Tag Archives: landlords insurance

5 top tips on landlords contents insurance

February 19, 2013

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Although the subject of contents insurance may seem to be intuitively straightforward, in fact there are a number of things to consider when you are purchasing this type of cover:

  1. do you need it?  In some circumstances, it might be advisable to think twice whether it is actually cost-effective for you to purchase landlords’ contents insurance at all.  Classic examples might include situations where you were letting your house or flat unfurnished or where your furnishings and contents were relatively basic and of low value;
  2. what does it cover?  This is really just a general but important point relating to the significance of any insurance policy’s terms and conditions. For example, you might find that certain categories of contents are not covered at all and that is something you may want to know about in advance rather than after the event;
  3. are you pushing up the premium unnecessarily?  Certain categories of goods typically worry the providers of let property contents insurance, possibly including things such as high value entertainment systems, flat screen TVs, computers, electronic gadgets, antiques and designer-label furnishings. Even if the policy agrees to cover them, it might add significantly to the premium.  You may wish to question whether your business model makes it absolutely necessary for you to put these types of contents into your property;
  4. have you taken a full inventory?  It is all too easy to underestimate the value of contents and one way to avoid doing so is to take a full room-by-room inventory of all of your contents and allocate a value to them individually.  You should arguably be doing this anyway, as part of good landlord practice relating to inventories and tenancy agreements etc ;
  5. do all of your contents conform to legal requirements?  Remember that there are safety regulations governing things such as electrical appliances and portable fuel heaters as well as some furnishings etc.  If these have not met the requirements of safety checks then not only may they not be covered but they might easily invalidate significant components of your overall landlords’ insurance.

At CIA Insurance, we recognise that it isn’t always easy to form a strategy for the protection of your contents in a let property. That’s why we will always work with you to understand your exact situation and to try and help you identify the most appropriate way forward.

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Why is specialised landlord house insurance necessary?

March 31, 2012

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Sometimes some landlords wonder why they need special landlord house insurance and cannot simply use owner-occupier cover.

This may be particularly the case in situations where a landlord has only recently started to let out a property they had previously occupied as their own home or where they have taken in tenants to a part of a property they also occupy themselves as their own place of domicile.

The reason why landlords contents insurance may be essential in such circumstances is simply to do with risk.

Owner-occupier home buildings and contents insurance is written around the insurance provider’s understanding of the typical risks associated with such a property.

However, once you have tenants in a property, insurance providers typically believe that the risk profile changes considerably and this leads to the requirement for specific landlords insurance cover.

There are a number of examples as to why the risks change but perhaps one of those that is easy to illustrate relates to third party public liability cover.

This form of protection may be important to any property owner because anyone may be sued if someone is injured or suffers damage to their property, as a result of your house.

Yet the moment you have tenants in your property, the risks of you being sued for accidents that have arisen because of your bricks and mortar, may increase significantly simply due to the fact that you have third parties on your property for extended periods of time.

That is just one of the reasons why any existing owner-occupier insurance you may have, may cease to be effective or fully effective from the time you start earning rental income from your property.

Whether you are an owner-occupier or a landlord, it might also pay to keep in mind that if your property sits unoccupied for more than a specified period of time (typically 30-45 days) then you may also need unoccupied property insurance if cover is to be maintained.

There is no way around this requirement, as typical owner-occupier insurance does not provide landlord house insurance.  Unless you wish to run the risk of your property being uninsured, it may pay to take landlord insurance seriously and not to presume that this is something that constitutes an alternative to owner-occupier cover.

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Looking for a new landlords insurance quote?

March 27, 2012

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Spring is fast approaching and this is the time of year that many landlords traditionally start to get their house in order for the year ahead – both literally and in terms of things such as their insurance.  That is why you may be thinking about a new landlords insurance quote.

It is possible that one of your main drivers will be to see whether your existing insurance is still delivering a cost-effective solution to you.  Yet price may not be the only thing you wish to consider.

For example, perhaps in the months ahead you anticipate a period without tenants if you are planning to renovate and redecorate one of your properties.

If that is the case, it may be worth remembering that typical buy let insurance may not include cover for unoccupied properties.

