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You may recognise the brand name Nationwide first and foremost as a building society - it is, after all, the largest building society in the world and bigger than all the other UK building societies put together.

Unlike many other UK building societies, however, Nationwide remains faithful to its roots and is still a mutual society - that is to say, it continues to be owned by its members, rather than shareholders. Nevertheless, it has expanded its product range to include all manner of financial services, including personal insurance.

The society's roots may be traced back to the very origins of the cooperative or mutual movement in Wiltshire as early as 1846, to Northampton in 1848 and finally to London in 1883.

In common with practically every other member of the cooperative movement there followed a whole tide of mergers and acquisitions. This culminated with the formation of the Cooperative Permanent Building Society, which in turn was renamed the Nationwide Building Society in 1970.

Nationwide scored a number of firsts during the 1990's - the first building society to issue a Visa/Delta debit card (in 1991) and the first provider (amongst both building societies and banks) to offer internet banking services, in 1997.

During the 1990's, when many other building societies were scrambling to shed their mutual status in favour of public listing on the stock exchange, and despite some rebellion amongst its own members, Nationwide remained fiercely proud to retain its status as a mutual society.

Landlord insurance

According to its own research, Nationwide's website attracts around 4.5 million visitors a month, with more than 1.9 million customers, which of course includes those buying the company's landlord insurance.

Standard features of those policies provide what most landlords might regard as comprehensive cover:

  • building insurance that covers not only conventional risks such as flooding, fire and storm damage, but accidental damage, too;
  • loss of rental income in the event of an insured risk (up to 20% of the total building sum insured);
  • alternative accommodation costs in the event of an insured risk (up to 20% of the total building sum insured);
  • up to £2 million property owners liability cover;
  • legal expenses of up to £100,000; and
  • access to a 24/7 helpline.

Depending on your circumstances and the nature of your let property, you might also want to consider Nationwide's optional extras, which currently include increasing your property owners liability by a further £5 million, the inclusion of risks of subsidence of the building, cover against terrorist acts, employers liability, and/or cover for your contents of the property.

Since this mutual society has no shareholders and, therefore, no dividends to pay to them, you may find that you are able to pay less for more for your Nationwide landlord insurance.