Customers will often call us and ask for Fire Cover or Landlords Cover when taking out a policy. This terminology often originates from lenders and banks, who insist that where there is a mortgage in place, there is also fire cover in place.
When taking out Fire Cover or Landlord Cover as it is more commonly known as. Do you know what you are actually being insured for? We let’s look at the main covers under a standard Landlord Insurance policy for a Residential Buy to Let Policy.
Fire is self – explanatory. Normally from an electrical fault for example or from an explosion. Top Tip – check your policy covers Fire AND also does not exclude arson. Not all policies cover arson.
Flood includes flood water normally from any natural resource such as tidal water or lakes for example. Top Tip – Make sure you have flood insurance on the policy and that it is not taken off the cover at renewal. Some insurers will remove the cover if the flood maps have be changed and you may find that you are now in flood zone when previously you weren’t – this is in spite of the fact the property has never flooded!
Loss of rent
Loss of rent is normally insured as standard. It covers your rental income if there has been an insured peril (such as fire) at the property. Top Tip – Do not mistake this for Rent Protection – this is different and require a separate policy. It covers you in the event of the tenant not paying – not to be confused with the Loss of Rent!
This is the process by which land or buildings can sink to a lower level. It causes sever cracking to buildings and can result in it being structurally unsound. It can be caused by clay shrinkage or even large tree roots. Top Tip – Make sure you have this cover and that it is not taken out at renewal time by an insurer. Just like flood cover, insurers will update their records regularly and you may find you are now in a subsidence area.
Self–explanatory but normally there has to be forcible or violent entry to the premises. Top Tip – when you property becomes empty for a certain amount of time (normally 30 days), this cover is removed until you get a new tenant. So act quickly when in between tenants to make this cover does not get taken off!
Again self-explanatory. Usually it will not cover anyone lawfully on the premises & this includes your tenant. Top Tip – Ask your broker to add Malicious Damage by tenant which is not always included. They may be able malicious damage by the tenant for a small additional premium, which is well worth it.
This is one the most disputed claims in insurance. The Met office designate what is a storm and what is not. So the flat roof comes off in high wind and your claim is declined as the winds weren’t high enough to warrant storm designation. The insurance company will argue the wind speed could not have damaged the roof and it therefore must have been poorly maintained and in bad condition. Top Tip – Make sure you check your flat roof annually and fix any issues weaknesses before the weather deteriorates. This will save you money in the long run.
What are you NOT covered for?
So we have covered what is typically included within Fire Cover or Landlords Insurance as it is better known for residential property owners letting their properties out. Sometimes it is more important to understand what landlord cover actually does not cover, to avoid disappointment and inevitable dispute if you are unfortunate enough to have to make a claim, or in this case think you have to make a claim. What you are not covered for can be broadly described as maintenance. It is you duty if you have landlord insurance, to upkeep the property you own and make good any defects as and when they appear. Your insurance policy is not there as a maintenance policy or contract. Ringing your insurance company to advise them that you want to make a claim for damp below the bay window of your rental property, will ultimately lead to disappointment. We will provide tips to maintain your property, to help you avoid any issues as much as is possible.
Damp is a maintenance issue. It can be a result of a number of factors. Rising Damp can be the result of a defective DPC or it is an older house, there might not even be a DPC. You may also find that your tenant is partial to drying their clothes on the radiators and does not property ventilate by opening windows every so often.
Dry rot is wood decay which is caused by certain species of fungi that digest part of the wood which gives the wood strength and stiffness. Not something any landlord wants and certainly no something your landlord insurance will cover
Wet rot is in fact a generic term. It describes a variety of fungal species. Wet rot fungi get their food by breaking down the cells of wood, which inevitably causes the wood to weaken! This is not cover under Landlord Insurance NI.
Gradual deterioration requires you to maintain the property better. Regular visits to the property and checking it every so often will ensure you can fix a problem before it escalates in to something bigger.
This is quite common. If you have a built a property that had been extended for example and the builder has not secured the flashing correctly on the roof for example, leading to water ingress to the property. Not something your insurer will entertain.
These are just examples of what is covered & what is not. Top Tip – when you take out a policy you’re your rental property, make sure the broker emails you a copy of your policy wording so you can access any time at the touch of a button. Go to the buildings sections and quickly scan over what is covered. You will be amazed how many landlords never open their policy wording, until they get that dreaded call from the tenant about another problem with the dishwasher, the ceiling, roof or walls!
Speak to Property Insurance Centre if you want adequate Fire Cover on you residential property. Whether its for Landlord Insurance London or for Landlord Insurance NI, give us a call or fill in a form online.
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