What is landlord insurance?

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If a tenant living in a property you rent is injured or their possessions are damaged and they blame a fault in the property they are renting from you and make a claim against you, an insurance policy could pay the associated compensation costs, the cost of replacing any damaged items and also any incurred legal fees, up to the limit stated in your individual  policy.

Known as property owner’s liability insurance, landlord insurance is essentially public liability cover, which protects landlords from compensation claims by third parties including tenants, their guests or visitors seeking compensation following any possible claims as a result of negligence as a landlord.

Why do I need landlord insurance?

No matter how carefully you maintain your rental property, you can’t keep an eye on it 24/7 and accidents can – and do – happen. If a tenant trips and falls on a broken step or a faulty floorboard, they can blame the accident on a defect or lack of maintenance in your rental property and claim against you for a third party bodily injury.

Compensation payments can increase rapidly when medical costs and loss of income is taken into consideration, potentially leaving you considerably out of pocket. It is therefore highly recommended that you have a valid public liability insurance policy in place to protect you in the event of a claim for injury or damage.

What could happen if I don’t have landlord liability insurance?

Without valid public liability cover as a landlord, you would be liable to pay for your own defence, any damages awarded and potentially the claimant’s legal costs in the event of a claim. You would also be likely to be liable to cover the costs of any potential loss of earnings or ongoing care required by the claimant.

Do landlords need public liability insurance?

‘Landlord insurance’ is essentially public liability insurance, so in short, yes landlords do need this level of cover.

The peace of mind that you are covered for any unexpected events is often worth the additional cost of the premium.

Local authority specifications generally specify that commercial landlords must have specific public liability cover. The individual authority will usually specfy what level of cover is needed.

Do I need landlord liability insurance if I rent flats to tenants?

If you rent a flat to a tenant, you still need to take out a valid public liability insurance policy to cover you as a landlord. The type of policy you require will depend on the type of flat – either leasehold or freehold. The policy may also provide cover for communal areas of the building that are your responsibility, such as staircases or lifts.

Regardless of whether you rent a leasehold or freehold property to a tenant, the tenant is always liable to cover the costs of insuring their own contents with a valid tenant contents insurance policy. If you rent a part-furnished or fully furnished property to tenants, you can cover these items against loss or damage with a specialist landlord contents insurance policy.