Specialist landlord insurance

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Specialist Home Insurance For Landlords through MoneyExpert

Specialist landlord insurers

Specialist landlord insurers

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Home insurance for landlords

Renting out a property can be lucrative, but it also comes with a range of financial and legal risks. Standard buildings' insurance and content insurance policies won’t be sufficient to cover these and are typically invalidated when a property provides rental income and is being let out on a long-term basis.

If you’re one of the two million Britons renting out a residential property, you’ll need landlord insurance for it. This is called landlord insurance or buy to let insurance. These policies provide protection against the damage, theft or loss of the structure and contents of your rental property, as well as against other liabilities faced by landlords. Landlord insurance is tax deductible, which means it is classed as an allowable expense that can be deducted from the rental income achieved from the property.

In This Guide:

What does landlord insurance cover?

If you have a property to rent, the likelihood is you'll need landlord insurance in order to protect yourself financially. As with other home insurance policies, landlords insurance can provide buildings and contents cover.

  • Buildings insurance: buildings insurance within landlord insurance provides you with compensation for the repair of the building and permanent fixtures of the home (such as bathroom and kitchen fittings) if they are damaged or lost in a fire, flood, storm, other natural disaster, collision or as a consequence of a leak or crime, or another insured event.
  • Contents insurance: contents insurance within landlord insurance gives you compensation for the repair or replacement of furnishings and appliances you have provided with the rental property. Even if you’re renting out the property unfurnished, you’ll want contents cover for the appliances you are legally required to provide - these won’t be covered by a buildings insurance policy. Note that landlord content insurance policies don’t apply to the possessions that your tenants store in the property. They’ll need to take out their own insurance policy, sometimes called tenants insurance.

What additional cover can you get on a landlord insurance policy?

You can also obtain additional landlord insurance cover to protect you against the specific risks, liabilities, and legal obligations of being a landlord. These include:

  • Damage or Theft by Tenants: covers you if your tenants steal your property’s contents or damage its furnishings, structure or fixtures, whether accidentally or deliberately. By contrast, standard contents insurance policies generally don’t cover theft unless there’s sign of forced entry and won’t cover deliberate destruction.
  • Home Emergency Cover: if your rental property’s electricity, heating or plumbing fail, or if damage to windows and doors compromise its security, as a landlord you are legally required to repair them as soon as possible. Home emergency cover within your landlord insurance policy can reimburse you for the cost of emergency repairs.
  • Property Owner's Liability: if a tenant or one of their visitors suffers harm as a result of a fault in your rental property, you can be held legally and financially liable. This provision covers you against claims for compensation and legal expenses. Look for a landlord insurance policy with at least £1 million of liability cover.
  • Rental Protection Insurance/Loss of Rent: compensates you for any loss of rental income if the property is rendered uninhabitable due to an insured event.
  • Tenant Default/Rent Guarantee Insurance: rent guarantee insurance is protection for your rental income and reimburses you if your tenants don’t pay rent. You’re generally entitled to payments equal to the rent you were charging—although typically capped at £2,500 a month. You qualify for these payouts after your tenants have failed to pay rent for two consecutive months.
  • Legal Costs: covers your expenses if you incur legal costs pursuing legal help or action in disputes with tenants, including eviction proceedings, removal of squatters and the pursuit of lost rent.
  • Unoccupied Property Insurance: most home insurance policies are invalidated after a property has been vacant for 30 or 60 consecutive days. Rental properties may be empty for this long between tenants and you’ll need unoccupied property insurance to secure them. To keep this cover valid, you may need to undertake regular check on the property.
  • Alternative Accommodation insurance: this covers the cost of temporary alternative accomodation if your rental property becomes unusable, for example as a result of a flood or fire. The cover should run up until your property is made habitable again and tenants are able to return.
  • Rent Guarantee: often part of legal expenses cover within landlordinsurance, rent guarantee insurance covers for unpaid rent after you have served an eviction notice. It will also cover the cost of repossessing the property. Rent guarantee insurance offers peace of mind if your tenants hit financial difficulties and become unable to meet their rental payments.

