How to choose the right landlord insurance

Getting the right cover for your rental property is vital to protect it if the worst should happen. Here is how to choose the right landlord insurance.

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Work out what cover you need

Your sums insured are the values of what you need your policy to cover. The main sums insured you need to calculate are your buildings, contents and property owners' liability:

    If you do not give the correct sums to your insurer, you may not be able to recover the full cost of any claims.

    Find out more about what landlord insurance can cover here

    Choose the right loss of rent cover

    This covers the loss of your rental income if your tenants have to move out because of damage to your property.

    It is important to get the right cover to protect loss of rental income, especially if you rely on your rent to pay your mortgage. Your insurer will ask you to specify:

      Loss of rent cover is not the same as rent guarantee protection, which covers you if your tenants fail to pay. Here is more information about rent guarantee insurance.

      Cover your tenants

      Tell your insurer the type of tenants you let to, as this will determine the sort of cover you need and may affect the price of your insurance:

        Decide what optional cover you need

        You can tailor most landlord insurance policies to include extra cover you may need, including:

          Look at specialist insurance

          Some properties need more specialist cover than others, so speak to an insurer who can offer the right cover for your circumstances:

          Houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs)

          A property is classed as a house of multiple occupancy if both of the following apply:

            If you own an HMO you may need a licence from your local council, and there will be a number of extra responsibilities you will need to meet.

            Some insurers cannot offer cover for HMOs or will charge more. If you have an HMO, an insurance broker can help you find specialist cover.

            Portfolio insurance

            If you own several rental properties, it could be cheaper for you to insure all of them on one portfolio policy.

            Most landlord insurers offer a discount for covering more than two properties under one policy, and you get the convenience of one policy document and one renewal date.

            You should still compare single landlord policies to make sure you get the right cover for you at the best price.

            Unoccupied properties

            Most landlord insurance policies include full unoccupied property cover for a period of 30 days. This means you still get full cover while your property is empty.

            Some insurers offer unoccupied cover for longer periods, for example 90 days, but once this time is up you must meet the following conditions:

              *Unless the electricity is supplying a security alarm.

              If you fail to meet these conditions while your property is unoccupied, you may lose cover and your insurer will refuse any claims you make.

              If your rental property will be empty for a long time, look at getting specialist unoccupied property insurance.

              Pick your excess

              Most insurers let you pick your excess, which affects how much you pay for your insurance. You can also pick different excesses for each section of cover.

              A lower excess often means you pay more, but a higher excess may give you a discount.

              Here is how to save money on your landlord insurance

              Keep your insurer up to date

              Once you take out cover, it is important to keep your insurer up to date with changes like:

                Your insurer may refuse to pay your claims if you fail to inform them of changes to your circumstances, so make sure you call them to update your details as soon as possible.