Storm damage and burst pipes cause the most damage in UK buy to let properties

Storm damage, burst pipes and damage from break-ins were the top reasons that buy to let property investors make insurance claims, new research has found.

The most common claim was for storm damage, which cost an average of £1,500 to repair, followed by damage to ceilings, walls and carpets caused by burst pipe with an average £4,500 repair bill.

The analysis of data from 100,000 policies by Simple Landlords Insurance also found that the third most common reason for making a claim was property damage caused by burglars with an average claim of £2,300.

The most expensive claim in the top 10 is £25,000 to repair the damage caused by an electrical fire and the report also explains how insurance premiums can vary significantly according to property type, location, and tenant type.

Andrew Weston from Simple Landlords Insurance said the research is useful for landlords as it helps them to find out the practical measures they can take to avoid the hassle and time of making an insurance claim, all of which will benefit them further by keeping premiums low.

‘Saving money will become even more important for landlords in coming years as tax increases announced by the Chancellor are phased in, which for many investors could make the difference between profit and loss,’ he pointed out.

‘Buying insurance is often one of the last things buy to let investors consider. Having a clear understanding of the key factors that can influence a premium will save landlords money in the long run,’ he added.

The report warns landlords about damages that are not covered by insurance policies. The most common reason that a landlord did not have cover was that they hadn’t purchased accidental damage cover in their policy.

The report also explains that while you never know where a storm will hit, certain features can make properties particularly vulnerable to harsh weather conditions. Properties with conservatories attached and dormer windows are especially likely to be damaged by high winds and excessive rain during a storm.

An example is a property in Edinburgh which needed more than £11,000 worth of repairs, including Perspex roof covering to the buildings’ exterior and solid oak flooring to its interior after two panels from its conservatory roof were ripped off during high winds in January 2015.

In Keighley, West Yorkshire, another landlord sustained damage worth just under £5,000 when their conservatory roof was replaced after every single roof pane was punctured by hailstones during a storm in July 2015.

A landlord in the West Midlands was contacted by his student tenants following a break in. The burglars smashed through the back door and tried to enter all the bedrooms upstairs. All the doors were locked but the thieves damaged the doors and frames with the damage amounting to almost £5,000.