Liability insurance and landlords

Posted: 3rd Aug 2019

At Cover4LetProperty, our landlords and holiday home insurance policies include £2m property owner’s liability (POL) insurance as standard – with the option to increase the cover up to £5m if required.

So, what is liability insurance and why is it so important?

Landlords liability insurance is designed to protect you against the financial ramifications of someone making a successful claim against you for damages caused to them while in or on your property.

What happens if…

For example, if someone slips on a stair carpet that is not fitted correctly, and they injure themselves, potentially, they could try and make a claim against you. If the court agrees that this was down to your negligence (and remember, this is a hypothetical example), then you could face a compensation bill, plus court costs, which could run in to thousands of pounds.

As you can see from the above example, it also protects the person claiming, should negligence on your part be proved. Any court awards made to them are designed to compensate them for injury and / or loss of earnings, plus suffering, mental trauma etc.

Without liability insurance and in the event of a successful claim being made against you, you would have to find the costs yourself – this could potentially bankrupt you.

Not having insurance and a claim being made against you may also damage your reputation – not ideal, particularly if you own a number of properties.

How do I get landlords liability insurance?

In some – but not all – cases, landlords liability cover often forms a standard part of a landlord insurance policy, with the upper claim amount varying depending on the provider.

Check your let property insurance policy or speak to your provider to make you sure you have enough cover

Is employers’ liability included as part of my landlord insurance policy?

No, it is not. Employers liability insurance is typically regarded as an entirely separate line of insurance protection and may not be included as part of your landlord’s POL cover.

Employers’ liability insurance protects the people working for you on your premises, such as cleaners, letting agents or decorators, in the event that they need to make a claim against you (because they have suffered injury, loss or damage). It also, of course, protects you too, as it you won’t need to find all the court costs and any compensation awarded yourself.

In many situations where you are employing people, the law will require that you have employers’ liability insurance cover in place. It is not, as such, negotiable in these cases.

Where you may need to be cautious though is in deciding just who is or is not one of your employees.

At one time, this might have been relatively simple and based around the idea that in order to be counted as an employee, an individual would need to have a formal contract of employment in place.

You should note though that this is no longer necessarily the case. For a large number of reasons, including the rise of significant numbers of people nationally working on a self-employed basis, the authorities may interpret people performing work for you to be your employees even though you do not.

Should they form such a view of anyone doing work for you, including perhaps cleaners or odd-job people, you may find yourself potentially in breach of the law in terms of failing to provide employers’ liability cover.

It is well worth noting that in some cases, even family and friends who are working for you on a voluntary basis could be assessed as being your employees.

As you can see, ensuring you have the most appropriate type of cover may be very important. In today’s particularly litigious society, you may feel you wish to protect yourself and your business as much as you can. Having liability insurance in place is also part and parcel of being a responsible landlord.

If you have any questions relating to property owner’s liability insurance, please give us a call on 01702 606301- we are here to help.