You see and hear a lot of outlandish things during 20 years of providing landlord insurance. I'm sure, as property managers, you all have your own favourite horror tale.
I've written before about troublesome landlords, and I'm sure you will have had some interesting interactions with landlords over the years, but what about tenants?
We can’t forget that 75 per cent of residential tenancy arrangements are a three-way deal. If property managers and landlords make up two sides of the triangle, the tenant completes the whole.
So, when things go wrong, tenants need to be prepared just like landlords and managers.
Having the right insurance is important to make sure everyone is covered for the worst.
Without the right cover, tenants could lose everything and may not be entitled to compensation in the event of damage or disaster.
But how do tenants wade through the choices available and find an affordable option?
Here are my insurance suggestions for property managers and landlords to pass onto tenants:
- Consider the value of your contents. Do you need complex cover or a lower-cost option? Make sure you’re not under-insured.
- How much can you afford to pay if things go wrong? Realistically consider what you can afford to pay if and when an incident occurs, then review the excess required on the policies. There’s no point having something like accidental breakage cover if you can’t afford the excess to make a claim.
- Level of security. Are all locks working, are there security doors on all home entrances and any other features? These factors directly affect the cost of cover and security improvements may be worthwhile before you sign a lease or take out cover.
- Do you have items of value? These can affect the cost of cover and may need to be identified and listed individually on your policy. Don’t get caught short.
- Always be honest. You need to make honest full disclosure of your circumstances and the items you are insuring. Failure to do so will just make your policy invalid, so it’s never worth stretching the truth.
It hasn't always been easy for tenants to get the cover they need at a reasonable cost but there are now customised options available, including EBM’s TenantCover designed for people living in rental accommodation at a low cost with simple security requirements.
Sharon Fox-Slater is the managing director of RentCover, a division of EBM, which insures 120,000 investment properties around Australia. With over 20 years’ experience in landlord insurance, Sharon’s top priority is customer service and positive customer comments are her biggest marker of success. Despite leaving school at 15, Sharon has forged a ground-breaking career – she was the first woman to become a fellow of the National Insurance Brokers Association. Sharon was honoured to have been included in Insurance Business magazine’s Elite Brokers 2013 list.