Who is landlord insurance for?

Landlords insurance is for owners who rent out residential properties for long periods of time. Landlords of commercial buildings will need to obtain a different type of insurance.

Specialist landlord insurance isn’t a legal requirement, but it’s a wise financial precaution. Additionally, some lenders will require you to take out landlords insurance as a condition of your buy to let mortgage.

Standard home insurance won’t be sufficient for rental properties, failing to protect you against eventualities like deliberate damage by tenants and theft of contents by them. It also won’t give you the legal and financial protections you may need as a landlord, including liability insurance and rental guarantee. A standard home insurance policy will be invalidated if you rent out the property.

If you have multiple residential rental properties, you may be able to secure a single landlord insurance policy for all of them, saving you hassle and money.

How to Save Money on Landlord Insurance

Ensuring you're not overpaying for your landlord insurance while still receiving comprehensive coverage is crucial. Here are some tips to help you save money on your landlord insurance without compromising on the protection you need for your rental property.

Shop Around and Compare Quotes

Don't settle for the first quote you receive. Use comparison services like ours here at MoneyExpert to compare policies from different insurers. This will help you find the best deal that offers the coverage you need at a more competitive price.

Opt for a Higher Excess

Choosing to pay a higher excess can lower your premium. However, ensure that the excess you agree to is affordable, as you will need to pay this amount before your insurer covers any claims.

Bundle Policies

If you own multiple properties, consider insuring them under a single policy. Many insurers offer discounts for multiple properties, which can save you time and money.

Review Your Coverage Annually

Your insurance needs may change over time. Review your policy annually to ensure it still provides the coverage you need. Remove any unnecessary extras that may be inflating your premium.

Implement Security Measures

Insurers often offer discounts for properties with enhanced security features, such as burglar alarms, smoke detectors, and secure locks. These measures can reduce the risk of claims, potentially lowering your premiums.

Pay Annually

If possible, pay for your policy annually rather than monthly. Insurers often charge extra for the convenience of spreading payments, so paying upfront can save you money over the year.

Maintain a Good Claims History

A history of few or no claims can qualify you for a no-claims discount on your landlord insurance. Maintain your property well and address issues promptly to avoid unnecessary claims.

Understand Your Policy

Ensure you fully understand what your policy covers and any exclusions. This knowledge can prevent you from paying for overlapping coverages or for features you don't need.

How do you compare landlord insurance quotes?

The best way to compare landlord insurance and find a policy that provides all the cover you need is to shop around. Money Expert is a price comparison site and can help you get competitive landlord insurance quotes from specialist insurance brokers, helping you find the best available landlord insurance policies for price and terms.

To get quotes for landlord insurance, you’ll need to supply the following information:

  • the rental property’s address
  • the date the rental property was built
  • how long you have owned the rental property
  • the type of property (flat or house). If it’s a flat, you’ll also need details about the building it’s in and its use (residential or commercial)
  • details of the location of the property, including whether it’s in a flood plain or near large trees or has experienced subsidence
  • information about the security of the property, including its lock and alarms
  • whether the property is fitted with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (These precautions are typically required as a condition of landlord insurance. Not having them, or not having working ones, could invalidate any claims you make on your policy. So, make sure you’re testing them and replacing batteries.)
  • details about the tenants living in the property, including their occupations and the length of the tenancy agreement. Insurers see thorough tenant referencing as a risk management strategy and may reward you with lower premiums on your landlord insurance.
  • details about yourself and any claims you’ve made on other insurance policies in the last five years

Frequently asked questions

How much does landlord insurance cost?

This will vary dramatically depending on what kind of policy you want to go for. If you are insuring numerous or particularly valuable properties then this will come into play when calculating your premium. The level of cover will also be factored in. While most landlord insurance policies cover building insurance and contents insurance for your rental properties, some will also include things like loss of rent due to a tenant being unable to make payment.

