As a landlord, you face a number of risks every day, and your landlord insurance policy can help protect your investment if the worst should occur. While this coverage offers you peace of mind, having to make a claim and make unnecessary repairs to your property can waste a great deal of time and resources. Here are some tips to help you avoid having to make these 4 common landlord insurance claims.
Malicious damage is one of the most common insurance claims made by landlords. While it can be difficult to protect your property against this type of damage, there are some steps you can take to minimise the risk.
The first thing you can do is take extra precautions when vetting tenants. Letting to responsible tenants can go a long way in minimising the risk of malicious damage. Checking references and meeting with the potential tenant in person will give you an idea of what type of tenant they would be.
Tenants may also be less likely to cause intentional damage to your property if you establish a good working relationship with them. Responding to your tenant’s questions or concerns in a timely manner and ensuring that repairs are made as soon as possible will help keep your tenants happy.
If your property is located in an area that is prone to malicious damage, you may consider placing a lock on the garden gate or installing reinforced windows. Depending on your location, you may even consider implementing a security system.
While you cannot completely negate the risk of malicious damage, you can take precautions to help minimise your risk.
It may be impossible to prevent a storm, but you can take precautions as a landlord to protect your property. This includes:
- Ensuring your roof is in good shape and properly repaired.
- Replacing loose tiles.
- Repairing holes in a timely manner.
- Ensuring gutters and pipes are secure, free from blockages and in good condition.
If a damaging storm is expected, you can work with your tenants to help prevent damage. This includes removing loose objects from the garden, such as potted plants, and bringing them indoors. You may even consider reinforcing windows and doors with plywood coverings if high winds are expected.
Escape water claims are, by far, the most common claim made by landlords. It typically involves poor pipes or plumbing, such as a burst or leaking pipe. If repairs are not made quickly, these incidents can cause serious water damage and in some cases, affect multiple properties. For instance, if your tenant lives in a flat on the second floor, a leak in the bathroom can drip into the bottom floor flat and cause more water damage.
Luckily, this type of claim can largely be avoided by checking your pipes on a regular basis. When inspecting your pipes, make sure that they are secure and free from leaks. Pipe checks become even more important during the winter months as frozen pipes are more likely to burst. Advising your tenants to leave the faucet dripping in the winter can help prevent freezing. Also, make sure that your tenants understand where the emergency stopcock is.
Accidental damage is another common claim, and one that can also be difficult to avoid. This type of claim may include damage to your carpet, sofas, bath fixtures and other items in the building that belong to you, the landlord. Even with responsible tenants, accidents can (and likely will) occur. This can be a major concern if you offer furnished property. Accidental carpet stains are hard to avoid, but much like the other claims on this list, you can take steps to minimise the risk.
Again, vetting your tenants properly can go a long way in ensuring that your property remains in good condition. If you are working with an agent, he or she should have a proper chat with any potential tenants to get an idea of what they are like. Unfortunately, certain tenants are more likely to cause accidental damage than others. Students, for example, are more likely to damage your property than a middle-aged couple without children.
It is also possible to minimise the risk of damage by making smart design choices. For instance, you may consider installing laminate flooring that is easy to clean instead of carpeting.
While there is no sure-fire way to prevent these types of claims, you can be proactive as a landlord and take steps to avoid them. Ensuring that your property is fitted with flooring and furniture that is easy to care for and maintain can help minimise the risk of an accidental damage claim. Properly vetting your tenants can help prevent a malicious damage claim, while reinforcing your property can help you minimise storm damage. Going the extra mile will pay off in the long run and help protect your investment.