If you're renting out your first property, you need landlord insurance. It's not legally required, but it protects your property investment and interests.
You've dedicated considerable time and effort to your rental property venture, making it all the more crucial to ensure that it is adequately insured. While insurance might seem like an inconvenience until you need it, those who have faced damages or liability lawsuits covered by insurance are immensely grateful for their foresight in securing such protection for their assets. And you'll feel the same way too.
Managing rental properties revolves around shielding your investment while optimising expenses. In this context, landlord insurance stands out as a non-negotiable necessity that ultimately proves its worth in the long run. In this blog, we’ll discuss what rental property insurance covers and what not.
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What Is Rental Property Insurance?
Landlord insurance, commonly called rental property insurance, is a protective shield against the various risks associated with renting out your property, be it a house, apartment, condo, or any other type of dwelling. This type of insurance offers vital financial security if your property sustains damages or someone gets injured while on your premises.
The coverage provided by rental property insurance can extend further, depending on your policy. It may also protect your rental property's income if it becomes uninhabitable due to certain events. Review your homeowner's insurance policy if you're renting out your property. It may not cover you as a landlord.
Types of Rental Property Insurance
Let’s discuss the types of rental property insurance:
Landlord building insurance is ideal for property owners with standalone rental properties, particularly in areas prone to environmental hazards or theft.
This insurance protects:
- Storm damage
- Burst pipes
If any of these incidents occur, the policy usually pays for necessary repairs or rebuilding the property. Some insurance companies also offer coverage for loss of rental income during repairs or reconstruction.
It's essential to differentiate between rental property and building insurance, as the two terms are not interchangeable. Building insurance, while a vital component of rental property insurance, protects explicitly the physical structure. On the other hand, rental property insurance encompasses a more comprehensive array of insurance packages, extending its coverage beyond just the damages incurred to the property's physical elements.
Contents insurance for landlords is ideal for those who lease out furnished, semi-furnished, or upholstered homes.
This insurance protects against potential damage, theft, or loss of any furniture, appliances, or other household items the landlord provides. It's important to note that this policy typically does not cover belongings that tenants bring into the rental property. To ensure clarity and avoid any disputes, it's crucial to establish a detailed inventory list before your tenant moves in.
However, there are two important nuances to be aware of regarding contents insurance for rental properties.
Different insurance companies may have varying interpretations of this coverage. Some might classify items within your property, such as carpets and lights, as fixtures and fittings rather than contents. To avoid any confusion or disagreements, clarifying such matters with your insurance company before finalising the policy is advisable.
Certain insurance providers may not cover accidental damages, such as spills, stains, or broken items, as part of their standard contents insurance. If this is the case, you may need to opt for a supplementary accidental damage policy to ensure comprehensive protection for your rental property's contents.
Fixtures and Fittings Insurance
Fixtures and fittings insurance is ideal for landlords who provide a fully or semi-furnished home, especially when the property boasts new or valuable fixtures and fittings. This type of insurance is particularly beneficial for those renting out a portion of their primary residence or those engaging in temporary home rentals.
The primary focus of this insurance is to safeguard the fixtures and fittings within the rental property. These may include built-in wardrobes, kitchen cabinets, bathroom fixtures, and other permanent installations. This policy offers appropriate compensation in the unfortunate event of accidental damage, loss, theft, water leaks, fire, and sometimes even malicious damage.
If you're a landlord who rents out furnished or older properties, insurance can offer you excellent protection against large compensation or legal expenses. It's especially useful if you're overseas and unable to manage or inspect the property personally. This is also true for landlord liability.
This type of insurance serves as a critical safety net for landlords. It provides coverage if any property defect injures a tenant or any third party, including damage to their belongings. Landlord liability insurance covers legal fees and any compensation costs that may arise from complaints of harm or negligence by a tenant. If a tenant were to sue you for injuries caused by a broken staircase in your rental property, this insurance would provide the necessary protection and peace of mind.