Just how your policy defines unoccupied may vary but it may not be unusual to see standard landlords policies that will only cover an unoccupied property for a period of between 30 to 45 days.

After that period of time, elements of your let property insurance cover may become invalid – not a thought that may fill you with comfort as you plan your works.

Fortunately, some insurance providers offer additional cover, which they may typically term unoccupied property insurance.

In terms of alternatives, you may also wish to look at things such as whether your existing policy provides cover for all types of tenants and whether or not it provides elements of legal cover in the event you are in dispute with them.

It is difficult to be precise as to those areas that may be worth of checking out.  That may depend upon the cover your current policy is providing, however, it may be worth looking at a number of options side-by-side in order to decide whether or not you may gain some advantages by considering a change of insurance provider.

So, if you are considering looking at a new landlords insurance quote or two, it might pay to resist the temptation to focus exclusively on price.  Economic times may be relatively tough but in the final analysis, it may be the cover provided by a policy that proves to be important to you.

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Your questions on the best let property insurance

March 19, 2012

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Here are some questions and answers that may arise in the context of discussing the best let property insurance.

I have several properties – do I need to take out landlords insurance online for each of them?

Landlords insurance is obligatory if you wish to have insurance cover for a property you are obtaining rental income from.

However, you may not need to have an individual insurance policy for each of your individual properties.  It may be possible to take out what is called property portfolio insurance that would group your properties into a single element of cover.

This may offer both cost and administrative advantages for you.

Is it true that subsidence cover is not always included?

That may be correct.

At one time, subsidence was typically covered by landlords buildings insurance, however, that may no longer be the case.

If it is a particular risk to your property or one that you understandably are concerned about, then the best let property insurance for you may be those policies that do include it as standard.

What does unoccupied property insurance mean?

A standard landlords insurance policy may recognise that your property cannot be continually occupied and that (e.g.) your tenants may go on holiday etc.

As a result, such policies may provide cover for short-term unoccupied properties for up to a specified number of consecutive days – typically 30-45.  After that time, if the position continues (e.g. you have building work that overruns) then your insurance may lapse.

This is because insurance providers may see unoccupied properties as constituting a higher risk and to continue to provide cover, they may require you to take out additional unoccupied property protection.

Why does my policy exclude certain categories of tenant?

Some insurance providers may regard certain categories of tenants as being higher risk than others – in other words, they may be more likely to result in claim situations.

As a result, some policies may exclude categories such as students or DSS recipients etc.

By contrast, some other policies may cover any type of tenant you choose to let to.

What does health and safety compliance have to do with insurance?

Your legal obligations as a landlord may be complicated and this article should not be interpreted as legal advice.

What can be said is that some landlords insurance policies may contain conditions that relate to the need for you to comply with prevailing health and safety regulations (plus any other applicable law) for your insurance to be fully valid.

This may include the need for you to (e.g.) ensure that you attend to gas safety inspections as required by law and so on.

This type of requirement may be relatively commonplace in insurance policies of this nature, even those you may consider to be the best let property insurance.

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The attractions and risks of cheap insurance for landlords

March 7, 2012

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The attractions of apparently cheap insurance for landlords may be very clear.

Yet what may also need to be taken into account are the risks associated with pursuing a search for landlords insurance exclusively on the basis of the cheapest price you can find.

Your asset

You probably do not need to be told that property almost invariably constitutes a major investment of a landlord’s capital and protecting it may be of paramount importance.

Your asset may be vulnerable to any one of a number of potential problems, some of which may bring with them serious financial implications.

It may not be too much of an exaggeration to say that if you are unfortunate where property is concerned and your misfortune is combined with inadequate insurance cover, the financial costs may prove to be quite literally ruinous to you and your family.

The protection of let property insurance

This is why this type of cover exists.

Yet in one sense, there is no one such thing as landlords cover insurance because each individual policy will typically provide slightly different levels of cover governed by slightly different terms and conditions.

For example, it may no longer be safe to assume that your landlords buildings insurance will automatically cover risks relating to subsidence.  Some policies may, others may not.

Given that serious subsidence may lead to horrendous costs, including potentially the demolition of your property and its complete rebuilding, you may wish to ask yourself how comfortable you would be, knowing that this risk was not covered by your policy.

