Landlord insurance

  • Buy insurance for your rental property & enjoy a whole year of Meerkat Meals & Meerkat Movies*
  • 20% of customers paid an annual premium of up to £131.03***
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***20% of businesses paid this price when switching their buildings insurance through our trusted partner Simply Business. Based on data between July and December 2020.

What is landlord insurance?

Landlord insurance is home insurance designed for rental properties, often combined with other insurance options for landlords. It includes one or more of: 

  • buildings insurance 
  • contents insurance 
  • rent guarantee insurance 
  • liability insurance – including property owners’ public
  • liability or employers’ liability 
  • unoccupied property cover 

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From fixtures and fittings or buildings insurance to legal expenses, you can find insurance that's specially designed for the needs of landlords. We’ve teamed up with Simply Business to offer you tailored quotes from leading landlord insurance providers.

What does landlord insurance cover?

You can add different levels of cover to your policy, depending on what you want to be covered for. This includes: 

  • theft, fire and flood 
  • the structure of the building
  • built-in features, for example fitted kitchens and
  • bathrooms 
  • items such as furniture, carpets and curtains (this doesn’t include your tenants’ belongings) 
  • your rental income – if you can’t rent the property due to damage 
  • legal costs in case you’re taken to court 
  • any vacant periods in between tenants 
  • accidental damage by tenants 
  • boiler breakdown 
  • rent arrears 

Bear in mind that the more cover you include, the higher the premium is likely to be for your policy. 

Frequently asked questions

How could landlord insurance be affected by the coronavirus pandemic?

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, many renters have faced financial difficulties that have left them unable to pay their rent. This led to the government introducing rules around what actions landlords can take. These include eviction bans to protect tenants, but also mortgage payment holidays to protect landlords against the loss of earnings. 
 
If you have rent guarantee cover as part of your landlord insurance, you’ll be able to claim for the loss of rental income for up to a year. This should give you plenty of time to come to an agreement with your tenant, or, if worse comes to worst, go through the eviction process and find a new tenant. However, the government have stressed that landlords shouldn’t start any eviction proceedings during the pandemic “without a very good reason”. In this situation, the best thing to do is get in touch with your policy provider as soon as possible. 
 
For a range of tools to help both you and your tenant, you can call our partner DAS, who are legal expenses insurance experts, on 0117 9340568. 
 
If you don’t already have landlord insurance, you should definitely consider getting it. However, be careful to read the policy wording carefully before getting covered, to make sure that you’re covered for everything you need. Many types of insurance have changed how things work and what things are covered, during the COVID-19 pandemic, so you need to take extra care to find the right insurance for you. 

Is landlord insurance a legal requirement?

Landlord insurance isn’t a legal requirement, but if the worst happens, it can give you vital protection for your property investment. Many mortgage lenders make it a requirement to have buildings insurance when taking out a buy-to-let mortgage.

Can I be covered by ordinary home insurance?

Your home insurance may not cover a rented property if you’re not living there. That’s because there are issues with rental properties that aren’t likely to arise with the property you live in: 

  • You won’t get to see the property often and judge the state it’s in
  • Tenants may not pay attention to maintenance issues like damp, which could get out of hand
  • Your tenants may cause careless or even malicious damage
  • You could be liable if a tenant is hurt while in your property 

Regular home insurance isn’t designed for the specific issues that landlords might face. Your policy might not cover any claims you need to make, or claims made against you by tenants.  

What type of landlord insurance do I need?

It depends on a few factors. You can take a look at the options below to consider why you might need them. 

  • Landlord buildings insurance. If you own the freehold of the property, buildings insurance is a good idea. It typically provides cover for loss or damage caused to the building itself and could provide a pay-out if your property is damaged due to fire or flood, for example.   

