What is Landlord Liability Insurance?
Landlord insurance generally consists of three covers: buildings, contents, and liability. Landlord liability insurance is the easiest to find tailored coverage for because the risks are easier to calculate depending on the properties you lease. Liability insurance is a type of cover that financially protects a landlord when faced with third-party claims, like from the tenants or their guests, stating that they were injured or their belongings were destroyed because of the property.
What is Landlord Liability Insurance?
What Does Landlord Liability Insurance Cover?
1. Physical Injuries
Bodily injuries are two major accidents that landlord liability insurance covers. The most common type of injury is usually from falling over inside the property. Even though it is not directly the landlord’s fault, they can still be held liable if the accident was preventable.
For example, if a two-storey house that a landlord was renting out had many uneven stairs with different sizes and an abnormal shape, they may have contributed to why a tenant may have fallen down the stairs. Liability insurance would compensate the tenant for any medical expenses like a cast or leg brace regarding their accident so that the landlord does not suffer financially from this.
Another frequent accident in households is uneven flooring in the property’s rooms. When the ground is raised or sunken from subsidence, it is much easier to trip because of the unexpected elevation or drop in the floor.
In the same way as uneven stairs, a tenant is at risk of tripping over this and hurting themselves, resulting in a leg or arm injury, or even worse, head trauma. The tenant might wish to take the landlord to court and hold them legally responsible if this happens. Still, even so, liability insurance would pay the costs of hiring a competent legal defence in addition to any medical expenses.
Unstable fittings inside the house which are not correctly attached or are too heavy to be hung can often fall, and if the tenant is standing directly below them, there is a chance that they get injured. Examples of this could include shelves, paintings, mirrors and even wardrobes.
This can happen when the wall is made of soft material, hung unevenly, or not installed correctly. If they become unhinged and fall, they may knock over the person next to them and cause serious bodily harm, which requires emergency hospitalisation and usually treatment like stitches or painkillers. Through having insurance, these costs can be provided by the insurance company.
Injuries do not only have to be broken limbs. Consistently breathing in areas affected by mould can cause long-term implications for anyone living in the space for an extended period and could can symptoms like allergic reactions, dermatitis, and respiratory problems like heavy breathing. Suppose the landlord does not do a health and safety check and fails to notice a toxic growth in the vents or spaces. In that case, they may be responsible for declining their tenant’s health, especially if they had pre-existing conditions that would worsen their symptoms. Liability insurance would reimburse the affected persons by paying for their treatment.
Similarly, boilers can emit large amounts of carbon monoxide when they are not functioning correctly, and the gas is not adequately eliminated outside of the house and into the atmosphere. This is rare and can usually be recognised by smoky odours, strange stains or abnormal flames when cooking, but when it is left for a long time, it can cause poisoning for those breathing it in. These can cause respiratory problems and neurological ones, so the boiler systems must be fixed immediately in these cases. Failure to do so means the landlord may be involved in a costly lawsuit, which the insurance company would fund within the policy’s limits.
2. Personal Belongings
The second major accident that landlord liability covers are when a third person’s property is damaged or destroyed due to an unpredictable event in the house. For example, if a guest of the tenants drove to visit them by car and parked in the garage, but the sliding door fell onto their bonnet and caused a dent, the tenant may then take the landlord to court because of a faulty fixture in the building that they were responsible for maintaining.
The insurer covers any legal costs associated with this lawsuit, like hiring a lawyer or filing documents; without insurance, the landlord would be responsible for handling these payments themselves.
Other belongings which would be costly to replace are electronic devices like televisions and laptops. If the tenant’s computer usually sat at the table, but the landlord had assembled it incorrectly, and one of the legs gave way, as a result crashing the entire table, the computer screen may crack or even worse, the whole thing may break.
Should the landlord be held liable for providing defective furniture, they would be responsible for paying the costs to replace the computer; however, the company would do this instead with insurance. However, even if the landlord were not responsible, their legal expenses would still be compensated.
As aforementioned, mould can cause grave long-term health issues when inhaled for long periods. In addition, it can reproduce through spores and hatch onto clothing, gradually digesting the fabrics and decolouring the material; it can do a similar thing to furniture and any other synthetic materials. If this problem destroys the garments and sofas inside the house that belong to the tenant, the landlord may be sued for this damage by not preventing the toxic chemicals inside the house. Furthermore, if they are found liable, they would have to pay the costs for replacing all affected items. Insurance can be beneficial because it would pay both of these expenses, protecting the landlord from paying these extra expenses.
Landlord Liability Insurance – To Conclude
Overall, landlord liability insurance is set up to safeguard the landlord from financial loss and the third party financing their medical treatments. Whilst it is not legally compulsory to obtain, it can save you thousands of pounds when taking into account that one accident is enough to cost hefty legal expenses as well as replacement and medical costs. It is worthwhile to research this. The more tenants and visitors they have, the more likely it will run into this problem. If you only rent out one property and the risks are low, liability insurance should still be considered, just with lower coverage.
Find out more about the importance of insurance here.
Other useful links about Business Insurance:
Building Insurance for Landlords
Landlord Contents Insurance
UK General Landlord Insurance
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