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A Guide to Landlord Insurance and Unoccupied Property Insurance

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Landlord insurance is specialist insurance cover for landlords who rent properties to tenants.

It can range from insurance for a single let of a flat to a single person, to a block of flats with lots of individual tenants, or perhaps a portfolio of different properties in different locations.

Landlords should take out insurance as soon as they exchange contracts on a future buy-to-let.

In this guide, I explain the key components of landlord insurance, and provide links to a specialist service who can provide you with competitive quotations.

What does landlord insurance typically include?

woman protecting a wooden model house to symbolise landlord insurance

Here’s a guide with a list of the key types of cover that can be included in Landlord Insurance. Policies do differ, and usually exclusions and limits apply, so do check the detail of the paperwork.

1. Buildings Insurance

Buildings insurance covers the structure of the building against a wide range of elements, from extreme weather to poor electrical or plumbing repairs. Standard landlord insurance policies typically include cover for the following, subject of course to exclusions:

  • Fire and smoke damage
  • Flooding
  • Storm damage
  • Freezing of plumbing systems
  • Earthquake
  • Vehicle collisions with your building
  • Repair costs for electrical issues
  • Repair costs for plumbing issues

Buildings insurance doesn’t cover the general wear and tear of the building, or insect or bird infestations, leaking gutters, and storm damage to fences or gates. It also doesn’t include contents insurance as standard. This is usually an optional extra.

How to find out the rebuild cost for buildings insurance

An insurance broker will usually ask you for the rebuild value of your property when they calculate your buildings insurance. They need this in case your property needs to be rebuilt after being destroyed or becoming permanently inhabitable. For instance, by a large fire, gas explosion or storm damage.

Although a chartered surveyor will give you the most accurate figure, an easy way to calculate the rebuild cost is to use the free calculator on the Association of British Insurers’ website.

2. Contents insurance

Contents insurance for landlords covers the contents that belong to the landlord, and not the tenant’s belongings. It is for the tenants to insure their own belongings, and not the landlord.

The price for contents insurance will vary depending on the value of the landlord’s items kept within the property and the level and type of cover chosen.

Here are some of the items that can usually be included in contents insurance:

  • Replacement locks if keys are stolen or there is a burglary
  • Damage to non-permanent fixtures and fittings, like ovens and washing machines, or freestanding furniture
  • Damage to carpets and floor coverings
  • Glass cover (windows, conservatories, glass doors etc)

3. Public liability insurance

Public liability insurance provides covers landlords for potential compensation claims related to their rental property.

For instance, if a tenant hurt themselves tripping on a damaged floorboard or a loose tile were to fall off the roof and hit someone walking by, landlord insurance would step in and pay compensation to injured person, expenses and legal fees, up to the limit of the policy.

Unoccupied Property Insurance for Landlords

Skip in front of a landlord's buy to let house during a refurb and a void period
A buy to let is at increased risk of damage when it’s empty during refurbishments.

Most Landlord Insurance will only insure landlords for a limited amount of time when their property is unoccupied for any reason, including voids between tenants, and during refurbs. This limited period tends to range from 30 – 60 days. Also, the cover may reduce while a property is unoccupied.

However, this is when it’s particularly important for a landlord to protect the property, as there may be an increased risk of theft, vandalism, or damage from burst pipes. Having an unoccupied homeowner’s insurance policy gives landlords peace of mind.

Scroll down for more information about how to find competitive quotations for specialist insurance for unoccupied properties.

A guide to getting competitive landlord insurance quotations

Quotesearcher form for landlord insurance on a macbook
The QuoteSearcher form for landlord insurance is really easy to complete

I recommend speaking to insurance brokers about the different options available to you, whether it’s for landlord insurance or unoccupied property insurance. They’ll be able to provide you with assistance and guide you in the right direction so you choose a policy that’s right for you. 

Even if you already have a policy, it’s well worth shopping around before it expires, as the market is always changing and is very competitive.

To help you do this, I’ve teamed up with QuoteSearcher who work with specialist landlord insurance brokers to bring you competitive insurance quotes from different brokers. If you click on the links below, you will be directed to the relevant forms on the QuoteSearcher website, where you can complete your details to receive competitive quotes from the brokers. There’s no obligation and it won’t cost you anything.

Once you’ve submitted the form, brokers from QuoteSearcher’s different partner companies with will call you back or email you with quotes. From there you can choose the one, that suits you best.

I’ve personally used the QuoteSearcher service myself, and was very happy with the competitive quotes I received. You can find a detailed review on my experience here about obtaining quotes for landlord insurance.

Why don’t you see how much you can save?

The Independent Landlord blog works in partnership with QuoteSearcher to provide quotes for landlord insurance and unoccupied property insurance. Once your details are submitted, their broker partners will call you back and from there you will receive a number of quotes to consider.

landlord insurance - how to get a good quote
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