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Landlord Insurance - Why?


We have talked about insurance many times, most recently in September last (Better, Best, Boswells - PDPLA News - Portsmouth & District Private Landlords Association)  but an incident this month brought my objectives into clear focus.

Why Bother? 

If you have a mortgage - you have no choice. Appropriate buildings insurance is mandatory.

If you own your property outright, you could choose to cover the cost of any repairs or other issues or you could take out an insurance.

The big question you need to ask is, if you have insurance, when would you claim and what would you expect as that will define what sort of insurance you need.

Most landlords are not going to claim when a washing machine discharges its fluids all over the kitchen and soaks into the lounge carpet or a pair of curtains get torn by a heavy handed tenant, what they insure against are the major issues when costs are going to be high and help and assistance required.

This is why we recommend comprehensive landlord policies like the one offered by Boswells and recommend landlords ask for at least a £1,000 excess - because they know they are not going to claim for anything that small and declaring it up front reduces the cost of the overall policy.

So what is a major issue?  Well, our much cited local example - previous PDPLA Chair, Martyn Winfield had a houseful of students one of whom was not unintelligent but when working in his room, he decided to ignore the smoke alarms as someone was 'probably burning toast'. When the fire crew broke into his room and dragged him out, he realised it was a little more serious than that. (Started by a fellow student who went to a lecture leaving a candle burning in the room).

In that instance, if memory serves, Boswells stepped in, found accommodation for the tenants, arranged necessary repairs and helped with all associated costs during the several months it took to completely refurbish the house (and the final pay out was in excess of £60,000 several years ago).

Contrast that to my experience last week. A 3rd storey rear dormer flat roof at my home decided to part company with its felt and tar covering which weighed a couple of hundred kilos and landed firmly on a completely different roof slope on top of my solar panels.  Whilst all of our rentals have Boswells 5-star cover we had an 'ordinary home buildings insurance' from somewhere else for our own house.

Facing a week of rain and needing to get emergency cover on the exposed boarding, the insurance company was phoned.  Response - we will have to check your policy, we will get back to you in a few days, if you need to do anything in the interim do please keep the receipts.....

Rest assured when we come to renew that policy, we will look for cover more like our tenants have.

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