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Landlords Buildings Insurance

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Landlord Buildings Insurance

A landlord’s rental property is directly related to their income stream. If it is damaged then not only will they suffer repair bills and a possible loss in the value of a capital asset, but they may also suffer a significant loss of income while the property is under repair. That’s why landlord buildings insurance is important, because having the right cover in place will mean that any problems can be speedily and effectively dealt with in the confidence that the costs will be covered.As a landlord, you may have a lot to worry about. The last thing you probably want is to need to add your building insurance landlords to that list.

Yet this is exactly the position you could find yourself in if you do not have appropriate landlords insurance policy in place.

There are many different reasons why you may rent out a property. You may simply have wanted to invest some spare cash in the property market and to make some immediate cash from lettings. Or, you may be a professional landlord with a portfolio of properties. Your reasons for doing this don’t really matter, getting buildings insurance for landlord will be really important for you.

It is important to insure any property that you own. As a homeowner you probably wouldn’t dream of not having adequate buildings and contents cover in place. Whilst the buildings insurance that you can get as a landlord may work in much the same way as your own home insurance it is not actually the same.

A lot of landlords moving into the lettings sector can make a very simple mistake. They may, for example, think that they can simply take out a standard building insurance policy on their letting property rather than a specific buildings insurance for landlord policy. This isn’t the case and doing this might lead to problems down the line.

If, for example, you decided to buy a new home and to rent out your old one then it might be tempting to simply keep your existing insurance policies in place. But, if you then rented out your original home and you have to make a claim you might find that you have invalidated your policy. If you want to insure a property that you will ultimately rent out then most insurers will insist that you take out a specialist landlord buildings insurance agreement.

This does make sense if you think about it. If you live in your own home then you will take care of it. You cannot, however, always guarantee that tenants will do the same if they rent a property no matter how carefully you vet them and how many references you take.

This means that a rented property may be seen as a potentially higher risk by insurers. For this reason alone they will expect you to put special measures in place to protect yourself. You’ll also probably find that this kind of policy suits your needs better in any case. A buildings insurance for landlord policy may well be designed to give you more extensive and targeted cover to protect your investment.

Landlords face risks when renting out their properties. Damage to a property can cause costs for repair and potentially render it unavailable for other tenants for a period of time. Building insurance for landlords can ensure you avoid this major financial blow.

As building insurance for landlords can be a complicated subject, we provide expert advice and care to ensure all the factors are considered when choosing the right policy for you. From considering if the building is used for commercial or residential letting, to whether it is occupied or empty during renovations.

Building insurance for landlords considers the risks associated when dealing with tenants and other third parties. Different factors will affect the type of policy needed and therefore the costs. We can advise you on the right option for you.


Landlord insurance

There are a number of specialist and expert providers of landlord insurance. They will consider the individual circumstances of a landlord and make recommendations as to the insurance that will best suit their needs.

Many landlords take out building insurance as part of a package of buy to let insurance that covers a broad range of risks including such things as third party liability cover. There is considerable flexibility here and single or multi-tenanted properties can be covered (commercial or residential) as can primary or secondary first homes being rented out. It is even possible to find policies that will allow a single flat in a block to be covered.

The costs of this insurance is usually passed back to the tenant as part of their rent and this can avoid the sometimes difficult task of trying to persuade renters to consider their own insurance on the property.

For landlords, it may be worth keeping in mind that normal ‘primary home’ buildings insurance will not usually cover a property being rented out even if only part of the building is so used. This is not something that will be amusing to discover for the first time following a claim and many insurance companies will take a dim view of any false declaration of use – it could make it difficult or impossible for the landlord to obtain future insurance on a property.


What are the risks?

Whatever type of premises you own, they will by definition be at risk. There are the ‘no surprises’ risks such as:

Flood, fire and storm damage etc. It is important to note that the moment you rent out all or part of your premises, it immediately becomes ‘commercial’ and vulnerable to additional risks that may not apply in a residential scenario. These may include, wilful damage caused by tenants or employees, accidents caused by the tenants or their property, vandalism by third parties when empty between lettings and so on.

Other risks include, injuries caused to tenants as a result of living in your property. Your building insurance landlords may have to cope with all these risks and more.


Legal liabilities

Renting a property also means taking on extra responsibility, and this means taking on a possible extra insurance policy. There are many options when it comes to buildings insurance for landlords, and most of the specialised deals can provide a much more useful package the than a standard home insurance policy. The problem with a traditional home cover deal is that it may be invalid if the property is left vacant for a period of time, for example, and may not include some of the useful extras that a proper policy can provide.