Loss of Rent Insurance
Loss of rent insurance is a valuable safeguard, particularly tailored for two types of landlords: those whose properties are situated in areas with a higher likelihood of environmental hazards and those who heavily depend on rental income to cover critical expenses like mortgage rates.
For example, unforeseen natural disasters strike if you invest in a rental property, leaving your property uninhabitable. Amidst the chaos, you face the burden of repair costs and worry about losing rental income when tenants can't reside there. That's where the loss of rent insurance comes to your rescue.
This practical insurance coverage steps in when your property becomes temporarily unlivable due to incidents like fires or floods. It ensures you're compensated for the income you'd typically receive from tenants during this challenging time. Not only that, as you work diligently to repair the property, this insurance provides further support, so you can focus on getting everything back in order without the added pressure of immediate tenant occupancy.
Rent Guarantee Insurance
Rent guarantee insurance is an essential safety net for all landlords seeking reliable financial protection against the risk of tenant rent defaults.
For example, if your tenant unexpectedly fails to pay the rent, leaving you in a precarious financial situation. Rent guarantee insurance steps in precisely for such instances, providing landlords with peace of mind knowing they have a reliable safety net.
With this insurance coverage, landlords are protected against tenants defaulting on their rent payments. Moreover, this policy often includes coverage for legal fees and any potential damages caused by the tenant, providing comprehensive protection against tenant-related financial risks.
What Does Rental Property Insurance Cover?
Rental property insurance provides coverage for various aspects of your rental property, typically including the following:
Dwelling coverage is a critical shield, safeguarding your rental property and personal belongings. It provides financial protection against direct or accidental physical loss to your dwelling, stepping in to assist with repairs or rebuilding the structure if it sustains damage from a covered hazard.
The Insurance Information Institute highlights various perils typically covered by standard homeowners insurance policies. The hazards that are covered by insurance can vary depending on the region. However, some common events include fire, lightning, windstorm, hail, explosion, vandalism, theft, snow or ice weight, falling objects, aircraft damage, and motor vehicle damage.
Though these hazards are often included in dwelling insurance, reviewing your specific homeowners' insurance policy to ascertain its coverage is essential. Know your policy details to understand what's covered and make informed decisions about your property insurance. With dwelling coverage in place, you can confidently embrace your role as a landlord, knowing your rental property and personal belongings are secured against unforeseen mishaps.
Liability coverage as part of landlord insurance is a crucial safeguard that provides financial protection if you are held legally responsible for someone else's medical expenses or property damage that occurs on your rental property. If a tenant or a visitor suffers an injury or if their belongings are damaged due to your negligence or fault, liability coverage steps in to cover their medical bills or property repair costs.
What if a tenant decides to sue you for any reason related to the rental property? Liability coverage can also cover your legal defence costs up to the policy limits. You'll have the resources to defend yourself in a lawsuit.
Liability coverage in rental property insurance protects you from financial burdens if something goes wrong. With this coverage, you can confidently rent out your property, knowing that you have a safety net to handle unexpected situations that may lead to legal liabilities.
Rental property insurance can extend coverage to items owned by the landlord and provided for the tenants' use, such as appliances, lawnmowers, or other personal property.
Rental property insurance typically covers the structure of the property and the landlord's liability. Some insurance companies also offer optional coverage for the landlord's personal property at the rental property.
This optional coverage ensures that if any of the landlord's belongings provided for tenant use get damaged or stolen, the insurance can assist in covering the cost of repair or replacement up to the policy's specified limits.
Loss of Rental Income
Loss of Rent coverage is a valuable aspect of landlord insurance that comes to the rescue when a covered claim renders your rental property uninhabitable, leading to a loss of rental income. If your property experiences damage from a fire, storm, or another covered incident, Loss of Rent coverage will reimburse you for the lost rent when your property remains un-rentable.
However, it's essential to know that not all insurance providers automatically include Loss of Rent coverage in their standard policies. Some may offer it separately as a specific add-on, known as Loss of Rent insurance. As a responsible landlord, verifying whether Loss of Rent coverage is included in your rental property’s insurance policy before finalising the insurance contract is crucial.
