As a landlord, you can’t always predict when a home emergency is going to happen. Dealing with late night or last-minute emergencies can be time consuming and extremely stressful. However, as you are ultimately responsible for ensuring your property is a functional and pleasant environment that maintains the safety of your tenants, it is down to you to ensure that any and all emergency issues are resolved as swiftly as possible.
Landlord emergency cover can provide the assurance that you will never fail your tenants in this regard, as well as saving you time and money by giving you access to experts and contractors around the clock. Here is everything you need to know about what constitutes landlord emergency cover, and how to make sure you choose the best policy for you.
What is landlord emergency cover?
Landlord emergency cover provides you with emergency assistance every day of the year, at any hour it is needed. It is usually offered as an optional extra on top of most general landlords’ insurance policies. When protected by this cover, if your tenant were to suffer unexpected water supply failure on Christmas Day, they should be able to receive immediate support and assistance, without you as the landlord having to sort this yourself.
It is important to be aware that these policies only cover you in genuine, unforeseeable emergencies – situations that are not causing severe damage or urgent safety issues will not be covered. You are still responsible for carrying out essential property maintenance and risk assessments, such as fire safety responsibilities.
Different policies vary amongst providers, however, you will typically be covered for:
- Heating – unexpected damage to your heating system and boiler breakdowns
- Water supply – water mains failure, unexpected leakage or collapse of pipes
- Electric supply – unforseen failure in electricity supply
- Drainage – blocked drains or failure of the plumbing system resulting in flooding, internal leakage or water damage
- Security – damage to the property’s doors, locks or windows that compromises the safety of the tenants
- Pests – sudden pest infestation that causes damage
If your rental property features communal facilities you may find that heating, water and drainage are covered by your management company. We recommend speaking to your managing agents and confirming this before arranging emergency cover.
Is landlord emergency cover worth paying for?
There are multiple reasons that make the monthly cost of landlord emergency cover worth it. Firstly, it can ultimately save you money in the long run by covering those unexpected and large expenses that follow unanticipated problems with your property. By accounting for the costs of out-of-hours callouts and substantial repair fees, landlord emergency cover can minimise overall expenses.
Additionally, although you are not legally obliged to take out landlord emergency cover, you are legally responsible for the safety of your tenants. This encompasses the maintenance and upkeep of all installations for water, gas, electricity and heating supply, plus drainage and sanitary appliances. It is important to note that tenants cannot take out emergency cover for themselves, therefore it may be the most efficient and hassle-free way to ensure you fulfill your responsibilities as a landlord.
Landlord emergency cover can provide the peace of mind that urgent problems will always be taken care of, whether you live far from your property, don’t have access to your own trusted contractors, or simply don’t want to be fixing a boiler in the early hours.
What makes a good landlord emergency cover policy?
When searching for a landlord emergency cover policy, you will find that costs vary depending on the provider, the limit of cover per claim and the specific emergencies covered. Not every policy covers all emergencies, so keep in mind which situations you definitely need to be covered for when it comes to your specific property, from roof damage to locksmith services.
A good landlord emergency cover policy comes down to more than just its price, so here are some other things to look out for and enquire about before purchasing a policy:
- Check that the cover provides tenants direct access to an approved list of engineers, plumbers, electricians and contractors in the local area.
- Find out if there are any excess charges (the amount you pay when an engineer visits the property) involved in the package. It is better if this is included in the monthly price of the policy, instead of paying extra every time you call an engineer.
- Ask about benefits, as many providers may offer an incentive or deal so that you choose to purchase their policy. For example, a free annual boiler service or no excess charges for certain appliances.
How do I find the best landlord emergency cover policies?
As already mentioned, costs will vary depending on the quality of the cover provided. By ensuring that you do not rush into buying the first policy you find, and instead shopping around, using comparison sites (such as uSwitch, MoneySupermarket or GoCompare) and gathering quotes, you can secure your chances of getting the best deal.
Bear in mind that you may need to provide some information about your property in order to receive a quote. This might include details about how long you’ve owned the property, your tenant agreement and the condition of the property.