When the Coronavirus outbreak first started changing lives in Australia in early 2020, many landlords were quick to make sure they had insurance in place to protect their rental.
Those who already had insurance in place, breathed a sigh of relief. Those who didn’t, were eager to secure a policy. However, for some, it was too late – as the pandemic evolved, and insurance providers embargoed policies, reduced cover, or exited the market, landlord insurance policies quickly became scarce.
Rachel Kelly (of Coupers Real Estate - pictured above), who has been in the industry for longer than a decade, describes this as a ‘wake-up call’ for landlords. She says landlord insurance has always been important, however now more landlords agree.
Below, Rachel (one of EBM RentCover’s agent partners) goes into greater detail about the value of landlord insurance and the impact COVID-19 has had on the real estate market…
Why do you think it is important agents (and landlords) partner with a specialist landlord insurance provider?
The industry in which we work in is built on relationships. That’s my job as a property manager – to build relationships with landlords and tenants. And a sales agent’s job is to build relationships with sellers and buyers. I think it’s important to build a relationship and partner with a tailored landlord insurance provider as it makes it easier on us (as the person recommending the insurance to a client), when we have a go-to company that is easy to contact to answer any questions or to offer help on what policies are available.
Why should landlords protect their rentals with insurance?
Why would you not protect the biggest asset you have? As property managers, we cannot dictate the actions of people – a tenant that looks perfect on paper can quickly change, as life changes. Therefore, it is so important. You need security in place in case something goes wrong. COVID-19 has been a big wake-up call for a lot of landlords who took the risk not having a policy in place – it opened their eyes to how quickly things can change and how risky it can be to not have a policy in place.
I also think there is a misconception about body corporate protecting rental properties. I always get asked: Why would I need landlord insurance when the strata has insurance? Well, while a strata policy will cover some items depending on the policy, it typically doesn’t cover contents, loss of rent, rent default, tenant damage or legal liability (you can find more about different titles here).
What makes a good landlord insurance policy?
A policy that covers a wide range of things and offers low or no excess. The policy wording should also be clear and easy to understand.
What are some non-negotiables when it comes to cover?
Rent default is a must. I believe this is one of the main reasons landlords take out a policy. However, unfortunately over recent weeks, I’ve had to submit claims for other losses including death of a sole tenant, drug lab clean-up and water damage. These are aspects I never really saw as a selling point of a policy, however I now see how much value they can add to the policy as a whole.
Based on the demographic and types of properties I rent on the Gold Coast, I also find the extra cover to insure non-fixed items extremely valuable as most of our properties are furnished properties.
What makes a good landlord insurance provider?
The ability to make contact easily and how quickly they can process a claim.
What differentiates EBM RentCover from other landlord insurance providers?
EBM RentCover is one of the first insurers who introduced the online claims process and boy did it save us time! As property managers, we really appreciate this as we are always on a deadline. I also find EBM RentCover is great as you will be assigned a dedicated claims specialist, who works on the claim from start to finish – you are not thrown around between a whole team that don’t know the background of the claim.
I also find they are proactive and not reactive. I recently made a claim with another insurer, in which I would have to call and sit on hold for hours to speak to someone to get something done for a claim lodged online. It made me think: if I didn’t make the call, would they have even looked at it? Whereas, from my experience with EBM RentCover, I have the personal email of the Claims Specialist, I have their number, and I can make contact with them when needed. I know they will respond immediately. And, on the rare occasion where I have not provided the information needed, they follow me up.
Do you have a successful claims story you can share with us?
The first one was a recent claim I made before Christmas for water damage caused by a burst flexi hose. I made contact immediately, provided the quotes as requested, and the claim was approved and paid within three days. It was a breath of fresh air in comparison to another claim I had been trying to follow up to get paid for six months.
The second was a COVID-19 claim. While the policy was unable to cover all rent monies owed, due to the change of legislation by the government, I found the team at EBM RentCover to be so helpful and compassionate. As property managers, insurers, tenants, landlords – we all went into COVID-19 blind; we had no idea what was going on and how to handle it. But the team at EBM RentCover was fantastic in providing information. Together, we went into claims with a ‘we’re all in this together’ mentality. And, as I said, while we could not seek all loss of rent in this instance, the team at EBM RentCover tried their very best to help us in as many ways possible.
*While we have taken care to ensure the information above is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances and legislation after the displayed date may impact the accuracy of this article. If you need us we are there, contact 1800 661 662 if you have any questions.
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Read on for an update on where things stand with COVID-19 and landlord insurance…