RentcoverUltra / RentcoverPlatinum FAQ's

Why do I need a RentCover Product?

What does it cover?

Questions about claims

General questions

Why do I need it?

Most owners would not contemplate going without their fire and storm insurance because we've been conditioned to understand the risk. However, the incidents covered by RentCoverUltra and RentCoverPlatinum happen far more often.

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I've already got insurance!

The problem is that many of the major risks associated with rental properties are not covered under normal household insurance. These exclusions may include "loss of rent" and "damage by tenants".

Note: The owner may have "loss of rent" if their property burns to the ground for example, but not under the common circumstances, such as a tenant who just doesn't pay the rent.

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If my property manager does their job properly, I don't need this!

Unfortunately, these days no matter how well a property manager does their job, some things are beyond their control. These include - loss of jobs, domestic disputes, tenant illness or death, breaking of leases for personal reasons etc., as well as many accidental damage situations. Tenants are also becoming increasingly devious in using false references etc., as well as tribunals and courts becoming more sympathetic towards the tenant.

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I'm already covered against loss of rent and damage

You should read your existing policy carefully. You are likely to find:

  • Loss of rent may only be payable due to damage by an insured risk (e.g. fire, storm damage). No cover for rent default, broken leases, denial of access by the tenant etc. which are far more common.
  • Many policies either exclude damage caused by the tenant or it is provided with a high excess applicable. There are also many accidental damage possibilities not payable under normal household insurance (or many landlord policies) that are payable under RentCoverUltra and RentCoverPlatinum.
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We've already got a bond

Yes, but unfortunately there are an increasing number of cases where the bond is just not enough. Take the simplest example where a tenant doesn't pay the last four weeks rent because they figure "that's our bond anyway". This leaves no money for the inevitable cleaning, lawn and minor repairs.

With RentCoverUltra and RentCoverPlatinum the bond money could be used to pay all the expenses you are legally entitled to, and you can claim for the loss of rent. The result being you would not be out of pocket or would at least have your loss reduced.

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What damage does RentcoverUltra cover?

Your normal household policy is only designed to cover certain circumstances such as fire and storm damage. What it may not cover is damage caused by the tenant, yet this is a far more common event.

Malicious Damage: The extreme is where a tenant deliberately damages your property. This may occur when you have issued them with a "notice to quit" for being behind in their rent. You may be acting legally but cannot prevent a disagreeable tenant damaging your property. It also may just happen during a tenancy, the tenant may have lost their job, and take out their frustration on the property.

We've had many incidents where a tenant has been given a notice to quit for being in arrears, when they have left 2 weeks later they have left a property with holes in walls, curtains torn, and major stains on the carpet. These types of claims have resulted in settlements in excess of $30,000.

Without RentCoverUltra these owners would have been left with a severely damaged property and possibly no funds to return it to a relettable condition.

Accidental Damage: Sometimes things occur which weren't done deliberately by the tenant. The policy will also cover many of these accidental damage situations.

One important aspect of this feature is that it takes the onus of proof off you to prove that the tenant did it maliciously.

e.g. Tenant held a party in the property. The party got out of hand and there are stains that cannot be removed to your brand new carpet. The following morning the tenant decides to remove the stains, finding them difficult, they use bleach. Few insurance policies will cover this, RentCoverUltra does.

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What about RentcoverPlatinum?

RentCoverPlatinum (designed specifically for houses) includes the tenant-related features of RentCoverUltra (such as loss of rent and damage) but also includes cover for your building against "defined risks" up to the sum insured you nominate. RentCoverPlatinum eliminates the need for a separate building policy.

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What damage won't they cover?

The damage section is designed for specific incidents that occur, not for a general deterioration of the property. This means that not every nick and scratch that happens, nor wear and tear, will be included in a claim settlement. Relate this to your car insurance; Insurers pay out for an accident, but not every bump throughout the car’s life.

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What loss of rent will they cover?

The highest number of claims occur in the loss of rent section. This is designed to cover virtually every situation where the tenant does something wrong. These circumstances include:

  • A tenant who leaves owing rent.
  • A tenant who leaves before their lease has expired.
  • The time taken to repair a property following damage that is payable by RentCoverUltra or RentCoverPlatinum.
  • A tenant who refuses to leave your property and wont pay rent.
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Am I covered for rent loss if my agent can't find a tenant?

RentCoverUltra and RentCoverPlatinum are not rental guarantees, in fact it is unlikely that you would find a policy that is. There may be cover whilst your property manager finds a new tenant in certain circumstances (such as following a tenant breaking their lease), however if the tenant has simply moved at the end of their lease there is no cover.

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"What about theft by the tenant?"

Theft of your fixtures and fittings such as carpets, curtains, blinds, light fittings, stoves, hot water systems etc. are covered by both RentCoverUltra and RentCoverPlatinum.

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What about my legal expenses?

Both RentCoverUltra and RentCoverPlatinum will help out with up to $5,000 of legal expenses incurred while attempting to minimise a rent loss.

