Landlords have a range of risks to deal with – and some are more common than others.
No-one wants to throw money away unnecessarily, particularly in the buy-to-let world. So we have compiled a list of the five most common types of landlord insurance claim – and some ways to help you avoid them.
So-called ‘escape of water’ claims are the most common type of loss amongst landlords.
This type of claim often relates to poor plumbing or pipes. A leaking or burst pipe can cause significant water damage. Indeed, flooding arising from an incident like this can often affect multiple properties; if your property is a first floor flat, a bathroom leak can begin to drip into the flat below remarkably quickly.
The risk of flooding and water damage can be mitigated by some simple checks on your pipes. Make sure that there are no leaks, and that joins between pipes are secure. You should also take particular care during the winter, as frozen pipes are more prone to bursting. Ensure that your tenants know at least where the emergency stopcock is located, and how to use it.
The second most common type of claim amongst landlords arises from accidental damage to the contents of a property. This might include damage to carpets, broken televisions, cracked baths and so on.
Accidental damage is, by its very nature, quite hard to avoid. Tenants are unlikely to stain a carpet deliberately – but accidents do, of course, happen.
You can, however, help to minimise the risk of accidental damage by properly vetting your tenants. Make sure that you or your agent has a proper chat with prospective tenants, so that you can get a good idea of what they do and what they are like. Party-loving students are, broadly speaking, more likely to cause accidental damage than a young couple with a child.
Thoughtful design can also help to minimise losses. For example, do you really need to carpet the floor in the living room? Wipe-clean laminate flooring is less prone to staining – and, if well chosen, can often actually be a selling point in a property.
Sadly, try as we might, we cannot prevent storms. However, by taking some precautions landlords can minimise the damage suffered when a storm occurs.
A properly repaired roof can go a very long way towards minimising storm damage. Make sure that any loose tiles are replaced, and that holes or other breaches are repaired promptly. You should also check to ensure that pipes and gutters are sturdy, properly secured, and unblocked.
If a particularly dramatic storm is expected, you might need to take extra steps. Make sure that any loose objects like garden ornaments or pot plants are brought inside, or properly secured. Doors and windows may also need to be reinforced if high winds are expected; you can do this by fitting plywood coverings outside the glass.
Malicious damage is the fifth most common type of claim amongst landlords.
This type of loss is difficult to guard against. For example, how can you stop a drunk teenager throwing a brick through a window?
You may want to take some extra precautions if your property is in an area that is prone to malicious damage. For example, you might choose to fit reinforced windows, or place a lock on a garden gate. You may also find that a visible, prominent security system helps to reduce the potential for malicious damage.
Head of claims, Alissa VanBrunt answers frequently asked questions together with our claims handlers.
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