What Does Rental Property Insurance Not Cover?
Let’s have a look at certain expenses that rental property insurance doesn’t cover:
Tenant’s Personal Property
A rental property insurance policy typically does not cover a tenant's belongings. This means that if a tenant's possessions are stolen during a burglary or damaged by a covered natural disaster like a hail storm or flood, the rental property’s insurance will not cover the tenant's losses.
However, landlords can require tenants to get renters insurance as a condition of signing the lease. Renters insurance is specifically designed to protect a tenant's personal possessions.
Maintenance or Equipment Failure
Rental Property insurance typically does not cover repairing breakdowns of kitchen appliances, water heaters, furnaces, or air conditioning systems. These are considered normal wear and tear or maintenance issues and are usually the landlord's responsibility to address.
To safeguard against unexpected repair costs for these essential systems and appliances, landlords can consider purchasing a rental property home warranty. A rental property home warranty is a specialised insurance plan that covers the repair or replacement of major systems and appliances in the rental property.
Landlord insurance is specifically designed for non-owner occupied properties, and homeowners who engage in house hacking by renting out extra space within their primary residence may not qualify for traditional landlord insurance.
Homeowners can talk to their insurance company about additional coverage if they want to rent out a spare room. Some insurance companies offer endorsements or add-ons to standard homeowners insurance policies that can provide coverage for situations like this.
Flood or Earthquake Damage
Certain natural disasters, such as earthquakes and floods, are typically not covered by standard landlord insurance policies. So, property owners in areas prone to these specific hazards may need to obtain separate and specialised insurance policies to ensure proper coverage.
Landlords should get insurance that covers the specific risks associated with their rental property's location. For example, get earthquake insurance if the property is in an earthquake-prone area. If it's in a flood-prone area, get flood insurance.
Rental Property Insurance Optional Coverage
Rental property insurance may not automatically cover certain situations, but landlords often can add additional coverage to their policy to address specific needs and risks. Some of these situations include:
Standard property insurance policies may not cover damages resulting from intentional acts of vandalism or malicious damage to the property. These acts can include graffiti, destruction of property, or intentional harm caused by ill-intent individuals.
However, landlords can often opt to enhance their insurance coverage by adding vandalism coverage as an additional feature or endorsement to their policy. This add-on coverage protects against damages resulting from vandalism and malicious acts, providing financial assistance to landlords if their rental property falls victim to such unfortunate events.
Regarding rental property insurance, it can protect your property from damages caused by a break-in, which is reassuring. However, insurance usually doesn't cover stolen items in such situations.
The good news is that you can add extra coverage for items used to maintain your property, like lawnmowers or appliances. This additional coverage might come with an extra cost, but it ensures your valuable property maintenance items are protected in case of theft or damage. So, it's worth considering to have that added peace of mind.
Property Under Construction
Standard rental property insurance does not provide adequate coverage when your property is undergoing construction or renovation. In such cases, you can opt for specialised coverage designed specifically for properties under construction.
This type of insurance, often called Builder's Risk insurance or Course of Construction insurance, protects the structure during construction. It covers potential risks such as fire, theft, vandalism, and weather-related damages while the property is being built or renovated.
When making repairs or renovations to a rental property, local building codes and regulations may require certain updates to be implemented to meet current safety and construction standards. These updates can be costly and unexpected for landlords, especially if the property is older and doesn't meet the latest code requirements.
To protect against the financial burden of mandatory code upgrades during repairs or renovations, landlords can consider purchasing additional coverage known as "Ordinance or Law Coverage" or "Code Upgrade Coverage." This coverage can be added as an endorsement to your rental property insurance policy.
Having this coverage in your landlord insurance can be a lifesaver if you ever face a lawsuit for wrongful eviction. It offers protection and financial support, covering your legal expenses and potential settlements related to such claims.
How Much Does Rental Property Insurance Cost?
