require higher levels of contents cover. 

What factors should someone consider when looking for insurance policies as a landlord?

Some of the key factors that Landlords should consider are that insurance companies often require notification when tenants change and that not doing so may void policies. Boilers require annual servicing and properties need to be well maintained when covered by home emergency policies. Often it's possible to obtain discounts for multiple properties and when bundling more than one type of policy together, such as home emergency and rent guarantee policies. Importantly, landlords should make sure that they choose specifically tailored insurance policies for landlords, standard policies are usually not sufficient or have clauses to prevent their use by landlords.

If I decide to build an extension to my home, how can this affect my insurance and what steps should I take?

Alterations to your home, particularly major ones such as extensions and loft conversions can significantly alter both your property and the terms of your existing buildings insurance. It's quite common for people to fail to inform their insurance company when they have these alterations made and by doing so they risk invalidating their policies. You should always contact your insurer before work commences and discuss the implications of any works in advance. Further, you should also make sure you have adequate insurance cover while the work is being carried out as it may be the rebuild value of you home will increase. You also need to make sure that your builder has liability insurance in place to cover any problems during the build.

See also: Letting a Property

I own a property abroad, can I still get a quote for an unoccupied home?

The key thing here is, do you mean an insurance policy for your home abroad or your home in the UK while you are living abroad? Reassuringly, it is possible to find insurance protection for both these scenarios, whether it is specific Holiday Home Insurance or extended cover to allow your UK property to be left for a prolonged length of time. Typically most home insurance policies that are sold in the UK provide cover for either up to 30 or 60 days in a single episode of being left unoccupied, however, it's critical that you check your specific policy wording to make sure you understand exactly what is covered and what is not.

How can I cut the cost of home insurance?

One of the simplest ways to reduce the cost of home insurance is by increasing your excess. This means that you will have to contribute more in the event of a claim, however, so should be considered carefully. Reducing the number of claims you make should also have a positive effect on your premiums. Other ways to cut the cost of your home insurance include installing security measures such as fire alarms, intruder alarms and improving door and window security. Most companies offer building and contents so it should be possible to have a discounted premium by buying them together.

Is contents insurance necessary as a landlord and how will I work out the value of my contents?

While contents insurance is usually not a requirement as buildings insurance often is, many landlords consider it necessary even for unfurnished properties. This is because unfurnished properties normally have carpets, curtains, cookers, etc. and basic contents insurance policies for landlords can protect them. One of the recommended ways of working out the value to insure your contents for is to go from room to room making a detailed list, not forgetting fixtures like curtains and carpets. An inventory could prove to be an invaluable tool in producing or starting this list. You should also make sure you understand if your policy will cover 'new for old', in which case you should consider the cost to replace the item rather than it's resale value.

Our thanks to Surewise  for their assistance with this article. Surewise provides comprehensive and affordable insurance products to cover everything from your car or scooter, your home, your pet and much more. To find out more about their services visit their website: surewise.com

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