Finding the best landlord insurance for you - Total Landlord Insurance

July 20, 2023
Finding the best landlord insurance for you - Total Landlord Insurance

Read an interactive and user-friendly version of this guide below.

Insurance can be confusing and landlord insurance cover is no exception – how do you work out which is the best landlord insurance cover for your needs? In our guide, we give you an overview of the different features of landlord insurance so you can identify the best landlord insurance cover for you.

An introduction from our Founder and CEO, Eddie Hooker

I’ve worked in the insurance world for more than 30 years and I know insurance can sometimes be complicated and confusing. Landlord insurance is no exception. Choosing the best landlord insurance cover for your specific needs can seem daunting with so many options and providers to choose from. So, we’ve put together a guide to give you an overview of the different features of landlord insurance and to help you identify the best landlord insurance cover for you.

Eddie Hooker, founder and CEO of Total Landlord

Total Landlord is an insurance provider and part of the wider HFIS group - home to specialist private rented sector products, services and expertise. 

We began our journey when the buy to let sector was opening up back in 1996. I set up ‘Hamilton Fraser Insurance Solutions’ as a niche insurance broker, offering the UK’s first dedicated insurance for those renting out properties. 

During the last 25 or so years we have amassed a great deal of knowledge and experience on how to become a successful landlord. Because we believe in the concept of a ‘total landlord’, we set out to widen our offering to include government authorised tenancy deposit solutionsclient money protection and a property redress scheme, later bringing housing law specialist, Landlord Action and LandlordZONE, the UK’s leading landlord news site, into the fold.

Eddie Hooker, founder and CEO of Total Landlord

Raising standards in the private rented sector is the cornerstone of everything we do. 

In these times of increased lettings legislation and regulations, we aim to provide consistently high-quality services to all landlords, no matter where you are in your property journey. 

We provide ‘total support for the total landlord’ and key to that is making sure you have the best cover for your needs.

Winner of 'Best Landlord Insurance Provider 2023'

We are proud to announce that we won 'Best Landlord Insurance Provider' at the recent Insurance Choice Awards 2023 with Smart Money People.

This is the sixth time we have won this award and the recognition shows our commitment to quality customer service and support. 

A huge thank you to our loyal customers who voted for us, we couldn’t have done it without you #ICA2023

I’m delighted that our commitment to providing high quality cover and customer service has been recognised for the sixth time as we have won ‘Best Landlord Insurance Provider 2023’ at the Insurance Choice Awards.

Eddie Hooker, Founder and CEO, Total Landlord

Do I need landlord insurance?

Landlord insurance is not a legal requirement, but a conventional home insurance policy won’t cover you for the higher risks associated with buy to let such as loss of rent.

If you let to tenants without dedicated landlord insurance, you could find yourself out of pocket if your property is left uninhabitable by tenants. Also, mortgage lenders usually ask landlords to take out a specialist landlord insurance policy.

So, if you have a mortgage on your rental property, it’s important to check the terms of the agreement before you let your property.

What does landlord insurance cover you for?

Landlord insurance offers specialist cover for your rental property. It protects the landlord against financial losses and risks connected to letting a property. This includes things like fire, theft and weather damage, but also includes cover for landlords’ legal liabilities in the event that an injury or loss is suffered by a tenant because of a fault with the buy to let property, or as a result of rental activity.

Different types of landlord insurance cover different risks. A policy could cover things like damage to the building, loss of rent and claims made against you if someone is injured.

Most landlord insurance policies include building insurance and property owners’ liability insurance as standard.

What is the best landlord insurance cover?

The best landlord insurance cover for you is much like many other insurance policies you might have come across. A range of different cover options are often offered under one policy. Sometimes, the basics are included as standard, but if you take additional cover options that are not included as standard, for example malicious damage by tenants or their guests, you will usually incur extra costs.

As a property owner, you are more likely to need some of these cover options than others; it is a case of weighing up the risks and making an informed decision. But how do you decide which options you are most likely to need? Here, we give you a rundown of the options you are most likely to come across so that you can decide what’s best for you.

What is the best landlord insurance cover for you?

Building insurance

Standard buildings insurance covers structural damage to the building caused by fire, flood and storm damage. As with home insurance policies, a mortgage lender will insist that building insurance cover is in place before finalising a loan.

When it comes to landlord building insurance, landlord insurance policies differ dramatically as to what is included as standard, so it’s sensible to shop around. Some, like Total Landlord Insurance’s Premier policy, will include theft, accidental damage or malicious damage by tenants and their guests as part of the package.

