Your property is an asset you’ve worked hard to purchase. You want that asset to work hard in return and earn you a rental income. Having landlord insurance protects you financially against the risks that come with renting your property out.
What’s the difference between landlord insurance and building insurance?
Building insurance covers you for the structure of your property in the case of damage caused by events such as fires, explosions, storms, floods and earthquakes. Landlord insurance is a little more complicated, and insures you against loss of income or damage to your property while renting it out to tenants.
What does landlord insurance typically cover
Landlord insurance protects you financially against the risks of renting out your property that aren’t covered by other types of home and contents insurance policies.
Some of these risks may include:
- Theft or burglary by tenants (or their guests)
- Damage to building or permanent fittings and fixtures caused by tenants (or their guests)
- Loss of rent due to a tenant defaulting on rental payments (this is especially important if you’re relying on rent to pay your mortgage repayments)
- Legal expenses associated with tenant disputes
- Damage to permanent fittings and fixtures caused by explosion, flood, or fire
- Loss of rent if property becomes uninhabitable due to repairs from an insured event
Questions for your insurer
Insurance policies vary in value. And the fine print of each policy will be very different, so it’s important to ask your insurer the right questions and combe through the inclusions and exclusions carefully.
When shopping around, keep the following questions handy:
- Are there limits on the amount I can claim when a tenant fails to pay rent?
- Is malicious damage caused by tenants or their friends included under the policy? (Some policies only include accidental damage)
- In the event of flood or fire damage, am I also covered for loss of rent during repair works?
- Will I get reimbursed for re-letting expenses if a tenant has to be evicted, or they break their lease agreement?
- Does the policy include professional tax audit fees?
- Are there restrictions on claims for legal expenses in the case of tenant disputes?
Your property – taking out a tailored insurance policy
The thing about landlord insurance is it works best when your policy is tailored to your property – i.e. you’re covered for the risks that pose the greatest threat. Every property presents different risks.
To identify your insurance needs, consider the following questions:
- Will I be renting out to long-term or short-term tenants? (If you intend to rent your property as a holiday let, you may have specialised short-term rental insurance requirements)
- Will I rent my property out furnished or unfurnished? If you choose the furnished option, you’ll need to find an insurer who can incorporate contents insurance into your insurance package
- Is my property located within a flood, fire or tsunami zone? (You can call the local council to find out, or the insurer may be able to check for you. Either way, make sure you take out a policy that protects you against loss of income and damage caused by such events)
Getting a great deal on your landlord insurance
As with any important purchase, it pays to shop around before you commit. Each insurer will ‘package’ the costs and benefits up differently, and the cheapest policy may not necessarily give you the best value for money.
Getting great value out of your landlord insurance policy
A successful rental property is managed like a business. That means being professional, maintain your property, keeping records and having adequate insurances in place so you get the financial protection you need.
To get the most out of your landlord insurance policy, it’s worth considering a few simple tips:
- Get insurance before renting out your property: you’re entering the unknown with a new tenant, so you want to have insurance in place to have protection just in case.
- Conduct regular inspections: You want to know your tenants are looking after your property. If they’re not, you need to identify issues before they escalate.
- Keep detailed reports (including supporting photographs): This way, you’ll be able to back up your arguments for making a claim.
Learn more about landlord insurance in your state:
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