Insurance and Emergency Repairs: What Landlords Should Know

Badly maintained rental properties are a source of unhappiness for both tenants and landlords. Tenants are unhappy because they are paying money for substandard living conditions, whereas landlords are unhappy because the repairs they are legally responsible for may be expensive. Keeping on top of rental property insurance and emergency repairs is a key to successful landlordism.

Why Landlords Need Insurance

The main reason for a landlord to take out insurance is to protect against potential repair costs. You may need to take out insurance if:

  • A risk of significant repair costs exists
  • The cost would exceed the landlord’s ability to pay
  • The cost would cause a significant financial burden

A comprehensive insurance policy covers potential fire and water damage along with malicious damage caused by tenants. It also provides compensation in the event of theft or other malicious acts committed by tenants. Additionally, if you are recovering rent arrears from a tenant and they subsequently cause damage to the property, an insurance policy will help to cover the costs of repairs.

Do I Need Insurance?

Most landlords do need to take out insurance – even if their rental properties are in good repair and safety standards, because there is always potential for something to go wrong; natural disasters, vandalism, or even tenant errors. Insurance should be considered to cover any potential financial liability that may arise from repairs being needed.

What’s more, even smaller issues need to be taken account of and may prove to be costly. An example is a water leak in the boiler – this small problem can cause a lot of inconvenience if not dealt with promptly; for example, it can stop hot water from working in bathrooms.

Insurance Costs

The cost of insurance for rental properties depends on several factors, such as where the property is located and the rental income earned from the property. On the whole, it is cheaper to get a policy from a large insurer than from a smaller one.

It is worth mentioning that the cost of insurance for a single family home can be higher than for an apartment. Nevertheless, there are certain discounts available for multi-unit properties.

What To Look Out For

When choosing an insurance policy, it is important to read through the policy document and understand what is and isn’t included in the cover. Here is a list of some features of a comprehensive policy which a landlord should look out for:

  • Cover for tenant-caused damages
  • Cover for malicious damage and vandalism
  • Cover for accidental damage
  • Cover for public liability
  • Compensation for stolen items
  • Compensation for rent arrears
  • Compensation for legal costs
  • Emergency repairs in case of a breakdown

Emergency Repairs

Emergency repairs are those repairs which need to be done quickly in order to avoid potential damage or injury to the tenants, property or, for example, refrigerators and freezers need to be fixed quickly in order to avoid food spoilage. A good insurance policy should provide cover for emergency repairs and this should include both the parts and labour costs.

How To Handle Emergency Repairs

When an emergency repair is needed it is important to act quickly. Here are some tips for dealing with emergency repairs:

  • Assess the situation – try to identify the problem and assess the level of urgency
  • Contact an emergency repair specialist – they should be able to advise on the best course of action.
  • Keep the tenant updated – make sure that the tenant knows what is happening and how long it will take to repair.
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  • Keep records – make sure to keep accurate records of all repair work done.
  • Inform the insurance company – if the repair is covered by insurance, make sure to contact the insurance company about the repair.

Legal Responsibilities

It is important to remember that as a landlord you have legal responsibilities when it comes to providing safe and secure accommodation for tenants. The responsibility to carry out repairs lies with the landlord, even if the tenant has caused the damage.

Therefore it is important to make sure you are aware of your legal responsibilities when it comes to repairs and emergency repairs, as failure to comply with the regulations could lead to legal action being taken against you.


Being a landlord comes with certain responsibilities and it can be a stressful position at times. Insurance can help to protect you from expensive repair costs and provide a level of financial security in the event of an emergency repair. It is worth taking some time to read up on insurance policies, so you can make sure you have the right cover in place.

Making sure your rental property is in good condition and keeping up to date with necessary repairs can help to keep you and your tenants happy. However, always make sure you are aware of your legal responsibilities and that you have the right insurance in case of an emergency.

What percentage of landlord insurance covers emergency repair costs?

Most landlord insurance policies cover up to 80% of the cost of emergency repairs.

What is the average cost of landlord insurance?

The average cost of landlord insurance varies widely and depends on many factors, including the size and location of the rental property, the type of coverage desired, and the amount of the property’s insured value. Landlord insurance usually costs anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per year, depending on all these factors.

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