Others will often exclude damage caused by tenants or persons legally on the premises, or offer these benefits at extra cost. When weighing up the risks, it is worth remembering that, as a landlord, you are ultimately handing over your most expensive asset to a stranger. Knowing you are covered for damage, be it by theft, accident or malice, is likely to bring you peace of mind.

Other areas to look out for under landlords’ buildings insurance are whether the policy offers cover between tenancies and if so for how long. Some policies will restrict their cover after 30 days for an unoccupied property.

Total Landlord Insurance’s Premier policy offers full cover between tenancies for up to 90 days as standard. This kind of benefit could make you considerable savings further down the line if your property is vacant for a period between tenancies, for example if you have a student property.

Time spent checking precisely which covers are included under your buildings insurance when you are taking out a landlord insurance policy is likely to save you money in the future – if you have to pay more for extra covers, your total premium is likely to escalate and if you need the extra covers but don’t have them, then you will most certainly end up out of pocket.

Contents insurance

When it comes to contents insurance, it is important to note that your landlord contents insurance cover shouldn’t be confused with that of your tenant. Your tenant is responsible for the cover of their own possessions and to be on the safe side this should be clarified with the tenant.

If you let your property as “furnished”, your contents limit will inevitably be higher than if you let it “unfurnished.”

This cover is not an essential, but basic contents insurance should cover accidental damage to glass and sanitary fittings as these would be expensive to replace.

A more comprehensive, all-inclusive contents cover, will include malicious damage, theft and extend to gardening equipment.

With more basic policies these will be added extras, incurring extra costs.

Loss of rent

If you are paying a mortgage on your rental property, or rely on it as a primary source of income, loss of rent cover is a sensible addition to your landlord insurance and may be included if you are considering a more comprehensive policy like the one offered by Hamilton Fraser Total Landlord Insurance’s Premier policy.

Loss of rent cover allows you to meet monthly payments or revenue expectations if your property becomes uninhabitable for your tenants following a valid insurance claim.

This could be the case if there were a fire or flood. Some loss of rent policies will also pay for alternative accommodation, so if this is important to you, it is worth looking out for when taking out cover.

Accidental damage

Your tenant may have their own insurance policy for accidental damage as it can help safeguard their deposit. Some buildings and contents insurance policies have accidental damage included as standard, offering varying degrees of cover, as is the case under the buildings component of Hamilton Fraser Total Landlord Insurance’s Premier policy.

A foot through the ceiling scenario would come under buildings insurance, while a contents insurance policy would help you deal with something like the resulting damage to the carpet. If it is not included as standard, accidental damage can be offered as an added cover, for which you will be expected to pay a higher premium.

If it is already included this saves you the hassle of weighing up the risks as to whether you might need it and any regrets if you decide not to take it and your tenant puts their foot through the ceiling!

Liability cover

This is an essential feature of any landlord insurance policy, as it offers protection if a tenant or visitor is injured on your property. Depending on the type of property you have and who you let it to, liability insurance may even be mandatory.

If it is not included as standard as part of your landlord insurance, liability cover is definitely a cover worth considering as a standalone product or an extra. Hamilton Fraser Total Landlord Insurance’s Premier policy includes both property owners’ liability and employers’ liability as standard.

Property disputes cover

Legal disputes such as criminal damage or contract disputes, can be associated with enormous stress and expense. Should you end up embroiled in a dispute you will be grateful for having cover as standard, so this is something worth looking out for.

Landlord emergency cover

Landlord emergency cover provides assistance in the event of a domestic emergency, which can not only affect your premises, but the safety of your tenants.

Whether the problem involves fixing a boiler or resolving a security issue, domestic emergencies can be time-consuming and costly, so buying emergency cover alongside your landlord insurance policy can help nip problems in the bud and stop costs spiralling out of control.

Student landlord insurance

When choosing the best landlord insurance for your needs, in addition to looking at the different features of landlord insurance cover, it’s important to think about who you are renting to.

Insuring your rental property with a dedicated landlord policy is essential, no matter who your tenants are. But what special considerations do student landlords need to be aware of? Firstly, it’s important to check whether landlord insurance premiums increase for student tenants.

Next, it’s a good idea to find out whether the length of the ‘unoccupancy period’ will cover the property being empty over the summer.

For student landlords, ‘unoccupancy periods’ of up to 90 days are preferable to those which only cover up to 30 days.

Read more about finding landlord insurance that is a good fit with the student rental cycle in our article, Six ways to make sure you get the student landlord insurance cover you need.

