After purchasing your property, you’ve decided to rent it out and use it as an income source. But what happens if your tenant stops payment or damages your property? Is there any way to protect your investment?
Yes, there is; with landlord home insurance you’re covered against loss of rental income, damage to your property and damage to any contents in the property that belongs to you.
Find the most suitable landlord home insurance policy for your needs by better understanding what it covers, what it doesn’t, and any other benefits.
What does landlord home insurance cover?
Renting out your home typically exposes you to three types of potential losses – loss of rental income, damage to the property and damage to its contents. Landlord home and contents insurance policies offer you protection across these three critical areas.
Loss of rental income
You could face a loss of rental income because of any of the following events and circumstances:
- Non-paying tenant: Your tenant fails to pay rent over a period that triggers them to receive a termination notice, or their lease is terminated by court or tribunal order.
- Tenant refusing to leave: Your tenant refuses to pay rent and doesn’t vacate your property even after they have been served with a court order.
- Tenant financial difficulty: Your tenant is released from their lease obligations by a court due to financial hardship.
- Missing tenant: Your tenant moves out without giving you notice or at the end of the lease with rent still owing.
- Difficulty accessing property: Your tenant cannot access your property due to damage to surrounding properties.
- Sudden death of a tenant: Your tenant passes away whilst still under lease.
- Damaged property: Your property cannot legally be leased because of malicious damage by a previous tenant, or another insured event.
Damage to the property
If your property is damaged because of your tenant, their family, guests, or other insured event landlord home insurance will cover you. Landlord insurance will pay for the cost of repair or replacement for the following:
- Unexpected loss or damage: Your property faces sudden and unexpected damage due to an accident of some sort.
- Unexpected insured event: Your property gets damaged due to events such as fire, flood, storm and water damage.
- Burglary: Any theft that has occurred as well as any damage to your property because of theft.
- Pet damage: Your damage is caused by a domestic pet owned by the tenant and listed on the lease.
- Deliberate damage: Your property is intentionally damaged without your consent.
- Hateful damage: The damage to your property has been done with malice.
- Burning: There is damage due to cigarettes, irons or pots and pans spoiling the carpet, benchtops or other parts of the property.
Damage to contents
Any damage to the contents that you own, or for which you are legally responsible, in your investment property are covered by home contents insurance for landlords. These contents include:
- Portable household items
- Electrical appliances
- Curtains and blinds
- Carpets and rugs
- Manchester and linen
- Above-ground pools
- In case of a strata-titled building, contents also include temporary wall, floor and ceiling covers
What additional benefits do I get with landlord home insurance?
Besides the three coverage areas listed above, landlord home insurance covers you against a host of additional expenses. These include:
- Legal costs: Any legal and representation expenses you incur while attempting to reduce your losses.
- Sheriff/bailiff expenses: The cost of using a bailiff or sheriff to evict your tenant.
- Legal liability protection: Your tenant or another party dies or is hurt at your property. Or if someone else’s property is damaged, and you’re held responsible or negligent in any way.
- Removing tenant’s belongings: The cost of removing your tenant’s possessions after you’ve made an insurance claim for loss of rent.
- Lock change: You need to replace the locks after your tenant has been evicted by court order.
How to choose the best home insurance for landlords?
Every insurer has different things that are covered and what isn’t under each landlord home insurance policy. To ensure that you find the one that suits your needs, keep these tips in mind:
- Combined or building-only cover: If your property is fully furnished, you should include contents insurance. However, for an unfurnished property, you could go with a building-only cover. Just remember that curtains, internal blinds, carpets, and many other items are only covered by contents insurance. So a policy that provides combined building and contents cover might still be a better choice.
- Cover while vacant: Find out if your cover is maintained if your property remains vacant for an extended period. To ensure the cover remains, you may have to prove you’re actively seeking a replacement tenant.
- Look for pet damage: Ensure your landlord insurance policy includes damage caused by pets owned by tenants or their guests.
- Do your research: Don’t rush into buying a policy. Research and make a landlord home insurance comparison to see which one works for you the best.