Accidental Damage – Do Landlords Need this in their Insurance?

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What is accidental damage?

Many insurance providers will offer different levels of cover for accidental damage and this could affect the outcome of any potential claim, it is important that you understand fully what your insurers define as accidental damage before agreeing to a policy.

Accidents will happen but what does accidental damage cover in your landlords’ insurance? The definition is uniform across insurance policies. It is when damage occurs as a result of an unexpected, non-deliberate, external action. This means that it is unintentional and a one-off incident that harms your property or its contents. Common examples are dropping a laptop or spilling a glass of red wine on a new beige carpet. However, not every policy has accidental damage.

Accidental damage usually includes things like a ball being kicked through the window or banging a nail through a water pipe when trying to hang a picture. It may include accidentally putting your foot through a ceiling.

What is not usually covered by accidental damage insurance?

Accidental damage insurance protects against genuine accidents, but which specific incidences are included will vary from one insurer to another.

Do I need accidental damage cover for my buy to let property?

If you own a buy to let property, it is your responsibility as a landlord to take out the correct landlord insurance. If you rent a furnished property, it is also vital to take out adequate contents insurance.

Adding accidental damage cover to your buy to let insurance can give you the peace of mind that your property is fully covered if an accident happens.

Does accidental damage insurance cover damage by pets?

Many landlords don’t normally allow pets within their properties. If you do you need to ensure that you have a pet clause covered in your tenancy agreement to cover any damage caused by them. Accidental damage cover wouldn’t cover damage caused by pets such as chewing, fouling, scratching or tearing.

It is more than likely that the accidental damage cover doesn’t cover pets.

Does accidental damage insurance cover damage caused if my tenant carried out DIY?

It is unlikely that your policy will cover poor workmanship carried out by somebody who isn’t a qualified tradesman. This would mean any work carried out by tenants. In most cases, especially where it is plumbing or electrics are concerned it is always best practise to get professional contractors.

If you allow a tenant to carry out DIY at your property and it causes a problem then accidental damage cover may not pay out.

There are a few things that are not normally covered by insurance such as;
  • Damage to contents.
  • Damage caused by pets.
  • Defected design or workmanship.
  • Damage to buildings arising from construction, alteration or repair.
  • General wear and tear.

Ensure that you are covered for accidental damage.

It is important that landlords accept that accidents do happen and ensure that you insurance covers accidental damage as it is not normally offered as a standard. Why not contact us for a quote for your property.

We cover all sorts such as;
  • Block insurance
  • Commercial landlord insurance
  • Landlords building insurance
  • Multi property landlord insurance
  • Business insurance
  • Holiday home insurance
  • Professional indemnity insurance
  • Property owners insurance
  • Legal expenses insurance
  • Blocks of flats insurance

What is building insurance for landlords?

Landlord building insurance covers the cost of repairing or re-building your property if it is damaged.

Is landlord insurance legally required?

It is not a legal requirement that landlords have landlord insurance in place to protect their rental properties. However, you must be aware that a standard home insurance policy may not cover your property when it is used for rental purposes.

Your mortgage lender may require a landlord to have specific insurance in place before you can let to tenants. If not you may be breaching your mortgage terms.

If somebody is injured in your property and you are found to be legally liable you may need property owner’s liability and legal liability as a landlord.

Can landlords require tenants to have their own insurance?

The landlord as an owner is not legally required to have home insurance and this is the same case for tenants. Your tenants are not legally obliged to protect their belongings in your property but they won’t necessarily be covered on your own policy.

Your tenants should understand the importance of protecting their personal contents as well as those owned by the landlord, as these won’t necessarily be covered by your contents cover in the event of loss or damage.

You do not have the right to put in your tenancy agreement that your tenants must have their own insurance. However, you can advise to them that it is important that they do.

What is unoccupied property insurance?

You may find that you have invested in a property purposely to let it out for tenants but it then becomes unoccupied between tenancies or you have just purchased it and it is unoccupied. If you are going through a void period, which is a period when the property is empty between tenancies, you may find that dependant on the length of time that the property is covered under your current insurance.

Alternatively to be on the safe side you can purchase unoccupied property insurance which is designed to cover your property while it is empty. It may be undergoing renovations or simply awaiting new tenants but you can get unoccupied property insurance through us at any point. Please don’t hesitate to ask us.

Contact us on 01273 827090 to discuss any proposals.

Please find attached a link to the Financial Ombudsman Service for more information, click here.

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