According to research, as many as one in four landlords might not have the right insurance for their rental property. And for those who have mistakenly taken out standard home insurance, rather than specialist landlord insurance, it could have serious financial implications.
Having tenants living in a property is considered higher risk than a homeowner living there themselves, so, if you don’t have an appropriate insurance policy, any claim you make will almost certainly be rejected. That means you’ll be left having to pay the bill for repairing any damage yourself – on top of which, only landlord insurance will cover you for rental-specific events, such as malicious damage, loss of rent and legal costs for evictions.
As far as claims on landlord insurance go, here are five of the most common claims and therefore things you should be extra-vigilant over. (Average claim figures based on our own data.)
Damage from stormy weather
With an average claim value of £1,181, you need to do all you can to help protect your rental property against storm damage:
- Make sure all windows and doors have good locks and seals so they don’t blow open or let water in. That’s for the property itself and also any outbuildings
- Check the roof and brickwork to make sure there aren’t any gaps where water could get in – inspect each year and after any storm
- Clear gutters and drains regularly, especially either side of winter
Problems caused by burst or cracked pipes
If your property suffers burst pipes, it costs an average of £2,500 to make repairs. It’s one of the more expensive claims because damage is usually quite extensive, affecting ceilings, walls, carpets and other furnishings.
Five top tips
Here are five top tips to help you reduce the risk of water damage to your property and give yourself the best chance of any insurance claim being successful. If we manage your property we will help with these issues:
- Make sure tenants know where the stop cock is and how to turn off the water if there’s a leak
- If pipework is concealed behind tiles or walls, a panel for easy access can reduce claims
- Ask tenants to keep the heating on low during very cold weather
- Make sure tenants know to inform the property manager if they’re planning a holiday over the winter so appropriate checks can be made
- Use or recommend sink and drain unblocker to help tenants avoid a build-up of waste in the pipes.
The average claim for damage from break-ins and theft is £2,358, so you’ve got to make sure the property is secure and looks secure.
- Keep windows and doors in good condition
- Fit good locks and seals
- Remind tenants to lock external doors securely when they leave the property
- Consider installing motion activated security lighting outside.
Damage by tenants
Accidents happen to us all and, unfortunately, tenants will make mistakes and accidently break things during their stay. The average claim for accidental damage is £660, usually for replacing larger items of furniture or carpets that have suffered from breakage and spillages. However, this shouldn’t be confused with ‘wear and tear’ such as a fraying carpet, which remains the landlord’s responsibility to fix.
Top Tip: treat soft furnishings with stain-resistant fabric protector.
Vandalism costs an average of £1,304 to repair. Proper reference checks and screening usually filters out ‘bad’ tenants but malicious damage can also be caused by non-tenants so it’s important to have this cover.
If you want to check you’ve got the right type and level of cover, or would like a quote, you can request a call back from one of our advisors via our website.