Insurer Legal and General has published research showing that 20 percent of people think they can claim on their household policies for checking and replacing roofing. The survey also found that 12 percent think they could claim for damp treatment on internal walls. A staggering 9 percent said they had no idea what was covered by their buildings insurance policy. Landlord building insurance clients are usually sophisticated investors who understand the realities if the commercial world in which they operate but a few reminders might still be useful.
An insurance policy is designed to cover the unexpected events that normal maintenance would not have prevented. A fire for example, or a gale removing an otherwise sound roof. Problems that build up over time are generally not covered because reasonable maintenance could have avoided them. The cost of routine repairs and maintenance is not something you can claim from your insurer and in fact if you do not undertake it you could find that a subsequent claim is not covered.
When you take out a policy you will normally have to fill in a proposal form giving details of the condition of the property. If it is in a sound state of repair you will be expected to maintain it in that condition. If it is in a poor condition you need to notify this to the insurer and they will normally set out their requirements for you to bring it up to a reasonable standard within a certain time or they may refuse to cover it altogether. Once the property is on cover you will have to carry out routine maintenance and if you fail to do so you will probably find that damage resulting from the lack of care will not be covered. For example if the roof starts to wear out and should be replaced you will probably find a claim declined if water leaks in and damages the inside of the house.
Prospective landlords often underestimate the cost of maintaining a let property. When doing your figures it is important to budget for routine repairs as will as standard budget items such as landlord insurance as when you own a property it pays to keep it in good condition.