Does the block of flats cover include contents?
This is an area where you need to be very careful, as policies vary enormously. The definition of ‘buildings’ includes permanent fixtures and fittings in the communal areas and in the flats. Most (but not all) policies automatically provide cover for communal contents in common areas, but normally only for a fairly low limit – check that this is enough. But policies are not designed to cover leaseholders or tenants’ personal property. They should arrange their own cover for this.
Contents Cover for Rented flats
If you are acting as a landlord and are renting furnished accommodation it is possible to insure such contents with the buildings. The insurers will need to know the replacement cost of the contents and probably the maximum amount in any one flat if you have more than one. The cover on the contents may be more restricted than a normal household contents policy. This is because experience has shown that tenants’ level of care can often leave something to be desired! For this reason, accidental damage is not automatically included by many insurers – but you may be able to buy this for an extra premium. Also, there is often restricted cover for theft or malicious damage by tenants and/or an increased excess amount. You must bear in mind that this insurance is not an end of tenancy re-fit. If a flat is left in poor condition, the insurers will not consider this to be accidental or malicious damage insured by the policy.
Can landlords insure against loss of rent?
If you buy a policy specifically designed for landlords, you would expect this to provide cover for loss of rent (or alternative accommodation) following damage to the property. Cover is normally restricted to a certain number of months, typically 12 or 24 months, and a percentage limit based on the buildings sum insured. If you are not insuring the building on the same policy, you may have to specifically request this cover. You can also get cover in some circumstances for loss of rent due to a tenant defaulting. It’s not a cheap insurance to buy, but if you are dependent on the rental income to cover a mortgage, it should be considered.