Landlord house insurance – frequently asked questions

November 9, 2011

Landlords Insurance

You may be starting to consider landlord house insurance if you are thinking about making the transition to earning income from your property (or properties).


If so, you may find the following questions and answers to be helpful.


How is landlord house insurance different to owner-occupier cover?


At a first glance, an owner-occupier policy and one designed for a landlord, may appear to be broadly similar.


Typically they will both provide cover for the building, its contents (if you opt for contents cover) and possibly claims against you from members of the public (third party liability cover).


However, if you look below the surface you will see significant differences.  Those may include, in a landlord house insurance policy, things such as cover for malicious damage caused by tenants or a loss of rental income in the event your property is damaged and you are forced to ask tenants to leave during repairs.


The differences are too numerous to mention in detail but many of them revolve around the simple fact that, as a landlord, your property typically faces different risk profiles to one that is owner-occupied.


What happens to my existing owner-occupier insurance if I start to rent out my property?


You may need to consult your policy to be sure but typically it will immediately become invalid either in all or part.


Note that this may apply even if you are only renting out one of two rooms of your house and you continue to occupy the remainder as your own place of domicile.


Is landlord insurance more expensive than owner-occupier cover?


It may be misleading to try and compare one form of insurance against another, as they are addressing significantly different situations and risk factors.


We will always work with you to try and find insurance that is suitable and as cost-effective as possible.


What happens if my property stands empty?


It may be advisable to think about property being unoccupied as opposed to empty, as the latter expression may cause confusion between furnished and unfurnished properties.


Typical landlord insurance will cover properties that are unoccupied (e.g. while waiting for new tenants or during redecoration etc) for a specified period of time only – typically somewhere in the region of 30-90 days depending upon the exact circumstances and insurer concerned.


After that time, to ensure continuity of cover, you should seek to put in place unoccupied property insurance.


The reason this is required is, once again, to do with risk profiles.


Insurers may regard an unoccupied property as being at higher risk of burglary and vandalism or cumulative damage due to an unnoticed problem (e.g. a leaking pipe) than one that is occupied.


That is why landlord house insurance may not cover unoccupied properties indefinitely and why additional insurance may be required in such cases.



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