We welcomed Debbie Rush from JSW Insurance to our September networking meet up. Debbie has worked in the insurance industry now for a number of years and was keen to offer her advice to landlords regarding insuring their properties.
Debbie started by saying that she wanted to give a few pointers on her experiences relating to landlords and tenants. She stated that with property insurance, flood has become the next big issue especially long the North Wales coast. Such risks carry with them increased excesses so this is something to keep an eye out for; standard excess can be anything from £100 to £500.She warned to be particularly careful if you use a comparison sites as they often have a higher excess.
In relation to subsidence, not every insurance company automatically includes such as a standard peril so again look out for this. She further advised that it is advisable to have accidental damage included in your policy.
Debbie explained that in relation to the questions regarding whether the property is of standard construction this relates to brick and slate/tiled roof. If a property is listed again the insurance companies don’t always ask that as a question, this will quite often be included under the section entitled ‘Any other relevant material information.’ By way of example this can include properties with thatched roofs and those with oil burners and can also include properties which have lots of outbuildings for example greenhouses, etc.
Debbie recommended that landlords have portfolio insurance as the underwriters are usually more generous when quoting for such. You can insure the landlord’s contents if you are renting out a property which is furnished and can get cover for landlord’s contents only. Loss of rent is generally covered on most policies in cases of damage being caused which results in the tenant having to move out. The provision of alternative accommodation is not usually covered as standard this can vary and is possibly something for landlords to look out for. The indemnity period for loss of rent i.e. the amount of time the rent could be paid for if the property is damaged, is usually 12 months. Debbie advised that landlords check their policies to ascertain their level of cover.
In relation to commercial properties, loss of rent generally isn’t included in the policy. Debbie touched upon liability cover, this includes not only liability to your tenants but to the general public as well. So for example if a slate fell off your roof and damaged the neighbours car, this would be covered under the policy and would also apply to any third party injury which may be caused. Debbie recommended a limit of at least £2,000,000 and stated that the standard now is usually £5,000,000.
Debbie highlighted rent guarantee policies and stated that these are available to cover instances where your tenant doesn’t pay their rent. They generally cost around £90. She stated that she personally did not think they are worth the paper they’re written on as there are so many stringent rules. She advised that landlords ensure their lease was set up properly in the first place and then if the tenant does fall into arrears enlist the help of a good solicitor and debt management company.
Debbie informed everyone that she has got quite a lot of experience in landlord insurance and if anyone would like a second opinion and someone to look over their existing cover then she is more than happy to do so.
Debbie was asked the following questions following on from her talk:-
Q. In relation to flats/apartments, how do you know whether or not your rent is covered in case of damage ?
A. You have to obtain a copy of the policy to checked whether this is covered. The leaseholder has an obligation to provide you with a copy of such should you request one.
Q. The leaseholder is saying that the pipes in my flat are not covered under the buildings insurance, is this correct ?
A. Anything that is fixed comes under buildings, so for example this would include pipes. This would mean they would be covered under the insurance policy that the leaseholder has.
Debbie concluded by stating that it isn’t just about where you property is but the insurer and their experience with claims in that particular area. Insurers ask so many questions because they are rating factors. Lots of insurers will undercut your renewal cost.
Should anyone wish to contact Debbie to discuss their insurance requirements then her contact details are as follows:- firstname.lastname@example.org or 01244 752530