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Is landlord insurance mandatory?

A flexible landlord insurance policy from Simply Business can protect you, your property, and your tenants. While there’s no legal obligation for landlords to take out insurance, you’re likely to be required to do so by your mortgage lender. Just as importantly, though, a good landlord insurance policy will help to safeguard your financial future.

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Talk to your mortgage lender

There’s no legal obligation for a landlord to take out a dedicated insurance policy. However, if you have a mortgage on your property it’s very likely that your lender will require you to take out insurance before you take on tenants. Remember, you’ll generally need written permission from your mortgage lender before you let your property. Failure to get this may mean that you’re breaking the terms of your mortgage.

Check your legals

Although landlord insurance isn’t compulsory, you do have a range of legal obligations. You must, for example, ensure that your property has an energy performance certificate (EPC), and that a Gas Safe registered engineer performs a gas safety check every year. You must make sure that the electrical system is safe and, depending on the size of the property, you may have to provide fire extinguishers. 

What insurance do landlords need?

You may need different types of cover depending on the risks you face. You can build your landlord insurance policy choosing from covers such as liability insurance, buildings and contents insurance, loss of rent and more. Remember, a conventional home insurance policy won’t cover you for rental activities.

You can learn more about the differences between these insurance types on our landlord vs. homeowners insurance page.

Here are some of the most popular covers you may need as a landlord:

Landlord liability insurance

Landlord liability insurance covers you against the cost of claims arising from injury or damage suffered by a tenant or visitor as a result of a fault in your property. For example, if a tenant tripped over a trailing wire and made a claim for injury, this cover could help you pay compensation or legal costs.

Landlord buildings insurance

Landlord buildings insurance can cover costs to rebuild or repair the structure of your rental property – such as walls, floors, roof, fixtures and fittings - if it’s damaged or destroyed by events like fire, storm, flood or vandalism.

Landlord contents insurance

Landlord contents insurance protects the household items in your rental property, like furniture and appliances, against damage or theft, but not against gradual ‘wear and tear’ over time. It doesn’t cover your tenants’ belongings: your tenants will need to take out their own contents insurance.

Accidental damage insurance

Accidental damage insurance protects you against DIY accidents and home mishaps such as spilling wine on furniture. It may also cover outdoor accidents, such as a child throwing a ball through a window. It won’t cover simple wear and tear, and it usually won’t cover damage caused by pets or bad workmanship.

Loss of rent insurance

If your property becomes uninhabitable as a result of an insured event, like fire or flood, and your tenants have to move out, loss of rent insurance covers the income you’ve lost. This cover won’t protect you against your tenants defaulting on their rent, which is a risk that’s covered by tenant default insurance.

Alternative accommodation insurance

If you’re contractually obliged to provide alternative accommodation in the event that your property becomes uninhabitable, alternative accommodation insurance will cover this cost. In order for this cover to pay out, the property must be uninhabitable because of a specified and insured event.

Tenant default insurance

Tenant default insurance can cover up to eight months of lost rent if your tenants fail to pay for at least two consecutive months. As long as you perform credit checks and background checks on your prospective tenants, you can add tenant default cover to your landlord insurance policy.

Unoccupied property insurance

Unoccupied property insurance protects your rental property even when it’s vacant, for example before your tenants move in or between lets. While your house is empty, you may have to do certain things for your cover to remain valid, such as making regular checks on the property.

Landlord home emergency insurance

Adding home emergency insurance to your landlord insurance policy provides you with 24/7 assistance if your property’s plumbing, drainage, heating or power supply fails, or if damage to your doors or windows compromises the security of your property. It can also cover the cost of alternative accommodation for your tenants while the problem gets fixed.

Landlord legal expenses insurance

Legal expenses insurance can cover your legal expenses up to £50,000 and provides access to a legal helpline 24/7, meaning you’ll have a property law expert on hand whenever you need one. This cover provides protection should you find yourself facing steep legal fees, for example if you were to take a tenant to court to pursue rental arrears or need legal assistance to evict a troublemaking tenant.

Find out more about our landlord covers and what type of landlord insurance you may need.

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