It was back in 1991 when a gap in the market was recognised for specialist landlord insurance.
The idea was hatched and one of Australia’s first landlord insurance products debuted in the market.
Fast-forward 30 years and EBM RentCover is one of today’s premier landlord insurance providers and a respected market innovator.
Based on our experience, here are 30 things to look for when partnering with a landlord insurance specialist.
Not all insurance is created equal and it’s important for your landlords to choose the right cover.
Not every rental property or every lease arrangement is the same, and landlords need the option to select the product that covers the risks they face. The insurance provider should have a suite of products to choose from.
2. Building type
The risks are different for different types of property – house, apartment, villa, unit, townhouse, flat and serviced apartment. The options for building and contents, or contents only, policies should be available.
3. Leasing scenario
Not all insurers offer cover for the different ways properties are leased. While most cover fixed-term letting scenarios, not all offer products addressing the risks associated with other types of rentals like serviced apartments or Airbnb.
4. Short-term cover
Cover for short-term letting arrangements are not offered by all insurers. And even those that do offer the cover for holiday homes are less likely to provide cover for Airbnb.
5. Standard inclusions
There are differences between insurers as to what is covered as standard and what is an optional extra. For example, flood cover, fusion cover and pet damage are not standard in many policies. But they are standard in EBM RentCover policies.
6. Comprehensive cover
There are common risks that landlords face and the policy chosen should have good provisions for tenant-related issues, all types of damage, liability and weather-related events.
7. Tenant-related matters
Cover for tenant-related risks, like loss of rent or damage, is important as these are the most common reasons why landlords need to claim.
8. Limits of cover
The maximum values that can be claimed, and the periods of time when losses are covered, should be high enough to provide peace of mind.
Circumstances change, and the insurance provider should have the flexibility to adapt. For example, EBM RentCover introduced new policies in response to COVID-19.
While cost should never be the deciding factor, affordability is important. Landlords should be able to secure the right cover at a competitive price.
It can be argued that the true test of an insurance policy comes when it’s time to make a claim.
11. Track record
The insurer’s history when it comes to claims management and payouts is paramount. One known for denying claims is a risky choice.
Any premium savings are quickly eroded if the claims process is onerous and time-consuming.
It needs to be transparent and streamlined.
Choice in lodgement should be available – phone, email, online, hardcopy forms.
The insurance provider should be able to guide the policyholder or agent through the process – what they need to do and what supporting documentation is required.
Overseas call centres and chatbots – these have their advantages, but nothing really compares to being able to talk or correspond with someone local.
17. Specialist team
Dealing with someone who takes an interest in the claim, knows the process and will see it through from start to finish, can alleviate stress.
When things go wrong and a claim needs to made, having someone who empathises and wants to help can be invaluable.
Product Disclosure Statements are black and white and set out what is and isn’t covered. But having an insurance provider who sees the shades of grey, and goes out of their way to do all they can to help the policyholder, is advantageous.
Fairly assessing and settling the claim should be the insurer’s priority. A provider with the authority to settle claims in-house can really speed things up.
At EBM RentCover, we believe service is just as important as cover.
There are plenty of general insurers that offer landlord products, but few specialist providers. We only offer landlord and tenant insurance products.
A specialist provider knows the risks and mitigations inside out and is focussed on providing protection for landlords. Look for insurers that provide support from cover to claim.
Being a recognised brand is great, but being a trusted provider is even better. Words like approachable, fair, consistent, empathetic and professional are music to our ears.
Taking out landlord insurance shouldn’t be a purely transactional process. A provider should also offer proactive customer service and support.
Mutually beneficial relationships are the foundation for business success. We invest time and resources into developing and nurturing our relationships with everyone from our underwriters to policyholders, agents, insurance industry, property industry, real estate media, and our in-house teams.
26. Industry partnerships
Agents need insurance providers they can effectively work with, ones that will support them and their business. While other providers prefer to deal direct with landlords, we have fostered a network of agent partners who are trusted to distribute our products and we encourage landlords to engage agents to manage their rentals.
An insurance provider could happily just sit back and do its thing – issuing policies and processing claims. But EBM RentCover focuses on education too. We empower landlords and agents with the tools and knowledge needed to make informed decisions about landlord insurance.
Embracing technological advances and innovating keeps insurance providers relevant. Look for a provider that can adapt and pioneer products and services to meet the changing needs of landlords, agents and tenants.
Insurance is a business, but it’s a business that exists to support people. Some providers put profits ahead of all else. You need an insurer who puts people first – from policyholders to agent partners, industry colleagues, communities and their own people.
Insurance providers come and go, but we have been around for 30 years. That’s three decades of providing reliable solutions to help agents, landlords and tenants feel confident they are well protected by insurance.