If I’m A Landlord, Will My Home Insurance Cover Loss Of Rent?
Caeva O'Callaghan | September 1st, 2020
When you rent out your home, you take on certain risks not faced by members of the public. But is specialist landlord’s insurance worth it, and will it cover you for loss of rent?
Yes – if nobody can live in the home because of loss or damage by certain causes, you will have cover. This means your house insurance company will pay you the amount of rent you should have received but lost while the house was unfit to live in.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 may not count as a force majure in insurance parlance, even if it is a disastrous unforeseen event. This is because it’s unlikely the entire period of a lease would overlap the coronavirus outbreak. In this event, you’d have to check your own policy and discuss the issue with your provider.
Loss of rent is a unique risk landlords face. If you rent out your home, you may experience serious financial difficulties if you lose that income. Having landlord’s insurance will help tide you over until your property can earn you money again.
In this article, we’ll cover the following questions:
- What is landlord’s insurance?
- Will my landlord’s insurance cover loss of rent?
- If my rental property is damaged, will my insurance cover alternative accommodation?
It’s always a good idea to get landlord’s insurance, even if you don’t consider yourself a “professional” landlord. If you rent your property, landlord’s insurance is an essential part of covering your investment.
What is landlord’s insurance?
Maybe you’re a fully fledged property manager, or fancy renting out your home for a little extra cash. No matter your level of commitment to being a landlord, when you let out a property you take on certain risks. These risks are above and beyond the ones you take into consideration when you’re living in the property you own.
It’s important not to underestimate these risks. Having someone else live in your home may lead to situations that normal home insurance won’t cover.
If you buy a property with the specific intention of renting it out, you’ll need a buy-to-let mortgage. Many lenders will not give you one unless you have landlords’ insurance, which covers a landlord from financial losses connected with the rental property.
When you buy landlords’ insurance, it will cover you for all basic home insurance risks as well as landlord-specific ones.
Landlord’s insurance will typically include:
- Key loss
- Accidental damage
- Third party liability
- Rehousing tenants or paying for lost rent after an event like a flood or fire
- Fire brigade charges
- Door lock replacement
- Contents in the outbuildings
- Contents in the garden
- Escape of water
If your rented property is rendered unfit for living
A landlord’s worst nightmare is a fire or flood at the home which forces tenants out onto the street.
But, there are many risks which can damage a home beyond reasonable living condition. If this happens to your house while your tenants are living there, your landlord’s insurance will come to the rescue. Any standard landlord’s insurance should cover the reasonable cost of similar alternative accommodation until the home is fit to live in again, as well as loss of rent.
Loss of rent is a serious risk, as it may comprise most or all of your income. Renting houses involves a lot of money changing hands, and if you lose that it could wreak havoc on your finances. Having solid landlord’s insurance in place means you won’t lose out for however many weeks or months it takes to make the home livable again.
You may be thinking it’s only rarely that homes are rendered unlivable for a significant amount of time. Sadly, this isn’t the case. Your property could fall foul of any one of these serious risks:
- Fire, lightning, explosion or earthquake
- Storm of flood
- Riot, Civil commotion, strikes, labour and political disturbances
- Malicious damage
- Water escaping from, or frost damage to, a fixed water, drainage or heating installation, washing machine, dishwasher, fridge-freezer, waterbed or fish tank
- Subsidence or ground heave of the site on which the building stand or landslip
- Damage sustained during a burglary or attempted burglary
- Any aircraft, flying object or anything falling from them or a vehicle, train or animal hitting your home
- Any radio and television aerials, fittings and masts and satellite dishes breaking or collapsing
- Oil leaking from a fixed oil-fired heating installation including smoke damage due to a faulty oil-fired heating installation
- Falling trees or branches
Lodgers vs tenants
A lodger (legally called a ‘licensee’) is someone who lives in the same property as you. You’ll generally share the same roof and facilities.
For example, if you rent out a room and share a kitchen or bathroom with this person, you have a lodger, even if they pay you rent. However, under the Residential Tenancies Act, a lodger becomes a tenant if they have sole access to the property and the right to enter. If they have their own entrance or exit, kitchen and bathroom, they are a tenant.
Landlord’s insurance will only cover loss of rent for tenants, not lodgers. Also, many providers exclude theft cover if you have a lodger staying with you. The good news is, many don’t. But if you don’t tell your insurance provider about your lodger, your cover may be invalidated.
Talk to us in QuoteMe.ie if you are renting your property out and we can help source the right landlord’s insurance for you.
It’s essential to talk to a broker who has experience in finding the perfect landlord’s cover for every scenario. If you’re not sure if you have a lodger or a tenant, or if you want to ensure you have cover for loss of rent, call us today. We can give you all the advice you need. We are available by phone between 8.30am and 5.30pm each weekday on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.
If you would like an instant home insurance quote online, input your details into our online quote system. We compare home insurance in Ireland from 12 leading insurance companies to get the right cover for your circumstances. We look forward to helping you today