A guide to accidental damage insurance for landlords

Although landlords will find their property is covered for most eventualities by specialist building and contents insurance policies, there is an additional type of insurance that is well worth considering. Read on to find out more about accidental damage cover.

accidental damage insuranceWhat is accidental damage insurance?

Accidental damage insurance offers protection against one-off mishaps that may occur in your property and cause significant damage, either to the contents or the building itself. Such mishaps may occur as a result of your tenants’ behaviour, or be caused by you directly. This type of cover is sometimes included as standard in landlord insurance policies or it may be offered as an optional extra.

Used in conjunction with other policies, it can make life easier for landlords by providing them with comprehensive cover for their rental properties. Incidents that an accidental damage policy will cover range from minor accidents like a dented ceiling or a wine spillage on the carpet, to more serious DIY disasters.

For example, if you’re carrying out some basic maintenance tasks in the property and end up damaging a water pipe by hammering a nail into the wall, this will be covered under your accidental damage policy.

These policies cover both accidental damage to both buildings and contents. For this reason, they should give you peace of mind about the floors, walls and roof of your property, as well as the windows and doors. If you allow some of your possessions to be used by the tenants, such as furniture and a television, then these items should also be covered. However, contents of the property that belong to the tenants will not be insured.

The fine print

Remember that accidental damage cover does not apply to general wear and tear around the property. This is because damage that occurs as the result of sustained usage is not considered accidental. So you would not be able to claim for a chair that falls apart after several years of being sat on, or for a mechanical fault with an old washing machine or dishwasher.

You will also struggle to claim for any damage caused by domestic animals or the work of contractors such as plumbers, roofers and painters on an accidental damage policy, as this will be deemed bad workmanship.

With this in mind, it is important that any landlord is aware of exactly how specific damage has occurred within their property before going ahead with an insurance claim.

Another form of cover sometimes available as an optional extra for landlords is malicious damage insurance. This protects against the more serious destruction of your property and can be useful if you are unfortunate enough to have tenants who set fire to furniture or trash entire rooms in the property by throwing wild parties.

Although you’re unlikely to encounter this kind of tenant if you’re diligent about who you let the property to, having insurance against malicious damage can offer an extra level of protection for your investment.

If you did end up with a badly damaged property and did not have adequate insurance in place, you could struggle to afford the repairs. This would make it very difficult to get new tenants into the house, leading to further loss of income.

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