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By Katrina Green

When it comes to choosing insurance for your rental property, ensuring you have thorough cover is very important, and with a very ambiguous law around a tenants liability for careless vs accidental damage now it has never been more important.

Most insurance companies have very good landlord insurance policies and generally have several different options, from a basic cover to a policy which covers for almost any scenario. They do of course vary greatly in price so it is important you understand exactly what you are covered for.

Something I have recently discovered myself is that insurance can sometimes cover you for gradual damage where you have not been able to see the damage was occurring.  For example a leak in the bathroom is discovered and quickly remedied but there is some resulting damage to the floorboards.  If there was a leaking pipe underneath the floorboards which meant you would never have noticed it you may be covered.  If however, you can see the leak but have not done anything about it, you likely won’t be.

While some companies have this as part of their policy anyway, others need it added as an extension, and it can be included in a rental property policy.

I discovered this when one of my own tenants reported that the flooring in the toilet was very wet suddenly and upon investigation there was a leaking pipe under the floorboards.  I called my insurance company and was pleasantly surprised we had had the forethought to add the gradual damage extension to our rental properties, and on memory do recall deciding that particularly with a rental where a tenant may not have discovered/reported an issue quickly, that this would be a very handy add on.  Of course it is limited in the amount to be paid out, but every little bit helps!

Okay full disclosure here – in this case the full extent of the problem was only discovered when the toilet actually fell right through the floor!!!!!  (Don’t panic our wonderful and understanding tenant came out unscathed, and everything has been repaired and all in working order)

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