A healthy balance

That is why what is cheap insurance for one landlord might prove to be exactly the opposite for you.

It also indicates the potential dangers of selecting your insurance exclusively based on the advertised price.

You may be very pleased that you have found what appears to be cheap insurance cover but if your property subsequently suffers severe subsidence problems and you discover this is not covered by your policy, your views on the policy’s cost-effectiveness may change drastically!

Looking for cheap insurance for landlords may be understandable and even sensible, however, it might be prudent to ensure that it was a secondary objective to that of finding appropriate cover.

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Landlords Rent Guarantee Insurance

March 2, 2012

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Non-payment of rent is a serious and unfortunately common issue for many landlords. However, help is at hand in the form of an insurance policy that can protect you from this sort of disaster.

What is Rent Guarantee Insurance?

If you are worried that your tenant may not pay the rent then landlords rent guarantee insurance is what you need, covering up to £2500 per calendar month on missed rent payments.

Landlords legal expenses insurance is part of this policy because you may well find yourself in dispute with the tenant in court. The rent guarantee insurance simply goes a step further to ensure you maintain your income during the dispute.

Whatever the risk and whatever your needs for let property insurance, CIA Insurance can cover all your landlords rent guarantee insurance needs at competitive rates, over six or 12 months.

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What makes a policy the best landlords buildings insurance?

March 1, 2012

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Adverts for products proclaiming to be the best landlords buildings insurance may be very appealing to you but before you make any decisions about buying a policy, you may benefit from considering just what you mean by best and whether this matches what is being offered in the ad.

For example:

  • how much provision is there in the policy for public liability cover – some policies may be able to provide up to £5m;
  • is financial protection against subsidence included as standard in the policy – not all buy to let insurance policies may include this these days but given the amount of damage that subsidence may cause, it may be something that you feel strongly about;
  • what sort of landlords cover is on offer for situations where your tenants may have to move out while you carry out repairs on damaged caused by an insured event like a fire or flooding etc – some landlord house insurance policies may offer loss of rental income cover up to agreed limits;
  • are there any deals to be had if you are the landlord of a number of properties – some providers may offer property portfolio insurance, which may attract a discount and this may be a cost advantageous way for you to provide cover for all of your properties and help to reduce your paperwork into the bargain (this may typically be available if you have three or more properties but some providers may be able to provide this for you even if you have just two);
  • if you have a number of properties, you may also let to a number of different types of tenant so you may appreciate landlords insurance that does not exclude categories like students, DSS recipients or immigrants for example;
  • providers of buy to let cover may appreciate that what may be the best landlords insurance for you may not be the best solution for another landlord so no two policies are likely to be the same;
  • taking some time to find your best landlords buildings insurance by comparing what is on offer rather than just buying the first policy you see may help you to ensure that your needs and your property are adequately covered.
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Top questions on landlords insurance

February 21, 2012

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Here is a selection of frequently asked questions on the subject of landlords insurance.

Who needs landlords insurance?

Landlords do!

The response is slightly tongue-in-cheek but it has a serious point as the question should be more directed towards understanding how one becomes a landlord.

For typical insurance providers, the response is relatively straightforward.

If you are obtaining rental income from property (potentially including even a single room in your house that you are letting out) then you are a landlord.

That means that if you are to ensure continuity of cover for your property and its contents, you may no longer be able to manage with owner-occupier home buildings and contents insurance (which will typically become invalid once you start obtaining rental income) and will need landlords cover instead.

Is this just bureaucracy?

No.  It is a very serious point of insurance distinction.

As a landlord, your risks and liabilities change from what they may have been as an owner-occupier.  This needs to be reflected in your insurance cover for your property and its contents.

It is typically relatively easy to obtain a let property insurance quote and it may not be advisable to put this off if you are effectively a landlord.

What are the differences in cover?

Space does not permit a full discussion here but suffice to say that things such as the fact you will have tenants in your property, needs to be reflected in your insurance cover.

For example, some policies may provide cover for a loss of rental income in the event your tenants need to move out due to an insured risk making your property temporarily uninhabitable.

You may also find that such policies may have a higher level of third party liability insurance – something that it may pay to take very seriously indeed once you are dealing with tenants.

What do advertisements for the best unoccupied property insurance mean?