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What if a tenant injures themselves on my property and blames me?

This is where you need Owners Legal Liability Insurance which is automatically included in both RentCoverUltra and RentCoverPlatinum. A recent example was where a tenant held a party and one of the guests became intoxicated and fell through a balcony railing. The owner and the agent were sued for damages for not maintaining the property properly, the settlement was in excess of $1,000,000. RentCoverUltra and RentCoverPlatinum include $30,000,000 owners liability.

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What about fire, storm and flood damage?

RentCoverUltra includes cover for landlords contents (such as carpets, curtains, blinds etc. as well as items left for the tenants use) against "defined risks" such as fire, storm and flood damage. If you own a house and insure with RentCoverPlatinum, your building is also covered against these risks up to the sum insured you nominate.

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What about fire caused by the tenant?

Fire damage to your contents, whether caused by the tenant or otherwise, is covered by RentCoverUltra. In relation to the building it should normally be covered by your household insurance. For houses this would be your defined risks building insurer however if you insure with RentCoverPlatinum, this cover would be included for your building up to the sum insured you nominate. For strata-titled properties the building would generally be covered by the body corporate insurance. It is important to note that some insurers do not include cover against fire by a tenant so it is imperative you check. If cover is obtained through EBM this risk is included.

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Are there many claims?

Over $8,000,000 in the last 12 months has been paid to owners just like you.

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What excess will I pay?

The following excesses apply:

  • Loss of Rent [nil]
  • Malicious Damage [$400 per claim]
  • Accidental Damage [$400 per event]
  • Theft by Tenant [$400 per claim]
  • Legal Expense [nil]
  • Owners Liability [nil]
  • Contents fire and perils under RentCoverUltra & RentCoverPlatinum [$200 each and every claim, except earthquake or tsunami or cyclone]
  • Earthquake or tsunami - $250, cyclone - $500
  • Other excesses may apply in certain circumstances such as premises being unoccupied for more than 90 consecutive days.  You should refer to the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Your Policy Schedule for further details.
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My bond is not equivalent to 4 weeks rent

The policy requires a bond equivalent to at least 4 weeks rental value, however there are occasions when there may be circumstances that leave the bond short of this which may be deemed acceptable. If the bond is short because the rent has risen since the start of the tenancy (meaning the bond is only equivalent to 4 weeks of the original rental value) it will not present a problem. If submitting a claim where your bond is equivalent to less than 4 weeks rent include full details as to why this is the case so that it can be assessed. You can get advice by phoning 1800 661 662.

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How long does a claim take to settle?

Most claims are settled within 5 working days from when our claims office receive the full information they require. Once the settlement has been calculated the cheque is sent either to you or your real estate agent via Australia Post. Some claims take longer, particularly major damage claims and those requiring an assessor. If we require more information to settle your claim we will generally contact you or your property manager within 48 hours.

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What if I'm not satisfied with my claim settlement?

Clients who are not fully satisfied with our service should contact our customer relations/complaints officer. Elkington Bishop Molineaux Insurance Brokers Pty Ltd also subscribe to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), a free customer service, and the General Insurance Brokers Code of Practice. Further information is available by phoning 1800 661 662 or you may call the FOS on 1800 367 287 or by email to info@fos.org.au.

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What information is required to submit a claim?

Everything that is required when submitting a claim is detailed on the claim form, you can download the claim form here or you can complete an online claim form here. Information not being supplied is likely to delay the settlement so it is worthwhile ensuring all information is included with the original claim form.  Click here for instructions on making a claim.

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How do I arrange cover?

You can apply online simply by clicking here. Alternatively you can request a brochure and application form to be forwarded to you by contacting us.

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How much do I pay?

The price varies depending on where your property is located and the policy you select.

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How do I pay?

When you receive your invoice you will be offered a number of ways to pay including cheque, credit card and BPay. You can also pay by credit card by phoning 1800 661 662 during business hours. Should you wish to pay by cheque or money order payments can be sent to PO Box 879 Hawthorn Vic 3122.  You can pay online with Mastercard or Visa here.

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Is RentcoverUltra all I need?

RentCoverUltra is designed essentially for tenant-related risks as well as "defined risks" (fire, storm, water damage etc.) for your landlords contents. If you have a house you need to maintain a separate "defined risks" building policy, or alternatively select RentCoverPlatinum which will include the tenant-related risks of RentCoverUltra as well as the "defined risks" for your building (up to the sum insured you nominate). You can arrange these by contacting us on 1800 661 662.

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When should I take out cover?

You should only take cover when your tenant is up to date with their rent and you have a bond equivalent to at least 4 weeks rental value in place, or if you do not yet have a tenant you should arrange it immediately to ensure cover for your contents against "defined risks" (or your building by insuring with RentCoverPlatinum).

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Where do I send the application form?

You can apply online by clicking here however should you be mailing an application form it can be sent to PO Box 879 Hawthorn Vic 3122.

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Is it tax deductible?

Generally yes, in most cases the premium is tax deductible however you should check this with your accountant.

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