What is Contents Insurance?

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We often find that landlords don’t realise that contents cover can be an additional extra. The new Commercial Insurance Act puts the responsibility on landlords. For them to ensure that they have the correct cover for their property. It is now law that landlords are responsible if they are not insured fully in the event of an insurance claim.

Not all landlord insurance policies cover landlord’s contents. It is difficult to define what landlord’s contents are. In practical terms, imagine you were to turn the house upside down, the items that fell out would be included as contents. The building insurance covers fixed items such as fitted kitchens, bathrooms, and carpets. 

 

Are white goods covered for landlord’s contents insurance?

 Not everyone’s insurance policy covers white goods. We have an exclusive policy with Aviva insurance which includes landlord’s contents cover up to £5,000. This includes white goods whether fitted or not. Not all policies are the same though. Some landlord insurance policies do not include contents cover or it may be an optional extra. It is so important that you insure your house correctly.

 

Do I need contents insurance for my tenant’s belongings?

You won’t need to include cover for your tenant’s belongings in your landlord’s insurance policy as this is up to your tenants.

 

What does landlord’s contents insurance actually cover?

The exact details of your policy could vary between insurers so you will need to check.  However, you would expect the following to be covered as standard or alternatively as an add on:-

  • Furniture such as sofas and cabinets
  • Kitchen appliances like ovens and sinks
  • Curtains
  • Carpets
  • Paintings and pictures
  • Light fittings
  • Outbuildings such as sheds or outhouses
  • Garden and any contents in the garden
  • Communal areas, if you are letting your property out to multiple tenants

 

What will I be insured against with landlords contents cover?

This really does depend on your provider but we have a hugely diverse selection that you can choose from. You will usually find that the following is covered:-

Theft by tenant – if your tenant is stealing the contents that you had in your property then you would be able to make a claim against them.  Obviously you would need to ensure that there was an inventory and it was contained within your tenancy agreement.  You may find that you have a recovery by law in any event.

Malicious damage by tenant – This isn’t always included within policies it is normally an added extra.  If your tenants cause deliberate damage to your properties contents then you may be able to make a claim.  However, most landlords have a tendency to remove this from their policy because it can be expensive.  We have found and often inform landlords that this is not a good idea.  Saving a few pounds at the outset of an insurance policy where you may end up paying out thousands at the end due to this is not a worthwhile exercise.

Accidental damage – if the contents of your property were damaged by accident.  Again this isn’t standard cover. You would need to check your policy and whether it is included.  It can be at a cost but again it is so worthwhile

Alternative accommodation – if your tenants require alternative living arrangements as a result of any caused.  This would normally be in most policies but it is something that you need to check.

Loss of rent – if you lose rental income as a result of damage caused.  This isn’t always in every single policy and again you should check to see whether it is included.  It doesn’t mean that they will pay out for your rent in the event that your tenant doesn’t pay it.  This is not what this cover is for.  It is in the event that your property is damaged to such an extent that the tenants have to move out.  For instance by way of fire or storm.

 

What isn’t covered by landlord’s contents insurance?

You will find that each policy is different and so is every provider.  Some items may not be covered by standard landlord’s contents insurance policy meaning that they will require an extra level of coverage to be able to make a claim.  These are normally items such as:-

  • Items damaged by escape of water in unoccupied properties
  • Loss, damage or theft in unoccupied properties
  • Expensive or valuation items such as electronics or works of art
  • Items damaged as a result of wear and tear
  • Loss, damage or theft caused by legal activity
  • Damage caused by tenants if either of their credit reference was poor

You need to check what requirements you have from your insurers to ensure that you are paid out in these instance.  It is critical that you look at this. 

 

How much does a landlord contents insurance cost?

The premiums you pay for contents insurance will depend on a number of factors but it can be wide-ranging and you should ask us for the alternatives

The factors are as follows:-

The contents

The more expensive and valuable the belongings the more likely it is going to cost you to cover them.  Is it worthwhile leaving expensive items at the property?

Your security

Installing solid security measures is not only likely to keep your property safe but can also majorly reduce your contents insurance premium as a result. Five lever mortice locks and window locks could cut your premium.

The location

Unfortunately this is something that a lot of landlords can’t do anything about.  If you are in a high crime area it may raise your premiums it’s just an unfortunate situation. 

Your policy

We often find that landlords have taken out a policy but don’t actually know what it covers.  When we receive it from other brokers they haven’t got half the cover that they should have or have reduced it such to the bone that it is not worth having.  You need to see what added extras are and add them to your insurance quote such as accidental damage etc.  The higher the level of cover that you would expect the premium to be more expensive.  The lower the cost more than likely the lower the cover.  You may want to consider combining contents and buildings insurance policies as this can also reduce the cost.

Your excess

You will find that some insurance companies will allow you to increase a voluntary excess payment so that in the event that you may make a claim you pay for the first £500.00 or £1,000.00 for example.  They may be willing to lower your premiums but it is not always the case.

Your claims history 

If you have made a number of claims previously you need to disclose them.  Insurers might see somebody who is more than likely to make another claim in the future if you have.  However you have to be honest.  The new insurance Act puts a responsibility on all landlords to ensure that they make full disclosure. In the event that you didn’t and you suddenly find that you make a claim and the insurance company have found out that you have made a claim in the past they may not pay it out.  So be honest and you will get the best possible cover for you.

 

Compare landlord’s insurance quotes

Always look at the various ways of comparing your insurance.  Just because it is cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean that it has actually got a better cover.

Whilst you will be able to compare quotes you need to ensure what they cover and what the excesses are together with any additional extras.

You should remember that the cheapest available policy isn’t always the best.  Also, ensure that you don’t end up underinsuring yourself as this could be critical.

 

Are you a student landlord and have furniture? Is this covered in your landlord’s contents insurance?

Most if not all insurance companies would not cover furniture within the property. They would treat this as an added extra. It is therefore important that you check what the policy includes for a furnished property. Look for a policy that will replace belongings on an old for new basis. This means that your possessions will be replaced with shiny new ones should you make a claim. Most student landlords don’t realise that their furniture isn’t covered in the event of a claim against theft, loss or damage by fire. Think how much it would cost to replace such furniture for you?

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