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Rene Swindley: what does loss of rent insurance actually cover?

Thursday, August 13, 2020

IMAGE CREDIT: UNSPLASH

If a rental property suffers damage that makes it unliveable, the house will become unoccupied and the landlord will lose rental income until the house can be repaired and re-tenanted.

Damage caused by major events like flooding, earthquake or fire could take months to repair, meaning months of no rental income. Loss of rent insurance is designed to put the landlord in the same position they would have been if the property was still occupied, and this is particularly important if the landlord has mortgage payments to make.

Some insurers also offer a capped cover (e.g. 6 weeks) for tenant eviction and tenant abandonment. This cover does not require there to be any physical damage to the property.

What to look out for

Most landlord insurers provide loss of rent insurance (that results from damage to the house) with a pay-out period of 12 months. Never assume that because you have landlord insurance that you have loss of rents cover. Make sure that you check that:

  • Loss of rent is actually activated on your policy, as many insurers offer it as optional cover.
  • The value/limit of the rent cover is reflective of your actual rent. $20,000 is a standard limit of cover, and that’s about $380 p/week, so you may need to increase the cover.
  • Not all insurers offer loss of rent from abandonment and eviction.
Common misconceptions 

There are many misconceptions when it comes to loss of rents. Some of the most common include landlords wrongly believing that:

  • It is the landlords responsibility to find and pay for accommodation for their tenant if a house becomes unliveable because of damage (e.g. water damage). In most cases the tenant will not be required to pay rent, and they will need to find and pay for their own accommodation. If the tenant has contents insurance it’s likely their policy will include cover for ‘Alternative Accommodation’ to pay for the additional cost.
  • That loss of rent insurance will keep paying until the house is rebuilt or repaired. Loss of rent will usually stop after 12 months or the limit of cover is reached, whichever comes first. It’s not an open ended cover.
  • Loss of rent resulting from eviction or abandonment will cover the overdue rents. Cover only applies to lost rents following the eviction or vacation of the tenant. It's designed to cover the period between the eviction and the new tenants moving in, essentially providing six weeks to replace the tenants.

Read the full article and learn more about Initio’s landlord insurance that automatically includes both types of loss of rent insurance.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rene Swindley

Rene is the Founder and Director of Initio Insurance.

 

 

 

 

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