The average cost to rebuild a house in the United Kingdom is a rough estimate for determining insurance policy prices. However, various factors can influence the actual cost, such as the type of insured property and its rebuild value. Insurers also consider the property's construction year and any additional features or add-ons requested for coverage.
Different types of properties have varying insurance costs, ranked from least to most expensive as follows:
- Semi-detached house
- Terraced/End terrace house
- Individual flat in a purpose-built block
- Detached house
- Individual flat in a converted building
For example, the annual premium for a semi-detached house might be around £150, while an individual flat in a converted building could be around £200. The rebuild cost determines the premium, with higher rebuild costs leading to higher premiums.
Rebuild cost ranking gives landlords an idea of the potential annual premiums. A property costing £150,000 to rebuild may have premiums of around £137, while one costing £1 million to rebuild could result in premiums of around £420.
Commercial property insurance costs depend on the type of business occupying the property. Older buildings may have higher premiums due to increased vulnerability to damage, while newer buildings often have better safety standards.
For older properties built before 1850, annual premiums might be around £167, whereas newer properties built after 2000 may have premiums around £140.
Landlords can consider various add-ons to tailor their insurance coverage, such as legal expenses, accidental damage, home emergencies, tenant defaults, rent guarantees, and landlord's contents cover.
Rental Property Insurance vs Homeowner Insurance
The primary distinction between homeowners insurance and rental property insurance lies in how the policy applies to the insured. Homeowners insurance typically only applies when you live in the home, while rental property insurance is specifically designed for properties you rent out.
While homeowners insurance may provide some coverage if you live in the property and rent out a room, it usually comes with conditions set by the insurance provider.
Moreover, homeowners insurance extends coverage to the homeowner's belongings, while rental property insurance only covers items used to service the rental property.
Regarding liability protection, rental property insurance can assist with medical and legal fees if you are held responsible for a tenant or their guest getting injured on the rental property. At the same time, homeowners insurance covers residents regardless of where the injury occurs.
Rental Property Insurance vs Renter Insurance
It's a common misconception for rental property owners to confuse renters insurance with rental property insurance. These two types of insurance are entirely separate and serve different purposes.
Rental property insurance is intended to protect the landlord (property owner). Rental property insurance covers the building, landlord's liability, and lost rent.
Renters insurance protects the tenant or renter. It typically covers the tenant's personal belongings, providing reimbursement in case of theft, damage from covered losses like fire or water damage, and liability protection if the tenant causes accidental damage to the rental property or is held liable for injuries to others.
Landlords often require renters insurance to protect both parties from financial losses. It covers tenants' belongings and liability in case of accidents.
Do You Need Insurance on Your Rental Property?
Insurance for Short-Term Rentals
If you occasionally rent out your primary residence, your homeowner's insurance might provide some coverage for short-term lets. Confirm with your insurance company to make sure your rentals are insured. You should add an insurance rider for proper coverage.
Frequent short-term rentals are often considered a business activity and may not be covered by homeowners insurance. In this case, consider home-sharing insurance to ensure adequate protection for your rental activities.
Insurance for Long-Term Rentals
Rental property insurance is important for long-term rentals. It protects you from financial losses due to damages or liability issues.
How to Choose the Best Rental Property Insurance
Let’s have a look how to choose the best rental property insurance:
- Assess Your Needs: Evaluate your rental property and identify the specific coverage you require. Consider the property's location, size, type, and any additional features you want to protect.
- Get Multiple Quotes: Contact several insurance companies and request rental property insurance quotes. Compare the coverage, deductibles, and premiums offered by each provider.
- Consider Price and Coverage: While price matters, don't make it the sole deciding factor. Look for a balance between cost and coverage to protect your property.
- Check Online Reviews: Look for reviews and feedback from other landlords who have experience with the insurance providers you are considering. This can give you valuable insights into their customer service and claim handling.
- Seek Recommendations: Ask fellow landlords for recommendations or experiences with insurance companies. Personal recommendations can provide valuable insights into the reliability and performance of insurers.
