As a landlord, your most valuable asset is probably your buy-to-let property, and so it is essential that you are properly insured.

When it comes to landlord insurance though, the first type of policy that springs to mind is buildings cover, and contents if you're providing a partly or fully furnished buy-to-let property.

But like any investment, being a landlord can involve many more risks than storm damage to your roof or a broken TV. And where there is a risk, there is often an insurance policy to cover it.

Even though landlord's insurance isn't compulsory, in many cases, your lender could make it a requirement of your buy-to-let mortgage.

So what kind of risks can and should a landlord protect themselves against?

What if a tenant doesn't pay rent?

Circumstances can sometimes lead to non-payment of rent from tenants, which can cause no end of problems for a landlord, especially if you rely on rental income to pay your mortgage. Evict a tenant can also be a long and sometimes costly process. There are rent guarantee insurances available on the market that will cover a certain amount of rent over a certain amount of time. Some policies might even include legal expenses insurance.

What if an incident causes loss of rent?

If your property became temporarily unliveable because of an insured event, such as a tree falling on your roof or a fire, then your tenants would not only need to be provided alternative accommodation, but you would experience a loss of rent. You should make sure you have an insurance policy to cover this and check the limit on any payouts.

What if someone is injured?

While most landlords will go above and beyond to ensure the homes they are providing are safe and comfortable for their tenants, accidents can and do happen. If your tenant decided to make an injury claim against you because they tripped on ripped lino or because something happened in the property that caused damage to their possessions, then you could be legally liable to pay them compensation. This is also the case when you have tradesmen working in or on your property. Public liability insurance can cover you for any damages awarded and legal costs.

What if there is an emergency?

Separate to buildings and contents insurance, you could find that your buy-to-let property experiences a boiler breakdown or electrical fault in the middle of the night. If you manage the property yourselves and don't happen to be a registered and qualified plumber or electrician for example, then you're going to need some help. Many companies offer home emergency cover to assist you with emergency repairs at any time of the day or night, on any day of the year.

What if my property is empty?

There will be occasions when your buy-to-let property is empty. Perhaps there's a void period in between one tenant moving out and another moving in. Or maybe you want to give it a fresh lick of paint or complete refurbishment. Many standard insurance policies will not cover properties that are unoccupied for more than 30 days, so you'll need to look for a special product or amend your existing cover.

Is there one insurance product that fits all?

Some companies offer landlords bespoke products that cover a lot of the risks above, but it's important to carry out a thorough comparison. It's probably better to call as well so you can ask any questions if you are unsure of anything.

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