Standard home insurance usually won’t cover you if you rent your house out to tenants, therefore it’s worth looking into landlord insurance. It provides protection should anything go wrong in the property.
When you buy it, you don’t need to pay over the odds and it’s worth doing some research first to make sure the policy fits your needs and you’re not paying too much for it.
Your home and contents are covered - plus extras including lost rent
The policy will cover the building plus any of your contents which are inside it, such as sofas, chairs or tables. It will provide cover for damage, loss or theft but make sure this is included as standard - some insurers will ask for an extra payment for accidental damage.
There should also be cover for things related to the tenants, this includes lost rent, accidents or malicious damage by the tenants, eviction of squatters if a tenant refuses to leave, public liability if someone is injured in the home and legal expenses if you need to take legal action against a tenant.
Regular checks need to be carried out on appliances
The policy usually lasts 12 months but if it’s vacant for 30 days or more you’ll need to tell the insurer - and may need to pay an extra fee.
There are a few requirements with landlord insurance, such as installing a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm and telling the insurer what the tenants do. If they are students or unemployed, for example, the price may be higher as with these groups there will be a higher risk that they won’t be able to pay the rent.
You’ll also need to make sure things like the boiler gets its annual safety check and appliances in the house are safe to use.
How to hammer down the price
When you buy landlord insurance, don’t just accept the first price you’re given.
- Check multiple quotes on comparison website
Using a comparison website is an easy way to see lots of different quotes in one go. This is a quick and easy way to get an idea of how much you should be paying - but also remember some insurers including Direct Line aren’t listed on these websites.
- Don’t over or underestimate the value
Before you buy a policy, make sure you’ve given the wording a look over. You’ll be asked to provide the rebuild value for the property, for example, and if this is incorrect you may end up paying too much for the insurance - or if it’s too little you could be left short if you need to make a claim.
The Association of British Insurers has a free calculator to give you an idea of how much you should be looking at.
- Make sure your property is secure
Adding an alarm and solid locks on windows and doors can help to lower the premium, while if it’s in a Neighbourhood Watch area this can also help.
- Tweak the excess to lower the price
You may be able to cut down the overall cost if you change the excess you pay if a claim is made. Although if you do this be aware that you’ll need to have the money handy in the event of a claim.
If you’re having trouble finding insurance, approach the British Insurance Brokers' Association as it can help you find a specialist policy.