If you are a buy to let landlord, its a good time to be checking your buy to let insurance policy wording to make sure you have adequate insurance protection in force. Many landlords are facing the end of the year without a tenant in occupation and may overlook to inform their insurers that their properties are unoccupied. With the winter weather well and truly upon us, it is essential that the cover under a policy is ascertained and steps taken to minimise the chances of a loss, particularly if cover has been excluded because the property is unoccupied.
Many buy to let policies will contain clauses that once a property has been unoccupied for a period of time, the cover becomes more restricted.
Different polices define unoccupancy in different ways, some will still provide up to 30 days cover, before it is deemed the property is unoccupied, whilst some will say the property is unoccupied as soon as the tenancy agreement is broken.
The main worry for landlords, relates to water perils and whilst it is now fairly common to still include the perils of storm and flood during periods of un-occupancy, many underwriters delete the cover in respect of Burst Pipes. Burst pipes are a major cause of damage in let properties. Under some polices it is possible to have burst pipes cover included, even if the property becomes unoccupied providing that the heating is kept on at a certain temperature. Not all polices are the same and if you have changed providers this year, its is a good idea to check that you are fully covered.
As well as Burst pipes, there are several other covers that are often excluded when a property becomes unoccupied and there may also be a requirement to check the property on a regular basis. For those landlords worried about flooding, the good news is that most buy to let policies do also include loss of rent/alternative accommodation cover up to 20% of the building sum insured. As seen by some of the flooding in recent days, you many find you need to house your tenants in alternative accommodation for quite some time before the insurance company are able to reinstate your property. If you are unsure of any of the covers included under your policy wording, please refer to your product provider.