    Some buildings insurance covers malicious damage caused by tenants.  
  • Landlord contents insurance. Although tenants are responsible for insuring their personal belongings, if you’re renting out a furnished property, you might want contents insurance to cover the things you own. You could also add accidental damage cover to your landlord insurance, which would cover spills, breakages or damages caused by your tenants. If you’re renting out flats you could get contents cover for communal areas such as halls, receptions, stairs and landings. Many policies include this cover as standard and you can tailor its limit to your needs. 
  • Rental income protection (also known as loss of rent insurance). If your building is seriously damaged, you probably won’t be able to rent it out, so you’ll lose all the rental income you were expecting. With the average UK monthly rent in excess of £900 per calendar month, rental protection insurance, also known as cover for loss of rent, can protect you. It’s important to properly assess the rebuilding period for your rental property before you take out the cover. You should read the lease carefully as it may also contain specific requirements for this. 
  • Rent guarantee insurance (also known as tenant default insurance). This could provide cover for you if your tenants are unable to pay their rent.
  • Property owners liability (public liability) insurance. If one of your tenants has an accident at your property and considers it to be your fault, it’s possible they could decide to take legal action against you. Public liability insurance will cover you for your legal defence costs and expenses, as well as any damages that may be awarded. Liability claims can be very expensive, which is why many policies give you at least a £1 million limit of cover, for any one claim. You may wish to consider a higher indemnity limit, in case of court awards made in the most serious situations. Options of £2 million, £5 million or higher are available.
  • Employers’ liability insurance. This is a legal requirement if you employ anyone at your rental property, who is directly under your supervision and control. They might be a cleaner or gardener, or even a volunteer. You’ll be responsible by law for arranging employers’ liability insurance, to cover you for legal defence costs and any awards made for accidental bodily injury, illness or disease caused to staff because of your negligence.
  • Unoccupied property cover. This might be useful if you need to make renovations to the house or flat before you rent it, or if you are in-between tenants. Usually “unoccupied” means there’s no one living in the property for more than 30 days.
  • Landlord emergency cover. This offers you 24 hour, seven days a week assistance, if there’s an emergency which needs sorting at one of your properties. So, if a pipe bursts at a tenant’s home, you can cover the cost of an emergency plumber working out of standard hours. 

Because the extent and cover of commercial landlord insurance premiums vary, always compare landlord insurance policies to get a deal that’s right for you. 

How do I make a claim on my landlord insurance policy?

It’s important to refer to the details on your policy, to make sure you’ve got the right cover for what you need to claim for. If you’re a victim of a theft, you should report the crime to the police and get a crime reference number. After that, get straight in touch with your insurance provider. 

Do I need contents insurance as a landlord?

If you rent your property as furnished, it’s a good idea to have landlord contents insurance. Furniture, carpets and curtains can be expensive to replace. Contents insurance could cover the cost if they’re damaged or destroyed – potentially saving you from a big payout.

Can I get insurance for multiple properties?

Yes. If you rent out multiple properties, you have a couple of options for landlord insurance: 

  • Insure each property individually. You can compare policies that are tailored to suit each property.
  • Put multiple properties on one policy. This is a little more complicated, as the insurance provider may be willing to offer you a multi-property deal for your circumstances. We can’t help you compare policies and prices for this, but you can contact insurance providers directly for a quote. 

Is landlord insurance tax deductible?

Yes, typically landlords can claim the expenses of running and maintaining their property, which includes the cost of landlord insurance, to reduce their tax bill.  Any expenses claimed for, should be incurred wholly and exclusively as a result of renting out the property. For example, for: 

  • insurance
  • general property maintenance and repairs (not cosmetic improvements) 
  • water rates, council tax, gas and electricity
  • costs of services such as gardeners and cleaners 
  • letting agent fees and management fees 
  • accountant fees 
  • ground rents and service charges 
  • costs of advertising for tenants etc.

The first £1,000 of your income from property rental that you personally own, is tax-free. This is your ‘property allowance’. To work out your profit – or loss - you need to: 

  • add together all your rental income
  • add together all your allowable expenses which includes your landlord insurance 
  • take the expenses away from the income 

If your profit is £1,000 or less, you just need to make sure you have claimed for your property allowance in your tax code. 
If your income from property rental is between £1,000 and £2,500 a year, you’ll need to contact HMRC to make sure you’re paying the right amount of tax and claiming the allowances you’re entitled to claim for. 

