As a landlord, you’re not just responsible for your property; you’re also responsible for the people living in it.
While this might feel like a big obligation, as long as you plan properly, make yourself aware of your responsibilities and have the right landlord insurance, there shouldn’t be any cause for sleepless nights.
Navigating different landlord insurance options can feel like a minefield, so read on for our essential guide to what it is and why it’s so important.
Let’s start with the basics. Landlord insurance is a policy that covers you for the ups and downs of the rental market.
While being a landlord is a great way to earn a secondary income, there are risks associated with having tenants. For this reason, it’s wise to have specific cover that goes beyond regular household insurance.
For example, let’s say there’s a fire in your property or it becomes flooded. These situations are difficult enough to deal with, but when you’re a landlord, they can be a lot more stressful.
Not only do you have your repair obligations to consider, you may also need to cover the costs of rehoming your tenants while the property is repaired. On top of that, you could be facing a stretch with no rental income while the work is carried out.
This is just one example of the type of scenario where landlord insurance can protect you.
At the very least, you’ll want to choose insurance that covers you for the most common risks associated with being a landlord. Our advice? Make sure your policy includes the following:
● Buildings insurance cover – This is the underpinning element of most landlord insurance policy; insurance for the building itself. Buildings insurance covers you for any damage to your property resulting from things like fires or floods. If you rent out a leasehold property, buildings insurance will most likely be covered by the freeholder.
● Landlord contents insurance – If you provide any furnishings or kitchen appliances for your tenants, we recommend taking out contents insurance. It’s particularly important if you’re renting out a fully-furnished property. Our landlord contents insurance includes new-for-old replacement of any furniture that gets damaged by your tenants. If you’re the landlord of a leasehold property where the buildings insurance is covered by the freeholder, ‘contents only’ cover would be a good option for you.
● Landlord liability insurance – This is a type of public liability insurance to protect you if a claim is made against you, should someone injure themselves on your property. For example, one of your tenants might slip on some loose carpet or hurt themselves on broken fittings. Even if you’re found not to be at fault, you could still face expensive legal fees, so this element can give you some much-needed peace of mind.
● Boiler breakdown cover – A broken boiler can be disastrous, especially if it happens in winter. But if your boiler is properly insured, you can get it fixed fast without worrying about the cost and your tenants will be eternally grateful. Don’t forget, when a boiler problem crops up, it’s your obligation as a landlord to fix it within a reasonable timeframe.
Find out more about this in A Guide To Landlord Boiler Cover .
● Accommodation cover – As the name suggests, this insurance will cover you if you need to re-house your tenants after a flood or fire. If disaster strikes and you can't fix your rental property quickly, you not only face missing out on rent from the property being empty, but also additional costs to cover your tenants’ accommodation. Our landlord cover includes a provision for re-housing your tenants (subject to policy terms) to help you all get through what could potentially be an incredibly stressful time.
Once you’ve made sure you’re covered for the basics above, there are some other elements you might choose to include in your landlord insurance, depending on your specific needs:
● Loss of rent cover – If your property is damaged and needs to stay empty for a while, loss of rent cover will make sure you aren’t out of pocket. So if missing out on your rental income will cause real problems, consider this extra cover.
Find out more in A Guide To Landlord Rent Insurance .
● Theft by tenant – If you have any valuables in the property, like TVs or kitchen appliances, you might want to add theft by tenant cover onto your policy. This will cover the cost of replacing any items which are stolen by your tenants.
● Subsidence cover – Whether or not you need this cover will probably depend on the nature and location of your property. If in doubt, arrange a survey to find out if subsidence is an issue. Along with flood or fire damage, subsidence is one of the biggest threats to your property’s structure (which you're responsible for maintaining).
● Emergency insurance – This protects your property in case of emergencies, including plumbing and heating problems, issues with door or window security, complications with your roof (e.g. leaks), lost keys, and vermin infestations. It also covers the costs of last-minute overnight accommodation for your tenants if the property suddenly becomes unsafe or unsecure.
Find out more Landlord Emergency Insurance: What You Need To Know .
This isn’t usually included in standard policies, but there are two add-ons you can make to your landlord insurance that’ll cover you for tenant damage:
● Accidental damage cover – You can choose to add accidental damage cover for the building or the contents of your property. Accidents can happen, so this is one way to give you more peace of mind.
● Malicious damage cover – This will help you put right any deliberate damage that’s been done to your property. While you can’t always prevent vandalism, this addition will cover the clear-up costs after.
With our cover, you’ll get:
● Access to a free 24/7 legal helpline, so you can get advice on legal issues whenever they arise.
● A policy that’s tailored to you – With NatWest landlord insurance you can extend your legal cover or include more liability cover, depending on your specific needs.
● Flexible cover – Bought another buy-to-let? You can add new properties to an existing policy any time.
If you want to discuss your landlord insurance requirements in more detail, or you have questions about what cover is right for you, give our experts a call. They’ll make sure you get the landlord cover you need.