For example, buildings insurance for landlords includes protection for unoccupied property, meaning there is no chance of your cover suddenly being invalid because a home has been left empty for, say, 30 days. Other common extras include landlord liability insurance, which protects you in the event you face legal action following something which has happened to a tenant.

For example, if someone fell through an un-maintained manhole in a rear yard and sought compensation for alleged injury, holding you responsible for the maintenance, landlord liability cover would pay your legal costs and would also even meet the cost of compensation if it was awarded against you.

On the same subject, the liabilities of a landlord are different to those of a private householder. In particular, a landlord may have very significant legal liabilities for the safety and security of third parties (not just the tenants) when on his or her property and this is particularly true for commercial buildings. While tenants may be contractually bound to provide their own forms of liability related insurance, in practice this will not necessarily remove any potential legal liability from the landlord.

In the event of a major problem relating to a rented property, the repair or legal liability costs could easily go into six figures. This is not the time that a landlord will wish to discover major holes in their insurance cover and that is why landlord buildings insurance is so important.

There are several types of landlord buildings insurance that are customisable to the needs of a landlord depending upon whether or not the basis of the rental is commercial or residential; contents are included; it is a sole or shared building; and so on. Ensuring that the right policy is selected is not always easy and specialist advice may be desirable.


Who needs building insurance insurance?

Normal ‘home insurance‘ insurance may offer little or no protection even if you also live in the same premises as your tenants. In fact, operating commercially from your home may in some circumstances invalidate your existing domestic buildings cover.

Typically, while buy to let buildings insurance for may be a little more expensive than domestic owner-occupier cover, the risks it covers are greater – for example, with some policies it can protect you financially should a tenant ‘do a runner’ and leave the rent payments in arrears.

And contrary to some popular myth, insurance companies do in fact have ways of finding out whether or not your property is being used for rentals – particularly in the event of a claim.

Making a false declaration of ‘usage’ when applying for insurance may result in you being banned from future insurance applications and making an actual claim under the same circumstances may result in prosecution.

If you have a mortgage on the property you may also find that the conditions demand that the correct form of buildings insurance is in place. This is particularly important to take into account in a situation where you have changed the occupation category from ‘owner-occupier’ to ‘rental’ after the mortgage and original insurance was taken out.

Taking specialist advice from UKinsuranceNET is highly advisable. you can also get more information from our landlords insurance guide.


Specialist providers

There is no shortage of providers willing to supply specialised landlord’s insurance, thanks to a boom over the last decade in buy to let entrepreneurs. This means some elements are on your side and there is considerable competition for your custom. This also means it is possible to compare a number of different policies and get an effective cover plan at a reasonable price.

When getting a policy in place you may want to look carefully at exactly what circumstances are covered by a policy. For example, all buildings insurance deals will include a sum insured, which is the total amount an insurance company would pay out as a maximum, for example if the building was destroyed completely. This should be enough to build a home right from the ground up from scratch if it was destroyed in a fire, so be careful not to underestimate.

You may also need an even more specialist policy which perhaps covers a listed building, for example, or protects a house with unusual features, for example with a thatched roof. For this you may need to approach one or two independent specialists and can always get the advice of a specialist broker.

Buildings insurance for landlords goes far beyond some of the features of a common home cover deal and is designed to avoid some of the pitfalls which could be associated with things like unoccupied properties and problem tenants, as you can even get an extra feature with some providers which covers against unpaid rent. If the bricks and mortar are solid, it can make sense to get a policy which is just as robust.


Empty property

Then there are the chances that a property might be left empty for a considerable period, perhaps in-between tenants or while it is undergoing extensive renovations. You may simply want to hang on to it for a while, leaving it unlet, and for these circumstances water tight building insurance landlord may be necessary – some conventional policies become invalid, for example, if a home is left empty for a period of time.

As with other types of deal it might also pay to look carefully at the ‘sum insured’ – the maximum payout amount on a policy. It is important not to name an amount which is too small when covering a property you have bought as you could be left out of pocket if the place happened to be destroyed by something like a fire or a flood.

Building insurance for landlords can also be arranged at an affordable price thanks to a boom in the market over the last decade or so which has seen many basic premiums slide, and one or two common extras turn up too, which have built on the first basic deals which were made available.

For example, you can now even buy building insurance for a landlord which covers the policyholder’s liability and will meet their legal fees and the cost of compensation in the event a tenant was hurt because of faulty wiring, for example.