What should I look for in landlord insurance?

When taking out landlord insurance, the most important thing to watch out for is that you are appropriately covered for what you need. There can be more risks that come with being a landlord than a renter so double-checking your specialist landlord insurance policy contains everything you need is even more crucial than with standard home insurance.

Who pays for building insurance, landlords or tenants?

In most cases, the building insurance will be covered by the landlord but some portion of the cost may be added on to rent or come as part of a service charge. It’s important to note that there is no legal requirement for a landlord to have building insurance.

Does landlord insurance cover wear and tear?

In most instances, wear and tear will be covered by landlord insurance. You'll get the same level of protection as you would with standard building insurance but just for properties that you rent out rather than live in. There will be certain stipulations to this though, and you may need to take some precautions in the first place to minimise wear and tear in order for a claim to be successful.

Could anything invalidate landlord insurance?

Yes, just as with other home insurance policies, leaving the property exposed by not locking doors or windows or failing to use a home alarm system, if available, could lead to your landlord insurance policy being invalidated and not paying out in the event of a break-in. Tenants living at the property should be made aware of these conditions of insurance and be committed to protecting the property accordingly.

Do I need landlord insurance or just building insurance?

Landlord insurance is different and more comprehensive than building insurance. Landlord insurance is designed to cover landlords from risks they incur when letting a property to tenants. Landlord insurance typically includes buildings and content insurance as well as other specific cover such as tenant default cover, which is protection for the landlord if tenants do not pay the owed rent, and other landlord liabilities. Normal home insurance won’t cover a let property and won’t give the level of protection that’s needed by landlords.

What does landlord insurance cover?

Landlord insurance typically covers building, contents, rental income, accidental damage cover for any instances of damage caused by tenants, theft by tenants, legal action taken against you, property owner’s liability, squatter eviction. Naturally, the more cover you include in your policy and the higher your premium will be so shop around and compare landlord insurance offers to ensure you get a good deal and the policy you go for is appropriate for your needs.

Can landlords take out traditional home insurance?

Traditional home insurance policies are designed for owner-occupiers and may not provide enough cover for rental properties. Landlords should opt for specialist landlord insurance tailored to their needs, which can cover rental income protection and liability insurance.

Will landlord insurance cover me if my tenants don't pay rent?

Some landlord insurance policies offer cover for loss of rental income due to tenant non-payment. However, this type of cover isn't included as standard and may be available as an add-on instead.

Is landlord insurance suitable for live-in landlords?

Yes, landlord insurance can still be beneficial for live-in landlords who rent out a portion of their property to tenants. It provides protection against risks associated with renting out a property, such as property damage, liability claims, and loss of rental income. However, if you rent out your home to lodgers rather than tenants, they may be covered under a traditional home insurance agreement.

Do I need more than one insurance policy if I own multiple properties?

It depends on the insurer and the coverage options available. Some landlord insurance policies offer coverage for multiple properties under a single policy, known as portfolio insurance. Alternatively, you may need separate policies for each property.

Is landlord emergency cover worth it?

Landlord emergency cover provides assistance and financial protection in case of emergencies such as boiler breakdowns, burst pipes, or electrical failures. Whether it's worth it depends on your individual circumstances and risk tolerance. Consider factors such as the age and condition of your properties and the potential cost of emergency repairs when deciding whether to add this type of cover to your policy.

Do I legally have to take out landlord insurance if I'm a landlord?

There is no legal requirement for landlords to have landlord insurance. However, it's highly recommended to protect your investment and mitigate financial risks associated with renting out a property.

Do landlords need contents insurance?

Landlords can benefit from contents insurance if they rent out furnished properties or provide appliances, furnishings, or other contents for their tenants' use. It can also cover the cost of repairing or replacing items damaged or stolen by tenants. If you rent out unfurnished properties, contents insurance may be less important, but it's still worth considering if there are any items in the property that belong to you.

Related guides

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Last reviewed: 1 July 2024

Next review: 1 August 2024