- Understand Policy Details: Thoroughly review the policy's requirements and conditions. Understand what perils are covered and the coverage limits. Discuss specific scenarios with your insurance agent to ensure you grasp the extent of the protection provided.
As a landlord, protecting your rental property and financial interests is paramount. Unforeseen events like lightning strikes causing electrical issues or discovering black mould in the walls that require extensive renovations can lead to significant financial burdens if you're not adequately covered.
Rental property insurance is a must-have for landlords. It protects you from various risks, such as damage to the property, liability claims, and loss of rental income. Protect your investment and yourself with rental property insurance.
Insure Your Rental Property Across Multiple Booking Platforms with Houst
With Houst, you can insure your rental property across multiple booking platforms. Traditional home insurance won't cover damages caused by paying guests, but Houst provides the necessary coverage. While hosting with us, you'll still be protected by Airbnb’s AirCover, offering up to $3 million in damage protection and $1 million in liability insurance. We've partnered with GuardHog to ensure your property is also covered for bookings on other listing sites. All are included in your plan with us. Enjoy peace of mind, knowing your property is protected, and we'll handle insurance matters, allowing you to focus on providing an excellent guest experience.
Is rental property insurance a legal requirement?
Rental property insurance is not a legal requirement. If you have a mortgage on the rental property, your lender typically requires you to have it before renting it out to tenants. Standard home contents or buildings insurance policies usually do not cover rental activities, so you'll need to switch to a rental property insurance policy to ensure proper coverage for your rental property. While not mandatory by law, having rental property insurance is crucial to protect your investment and financial interests as a landlord.
Is rental property insurance tax deductible?
Yes! Rental property insurance is generally tax deductible when your investment property is rented out to tenants. However, suppose the property remains vacant for a part of the financial year. In that case, you can only claim a portion of the insurance premium corresponding to the period when tenants lived there. It's essential to accurately record when the property was rented to accurately claim the deductible portion during tax filing. Always consult with a tax professional or accountant for specific advice on tax deductions related to your rental property.
Should a landlord have both homeowners insurance and rental property insurance?
Typically, landlords do not need both homeowners insurance and rental property insurance simultaneously. Homeowners insurance is designed for owner-occupied properties, while rental property insurance is specifically tailored to cover rental properties. Since the two types of properties have different risks and coverage needs, landlords should opt for rental property insurance to protect their rental property adequately. Homeowners' insurance may not provide coverage for rental activities, so landlords need the appropriate rental property insurance to ensure proper protection for their investment property and rental business.
Do I need to take out rental property insurance for Airbnb or a short-term let?
Rental property insurance typically does not cover Airbnb rentals or short-term lettings. The coverage provided by Airbnb's guarantee and host protection insurance also has limitations, with a property damage cover limit of £700,000. You should consider getting a specific holiday let insurance and cover for short-term let policy to ensure proper coverage for your Airbnb or short-term let. Most insurers offer policies that cater to the unique risks associated with these types of rentals, providing you with the necessary protection for your property and guests during short-term stays.
Do I need rental property insurance if I’m only renting out my room?
If you're only renting out a room on your own property, your homeowners' insurance policy may offer some coverage. Still, it's essential to check with your insurance agent to understand the extent of coverage. The coverage can vary depending on the number of renters and the length of their stay, and different insurers may have different policies regarding room rentals.
It's crucial to have a clear understanding of what your homeowner's insurance covers before renting out a room to ensure you have the necessary protection for any potential risks or liabilities that may arise. If your homeowners' insurance falls short, consider additional coverage, such as home-sharing or landlord insurance, to protect yourself adequately during room rentals.
Do I need rental property insurance for a lodger?
If you have a lodger and still reside in the property, your existing home insurance policy may cover it. However, it is essential to inform your insurance company about the presence of a lodger. They might adjust your premium, add exclusions, or even refuse to cover you because the presence of a lodger increases your liability and risk.