Suffering damage to your rental property can be very stressful, and large claims can be particularly problematic and time consuming to resolve. Large claims also impact your claims history, which could increase the premium of any home insurance policies you take out in the future. So what can you do to minimise these types of claims?
Claims come in all shapes and sizes, but there are some basic and cost effective steps that you can take to help prevent them:
A burst pipe can cause a lot of damage in a very short space of time, but you can take steps to prevent this. If cold weather is forecast, ensure your heating system is working and left on, with the thermostat adequately set.
If the property is likely to be empty for a period of time, you might want to consider turning the water supply off at the mains. This can be done either by an internal stopcock, or one located in the pavement. You may also need to consider taking out unoccupied home insurance to cover for the increased risk of the property sitting empty.
If a pipe is damaged, inform your tenants of where the stopcocks are so that they can take steps to help minimise any damage. Keep details of a local plumber handy to contact in an emergency.
Flooding is a little more difficult to prevent, but there are still steps that can be taken. If your property is in an area vulnerable to flooding, think about installing flood gates across ground floor doors. It might also be beneficial to have the ground floor brickwork treated externally with a waterproofing solution.
As a landlord, you should ensure that your gas and electrical installations are checked regularly to prevent possible damage. You should also ensure that smoke detectors are installed.
You might also consider installing a fire extinguisher and/or fire blanket within the property. Having these items displayed prominently will make them easier to access. Although you should brief your tenants on their use, tackling a fire should only be contemplated when it is safe to do so. Otherwise, they should get out, stay out, and call the fire brigade as soon as possible.
If any of your tenants smoke, you should provide them with clear instructions on how they must dispose of their smoking materials safely, especially before going to bed.
Whilst rarely as severe as flood or fire damage, drain claims can still be costly. This is due to the labour and specialist knowledge required to excavate and reinstate them. Try and prevent your tenants from flushing away nappies or regularly pouring grease, cooking fat or oil down the drains.
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