When letting a property to tenants it is essential that you have a comprehensive landlord insurance policy in place to protect you financially against the unforeseen.
What is landlord insurance?
Landlord insurance is designed to provide you with financial protection should anything unexpected happen to your rental property, your contents within it, or the people living in it.
A good landlord home insurance policy will protect you for a whole range of eventualities. However, the most important aspects are that it will step up to cover the cost if something should happen to your property or its contents, you lose income because your tenant doesn't pay the rent or if you need to take your tenants to court.
For this reason the insurance requirements of landlords are very different from those covered by regular home insurance policies, showing how important it is to have the right policy for you.
By comparing quotes from specialist buy to let insurance companies you can be confident that you are fully covered.
Landlord building insurance
Buildings insurance for landlords is essential to protect the bricks and mortar of your rental property and the permanent fixtures within.
The amount insured must be at least equivalent to the rebuild value of your property (you can find this on your surveyors report if you're not sure). This is usually a requirement mortgage companies as a way of protecting their investment if a property is damaged beyond repair.
However, specialist landlord building insurance may also include 'loss of rent' protection; this cover will pay out if, due to an insured event (i.e. fire or flood) taking place at the rental property, it is not possible to obtain rental income.
Landlord building insurance will usually also include third party liability cover, this will provide protection if a tenant is injured due to poor maintenance of the property.
Landlord contents insurance
The level of landlord contents insurance needed for a rental property depends on whether it is let on a furnished or unfurnished basis.
Comprehensive landlord contents insurance is needed for furnished properties, whereas limited contents insurance can be obtained to cover any white goods, curtains, carpets and light fixtures included in unfurnished properties.
The majority of specialist house insurance for landlord policies offer optional add-ons relating to contents cover and although these are usually at an extra cost they can be incredibly beneficial. So be sure not to rule them out as they could save you greatly in the long run.
Landlord home emergency cover
If you opt to add landlord home emergency cover to your policy rather than just landlord home insurance, a helpline will be provided which can be called if emergency repair work is needed.
The insurance provider will then arrange for a suitable contractor to come to your property and also pay for any call out or labour charges as well as any materials and work completed up to a fixed amount.
Emergency assistance usually covers incidents relating to electricity, plumbing, cooking equipment and security measures (see individual insurers for a more comprehensive list) and can be an incredibly useful feature to add to your buy to let house insurance.
Boiler cover for landlords
In addition to landlord home emergency cover you may also want to consider whether landlord boiler cover is a feature that you should be looking to add to your landlord insurance quote.
This will pay out to cover the cost of repairs to a gas boiler or a combi boiler in your rental property up to a fixed amount, giving you the reassurance that you won't be faced with a large unexpected cost should the boiler in your buy to let property break down.
Landlord rent guarantee insurance
If you decide to add rent guarantee cover to your cheap landlord insurance policy, the insurance company will step in and provide you with replacement rental income for a set period if your tenant fails to pay rent.
This cover is especially useful if there is an outstanding mortgage on your property as it will help to ensure that you are able to continue to meet the repayments even if aren't receiving any income from your tenants.
Legal expenses cover is another add on that's commonly offered. This will provide you with the ability and legal support to evict a tenant if they are in breech of the rental agreement and also claim expenses through the courts if they fail to make rent payments.
How to compare landlord insurance quotes
Finding the best landlord insurance isn't as simple as going for the company that just offers you the cheapest insurance quote. Do this and you'll find that your cheap landlord insurance will work out expensive later on if the cover you have in place doesn't give you the protection you need.
Instead, you need to think about the type of cover you need from your policy, whether you go for just landlord insurance or add enhancements, and then obtain multiple quotes from specialist landlord insurance providers. You can use our landlords insurance comparison to compare the cover on offer from different providers, and our Advanced Search to find the policies that will give you the protection you need.
Then it's simply a case of finding which insurer will offer you the best cheap landlords insurance once you've tailored your policy to your exact requirements. Doing this will mean that whether you own single or multiple rental properties you can ensure that if the unexpected happens you and your properties will be fully covered.