Storm damage swells landlord insurance claims

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Landlords across Victoria are making more calls on their insurance, new RACV data shows, with storm damage and tenant-related claims making up more than half the total claimed.

Landlord insurance claims were up 24 per cent, and they cost almost 11 per cent more in 2016 than the previous year.

Storm damage claims tripled compared with the previous year, costing $3.2 million and accounting for 29 per cent of total landlord claims. Damage from escaping water (burst pipes, for example) was responsible for 18 per cent of claims, costing more than $2.8 million.

Victorian tenants were more reliable last year overall, with landlord insurance claims for malicious damage, rental defaults or leave without notice dropping 4 per cent. The total cost of tenant-related claims was almost $6 million, up slightly on 2015.

RACV Home Insurance General Manager, Stacey Maher, said landlords should take into account the potential cost of natural disasters as well as damage by tenants.

“The RACV data reinforces the importance for landlords to protect their investment by having the right type of policy in place and to know what they are covered for.”

Tips for landlords

  1. Screen prospective tenants carefully, checking referees and past property managers.
  2. Tenants who don’t pay rent can be costly. If rent is late, take action straight away.
  3. Ensure you have adequate landlord insurance that covers against malicious damage and loss of rental income.
  4. Have your property regularly inspected and record its condition. If damage by a tenant is not recorded during an inspection, it may be expensive to repair later. If maintenance issues are not attended to, the landlord may face legal liability should a tenant be injured.
  5. Consider getting a high-quality real estate firm to manage your rental property.
Written by RACV
February 26, 2019