The overall package

Of course, no two rental properties are the same – has taught us that. That’s why, when comparing landlord insurance policies, it’s important to know what questions to ask to make sure your specific needs are covered. We’ve collated a wide range of landlord insurance FAQs to help you. Here are a few of the most common questions we are asked:

How much does landlord insurance cost?

The cost of landlord insurance varies depending on the level of risk your property presents. This will be influenced by the type of property, where it is, the level of cover you need and your claims history – It also accommodates all types of tenants, with no difference in cover or price.

Do I need landlord insurance and home owners’ insurance?

We’ve already mentioned that home owners’ insurance won’t cover you if you rent your property out to tenants. This is because while some landlord insurance policies might at first glance look similar to your home insurance policy, they are very different.

A standard home buildings or contents policy won’t consider the potential risks that landlords face, such as loss of rent and accommodation costs, should your tenants have to move out after an insured event, or your liability as a landlord if your tenant were to injure themselves on your property.

But if you have landlord insurance, do you still need home owners’ insurance? Since landlord insurance is a type of home owner insurance that’s specifically designed for rental properties, you shouldn’t need to buy separate home owner insurance cover. Your landlord policy will cover you for many of the same things your home insurance does, but will also cover the risks that come with buy to let.

Do I need landlord insurance for an Airbnb or a holiday let?

Standard home insurance and most standard landlord insurance policies will not provide cover for an Airbnb or a holiday home. At Hamilton Fraser, we can offer a tailored UK holiday home insurance policy, that provides comprehensive cover, whether your UK holiday home is for family use only or let on short term rental agreements.

For more information speak to the team on 0345 310 6336.

Do I need landlord insurance if I live in the property?

If you live in a property but are also renting some of it out, for example to lodgers, it is likely that your home insurance won’t be valid. Total Landlord’s home insurance can accommodate up to six lodgers, including up to three at no extra cost. For more information speak to the team on 0345 310 6336.

Can I insure more than one property with landlord insurance?

When comparing buy to let insurance, if you are a landlord with a rental portfolio you will likely be looking for flexible cover. With Hamilton Fraser Total Landlord Insurance’s multi-property landlord and portfolio insurance, you can insure up to 15 properties online or discuss your requirements with our team of experts.

You can mix and match your policy by choosing from our Essential and Premier options to tailor cover to your specific needs.

The best landlord insurance policy for you is one that fully meets your individual needs without costing the earth or being so complicated that you don’t really understand what you are covered for and what is excluded.

The difficult part of the process is assessing your needs – after all, you don’t know when you commit to a policy whether you will need that cover for accidental damage to your property by a tenant’s guest.

While some policies may initially seem good value for money, it is worth checking whether you are covered for more than the basics – they may turn out to be too good to be true. Adding on cover for malicious damage by tenants and their guests, or extensive property disputes support, can increase the price of your premium quite considerably if they are not included as standard.

Hamilton Fraser Total Landlord Insurance’s Premier policy includes a wide selection of enhanced benefits as standard, combining peace of mind with comprehensive cover.

Our Hamilton Fraser Total Landlord Insurance team are trained to provide recommendations tailored to your specific needs as a landlord. For further guidance speak to the team on 0800 63 43 880.

Should you find yourself having to make a claim, unlike many of our competitors we have a UK based in-house claims team, who are empowered to make decisions on a case-by-case basis and have the authority to make payments on behalf of insurers, offering seamless claims management and putting the customer at the heart of the process.

Total Landlord Insurance’s ‘landlord insurance checklist’

We’ve put together a checklist of what we offer, to help you make sure you get the best landlord insurance cover for your needs when comparing buy to let insurance with other providers:

  • Accommodates all types of tenants (subject to the landlord having full control and an assured shorthold tenancy agreement in place) such as benefit recipients, students, retired people, professional tenants – with no difference in cover or price
  • Provides full cover between tenancies for up to 90 days subject to policy terms and conditions
  • Theft cover including by tenants and their guests
  • Offers loss of rental income or alternative accommodation up to 30 per cent of the rebuild value with no time restrictions
  • Includes public liability with a minimum of £5,000,000 limit of indemnity
  • Includes a Tenants Subrogation Waiver
  • Has an in-house claims team with authority to make payments on behalf of insurers
  • Has a team that is trained to provide an advised sale, and can offer tailored guidance on what cover a landlord needs based on their own requirements

To find out which landlord insurance cover is best for you, get in touch with the team at Total Landlord Insurance by calling 0800 63 43 880 or get a quote online.

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