Whether you are an owner-occupier or a landlord, your buildings and contents insurance policy may well contain a clause that states that cover may cease in all or part, once your property stands unoccupied for more than a specified period of time.

A typical time period may be around 30 days.

After that time, if you wish to maintain continuity of cover, you may need to have what is called unoccupied property insurance.

In passing, be cautious about claims relating to insurance being the best or cheapest.  This may depend very much upon the individual requirements concerned and what proves to be one of those things for someone else may not be cover that is suitable for you.

Whether you are looking for landlords insurance or unoccupied property cover, comparing options against each other and being clear as to your own requirements, is highly advisable.

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Getting a let property insurance quote

February 5, 2012

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So, what exactly should you be looking for in a let property insurance quote?

Unfortunately there may not be one set of answers that may be apply equally to all landlords, however, you may find that some of these may be of interest and relevant to you:

  • are there any restrictions on the types of tenant your landlords insurance may cover – some policies may exclude students or DSS, for example, and this may not be acceptable to you;
  • does a policy offer you financial landlords cover for loss of rental income if your tenants have to move out should your property suffer damage from an insured risk – preserving your income stream may make a significant difference to your financial health;
  • a standard buy to let buildings policy may typically include cover for risks such as fire and flooding, smoke or storm damage, earthquakes and the like – you may find though that while subsidence is not always included in all such policies as standard, there are policies which do include it;
  • unoccupied property insurance may be required if your property is vacant for extended periods of time with the exact number of days varying from provider to provider but you may typically find between 30 and 45 days used as the cut off period;
  • you may wish to note that unoccupied property cover may impose terms and conditions different to those typically found in a standard policy – you may consider the best unoccupied property insurance to be that where these conditions were not too restrictive or too demanding (what may be best for you may not be best for another landlord);
  • if your property has been vacant since you took out your landlords cover though, you may find that some policies may provide cover for up to 90 days before unoccupied property cover was needed;
  • policies may differ in the amount of financial cover they may provide in situations where you are sued for damages by a member of the public – some policies may offer the peace of mind of cover of up to £5m;
  • there may be a lot to think about and a let property insurance quote may be the most sensible starting off point in your search for landlord insurance.
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A cheap unoccupied property insurance quote – questions and answers

January 19, 2012

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Here are the answers to some commonly heard questions on the subject of the cheap unoccupied property insurance quote.

Is unoccupied property insurance obligatory?

No landlord insurance is obligatory in the sense that it is a legal requirement.

However, in some cases, a specific buy to let mortgage may require that you have buildings cover in place and that implies landlords insurance.  You may, therefore, have a contractual obligation to ensure that your property is adequately covered in all circumstances.

If your property is likely to stand unoccupied for a period exceeding a specified number of days in the policy, then your standard let property insurance may become invalid and you may need a cheap unoccupied property insurance quote as the first stage in you maintaining your cover.

What is different about an unoccupied property?

In some respects, perhaps apparently very little is different.  There is no reason to believe that an unoccupied property is, for example, more or less likely to be struck by lightning than one that is occupied.

Yet if you look at this in terms of the total risk profile, you may see that certain categories of risk may be more prevalent in cases where a property is unoccupied.

Perhaps the best examples are that such properties may be at greater risk of illegal entry or vandalism than those that are occupied, or more vulnerable to being damaged by something that goes unnoticed, such as a water leak.

In order to cover that changed risk profile, insurance providers have a specific unoccupied property policy.

Why are a number of days specified?

Insurance providers typically recognise that your property may stand unoccupied at times for short periods while tenants are coming and going etc. In such cases, your existing policy will remain valid for the number of days specified.

Does a cheap unoccupied property insurance quote offer better value?

It may or may not do.

It may always be advisable to consider the most important thing about insurance to be the cover, protection and reassurance it provides, rather than its price tag.

If you select a particularly low-cost empty property insurance policy that subsequently turns out to be inadequate for your needs, then you may discover the hard way that what is cheap for someone else may not prove to be cheap for you.

It would be wise to ensure that you have read the policy cover carefully before making a decision to purchase it.  A good starting point would be to study very attentively the detail of your cheap unoccupied property insurance quote.

 

 

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