You must report the income and the expenses you’re claiming on a Self-Assessment tax return, if it’s: 

  • £2,500 to £9,999 after allowable expenses
  • £10,000 or more before allowable expenses

If you don’t usually send a tax return, you need to register by 5 October following the tax year in which you had rental income. 

From 6 April 2020, the tax relief for residential landlords’ finance costs is restricted to the basic rate of Income Tax.   

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

It depends whether the person you’re renting to is a lodger or a tenant. Someone is a tenant if there’s an agreement that you can’t enter their room without permission. In this case, standard home insurance won’t cover you and you’ll need to apply for specialist landlord insurance, specifying that you live in the property.  
  
A lodger is someone who lives in your home and shares living space with you. If this is the case, you can usually be covered by an extension to your standard home insurance.

See more on home insurance if you have a lodger

Is loss of rent covered?

Landlord insurance can cover loss of rent, but it’s not usually part of standard cover – typically you’ll need to add it to your policy. You may be covered if you can’t rent the property because of fire or flood damage, as long as that detail is included within your policy. If your tenants are unable to pay, you’ll need specialist add-ons. For example, tenant default insurance. 

What should I do if my tenant can’t or won’t pay rent?

Tenant’s not being able to pay their rent, or refusing to pay, is a risk that comes with being a landlord. Each situation is different to the individual, but there are things you can do to protect yourself. 
 
To start with, your tenant should let you know as soon as possible, if they’re not going to be able to pay their rent. If they have a legitimate issue and are a good tenant, it’s always best to try and work out a deal between you that works for everyone. That way, you’ll have a better chance of keeping the tenant in the home and continuing to pay rent long term. 
 
For times like these, it’s best to have rent guarantee insurance in place. This offers you cover for the rent you’re owed, so you can continue to pay an outstanding mortgage on the place. It can protect you for up to a year of lost rent, which gives you the time you need to resolve the situation with your tenant. It can also cover the costs of a legal battle with them. 
 
If worse comes to worst and you need to evict the tenant, you have to give them at least 14 days’ notice of the eviction date. However, on average, it takes 42 weeks to evict a tenant. This means you could lose about 10 months’ worth of rent during the process. This makes rent guarantee insurance worth thinking about. 

Do I need to take out boiler cover as a landlord?

It’s up to you, but, as the landlord, you’ll be responsible for buildings insurance for the home, which boiler cover falls under. It’s not a legal requirement, but it’s a good idea to get cover, to protect your investment. Boiler cover is available as a separate policy, so you could always arrange it that way, too. 

What do I need to get a quote?

When you start a landlord insurance quote with us, it’s a good idea to have some basic information to hand: 

  • Your current insurance policy documents (if you have them)
  • Details about your property
  • Basic tenant information
  • The level of cover you need 

We’ll ask you questions to make sure we have all the information we need, to provide you with a list of suitable quotes.  

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Why use Compare the Market?

We search landlord insurance from 10 leading providers^^ Get a landlord insurance quote in
6 minutes^^^
93.3% of users would recommend Compare the Market to friends or family**

^^Correct as of October 2020 

^^^On average it can take less than 6 minutes to complete a landlord quote through Compare the Market based on data in September 2020. 

**For the period 1st June 2020 to 31st August 2020, 10,731 people responded to the recommend question. 10,011 responded with a score of 6 or above, therefore 93.3% are likely to recommend. 

Emily Kindness

From the Business team  

What our expert says…

“The cost of landlord insurance varies depending on things like the size of the property and the type of cover you choose. You can help to reduce the cost of your insurance policy by demonstrating that you’re on top of risk management. For example, by having ample security measures in place and ensuring tenant referencing checks take place, when bringing in a new tenant.” 

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