Landlord insurance is vital for a reason. If your rental property is damaged or your tenants stop paying rent, landlord insurance could help you recover the costs. Therefore, it's important that you know the ins and outs of making a claim.
Check your cover
You'll probably want to double check exactly what your insurance policy covers in terms of damages, as each policy will differ slightly in their levels of cover. However, most landlord insurance policies let you claim for damage to your building, lost/damaged/stolen contents, property owner's liability, loss of rent and boiler breakdown.
Making the claim
In order to make a claim on your landlord insurance, you might want to check your policy documents for full details of what your insurer may need, and then gather all the information in one place to speed things up and avoid snags later on. Then you should ring your insurance provider and explain why you're making the claim. You may need to fill in a claims form, but most insurers can take some (if not all) details of the claim over the phone.
Your insurance provider will advise you on how to limit the damage and pay your excess, and you should follow this advice as closely as possible. You may need to send some paperwork to your insurance provider, for example photographs of the damage or documents outlining estimated repair costs. An assessor may also have to visit the property in question to get a better idea of how much damage has been caused and take further details from you in person.
How the claim is settled will depend on the details of your specific claim. For example, if your boiler breaks down, the claim will be settled by getting it repaired. If the TV is stolen, it will need to be replaced. If your tenant refuses to pay rent, the money will be transferred to you directly.
If your property has been vandalised or burgled, you should report the damage to the police and carefully make a note of the incident number they give you. Time really is of the essence here; the sooner you act, the sooner the case can (hopefully) be resolved.
Every time you claim, you need to pay your excess, which is the fixed amount you pay towards each claim. You may have to pay this before your claim has been dealt with, but most insurers deduct the excess from the total value of the claim. Also note that once you've made a claim, your renewal prices are likely to be more than they would have been if you hadn't claimed.
Your claim may get rejected by your insurance provider if the cause of damage is excluded from your policy, or if you are claiming for general wear and tear (e.g. a carpet stain). They can also reject your claim if you failed to report your claim quickly enough, or if you have not tried to prevent further damage.
Other reasons for your claim being rejected could include you giving them incorrect information when taking out the cover, or you failing to update your insurance provider when your circumstances change. Therefore, it's vital that you ensure all information you give your insurer is both correct and current. Be sure to inform your insurance provider as soon as possible if:
- You get new tenants
- You make changes to the rent
- Your marital status or contact details change
- You do some building work or refurbish the property
- Your rebuild value or content value increase
- Your house is unoccupied for more than 30 days
If in doubt, your insurance provider will be able to provide you with a more detailed list of any changes you need to tell them about.
Think your claim has been rejected unfairly? You can register a complaint with your insurance provider or escalate your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service (an organisation which was set up by Parliament to resolve problems with financial services in an unbiased manner).
Disclaimer: This guide is accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of writing and is intended to give landlords basic advice on making a claim on their insurance. It is by no means comprehensive.