I’ve just had an awful phone call – my tenant has returned home from work and found that they have been burgled. All of their Christmas presents have gone, which is awful. We’re a little confused with regards to how we approach this situation with our insurances, who should we contact about what?’
Oh no, that’s a terrible thing to have happen!
We spoke to the experts at Property Quote Direct to who were able to offer advice, as sadly they have dealt with incidents like this many times in the past.
At this time of year there is often a spike in break ins, as opportunistic thieves look to take advantage of easily transportable gifts and new technology purchased in time for Christmas.
As well as the stress of losing valuable items, opportunistic burglars are often not as experienced as ‘career thieves’, who often break in to a property and leave little to no trace of having been there. Someone who has seized the opportunity is more likely to have smashed windows, or broken doors, which can cause more mess and destruction as well.
With regards to who’s insurance is responsible for what, the general rule is that the property owner (you) will be responsible for the damages to the property, whilst your tenant’s contents insurance should cover their personal losses.
Generally, your insurance is likely to cover:
- Damage to the building itself as well as its permanent fittings
- Any contents belonging to you that has been stolen
Your tenant’s contents policy should cover:
- The theft of their possessions
- Personal injuries that they may have sustained upon discovering the break-in
- Destruction of their property following a break in
It is important to make sure that your tenant has an insurance policy in place, and it can be wise to include it as a clause in your tenancy agreement. Asking to see evidence that they have put insurance in place (a copy of their insurance document, or email confirmation) when they move in is fairly standard practice.
It should be noted there are some things can have an impact on the validity of an insurance claim. For example:
- Not using a burglar alarm when the insurance company has been notified that there is one
- Not reporting a burglary or theft to the police or getting a crime reference number
- Leaving the property unoccupied for more than 30 days
- Failing to use key-operated locks on windows when away from the property
- Being burgled where there's no forced entry into the property (eg a door or window has been left open)
Most tenancy agreements include clauses that cover these elements as a matter of course, but check that yours does – you don’t want to find that yours, or your tenants, insurance is invalidated.
If you need any further advice on this far-from-festive problem, or help to choose the perfect policy for your property, Property Quote Direct can help provide comprehensive landlord insurance, ensuring that you, your property and your tenants are well protected against life’s unpleasant incidents - taking the worry off your shoulders. Contact the team on 0800 515 381 to see how they can help.
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