Discover how landlord insurance works and the best landlord insurance providers based on policies and customer reviews.

What is landlord insurance?

Landlord insurance is similar to home insurance, but it’s specifically designed to cover rental properties.

The three main types of landlord insurance are buildings, contents and liability insurance.

Beyond these, there are various add-ons you may find useful, depending on the type of property you’re letting.

You’ll usually take out insurance on a property-by-property basis. Portfolio policies are available to landlords who own four or more rented homes and want to insure them all at the same time.

Types of landlord insurance

Buildings insurance

Buildings insurance covers any damage to the structure of your property, as well as the cost of rebuilding the home if it’s irreparably damaged.

You generally won’t be able to take out a buy-to-let mortgage without proof of buildings insurance, and most lenders will specify the minimum level of cover they require in their terms and conditions.

If the property is a flat within a block, buildings insurance will usually be part of a shared block policy, which you’ll pay for as part of your service charge.

Buildings insurance policies typically offer cover against the following types of damage:

  • Theft, vandalism, malicious damage
  • Lightning, storm, earthquake damage (may be limited to the building itself rather than fences etc)
  • Subsidence
  • Burst pipes
  • Fire or smoke
  • Oil or water impact caused by accidents

There may be gaps in buildings cover when it comes to damage that originates within individual flats – such as a fire or water leak. For this reason, it’s very important to check exactly what’s covered within the policy and to consider taking out your own landlord policy to cover any exemptions.

Contents insurance

Contents insurance can usually be taken out as a standalone policy or as an add-on to buildings insurance. The level of contents insurance you’ll need depends on whether you’re letting a furnished or unfurnished property.

A contents insurance policy will cover the cost of repairing or replacing fixtures and fittings such as carpets, furniture and electrical items if, for example, they’re damaged in a flood, and some policies can be extended to cover accidental damage to items.

Landlord contents insurance policies only pay out on items that you’ve provided in the property. Anything that belongs to your tenants, from everyday belongings to furniture, won’t be covered, so tenants should take out their own policy too.

Liability insurance

Liability insurance covers you if your tenant or a visitor suffers an injury in your property.

Also known as public liability cover, this insurance protects you financially against unforeseen accidents, but shouldn’t be considered an excuse to not make the property as safe as possible for your tenants.

Liability insurance policies often have extremely high coverage limits stretching to millions of pounds, which could be necessary if you’re held legally responsible for an accident and need to pay compensation.

Rent guarantee insurance

Rent guarantee insurance (otherwise known as tenant default insurance or rent receivable insurance) protects you if your tenant falls into arrears and – in some cases – during any void periods when the property is empty.

As well as including lost income from missed rent payments, rent guarantee insurance usually includes legal expenses cover, which covers the costs of repossession and eviction proceedings if required.

This insurance can be an asset for landlords who rely on rental income to cover their mortgage payments, but check your contract with your managing agent (if applicable) first, as you may already be covered.

Home emergency cover

Home emergency cover offers round-the-clock cover against loss of essential services in your property.

These policies cover the cost of repairs and should enable you to get services up and running quickly.

Home emergency cover usually offers protection against the following issues:

  • Plumbing and heating problems (you may need to pay extra for boiler cover)
  • Roofing problems
  • Issues with doors and windows
  • Drains, pipes and sewer problems
  • Infestations
  • Electricity problems
  • Lost keys

However, past research by Which? has found that home emergency cover isn’t always worth buying due to the number of exclusions contained within many policies, so make sure you read the small print before taking out a policy.


Best landlord insurance providers

Finding the right landlord insurance policy can be tricky, so we’ve analysed the plans on offer from major providers including Aviva, Axa and Direct Line, and surveyed almost 500 landlords to gather real-life customer experiences.

You can find out the results – including overall policy scores and Which? customer scores – in the tables below.

Landlord insurance: policy scores

In July and August 2021, we rated 99 different aspects of landlord insurance policies, including their coverage of issues such as subsidence and malicious damage, to calculate the below policy scores.


Why did we analyse multiple Alan Boswell policies?

The policies from Alan Boswell are plans taken out by customers of the Alan Boswell Group, a company of independent insurance brokers.

The level of coverage differs based on which third-party company underwrites the policy (shown in brackets in the table above).

When taking out a policy, customers can choose which of the third parties they want it to be underwritten by.

Landlord insurance: customer reviews

To calculate our customer scores, we surveyed 496 landlords about how satisfied they were with their insurance provider.

The overall Which? customer scores below are calculated using a combination of satisfaction and the likelihood of the landlord recommending the provider in the future.


How much does landlord insurance cost?

The amount you’ll pay for landlord insurance depends on a whole host of factors, including your claim history and the age and history of the property itself.

Other factors include:

  • Location and type of property
  • Number of tenants
  • Rebuild cost of property
  • Level of contents you’re insuring
  • The level of excess you choose

Membership of a landlord accreditation scheme may entitle you to a discount from some insurers.

Our partner compares prices from over 50 insurers to help you choose the right provider. Get a quote now.

How to find landlord insurance

There are a number of ways you can find and buy landlord insurance, including:

  • Price comparison websites
  • Directly from insurance companies online or by phone
  • Through an insurance broker
  • Through a financial adviser

As with any financial product, you should always shop around and compare quotes, and if you’re unsure take independent advice before rushing in.

How to claim on your landlord insurance

If you need to make a claim, you should contact your insurer directly.

It’s important to do this as soon as possible, as waiting too long could result in the claim being rejected.

Once you’ve filed a claim, you’ll need to provide evidence of what, when and how the issue occurred and what it’ll cost to rectify it.

You should provide your insurer with any documents that could help them, including photos, estimates for repairs, invoices and any police report reference numbers if applicable.

How long it’ll take your insurer to investigate the claim and respond can vary, so check the conditions of your policy.

Landlord insurance policies: key terms

Insurance documents can be confusing, especially if you’re not familiar with the terminology.

Below, we’ve explained some of the keywords and phrases you’ll need to get your head around when choosing a policy.


Insurance policies describe the things they cover as ‘perils’. The perils list should be one of the first things you consult when choosing an insurer, as coverage differs between providers.

Insurers will generally allow you to add on extra types of cover (at a cost), and some will allow you to build your own bespoke policy, though in the case of buildings insurance this would have to meet the standards set by your mortgage lender.

Sum insured

The ‘sum insured’ is the maximum amount an insurer will pay out for any single claim.

As a rule of thumb, the sum insured should be equal to the rebuild cost of your property.

Be sceptical of policies offering to cover huge sums, as there’s little point in having £1 million-worth of cover if the entire cost of rebuilding the home would be much less.

Insurers usually adopt an ‘automatic reimbursement’ process for the sum insured. This means that after you’ve made a claim the maximum sum insured will usually stay the same; however, your premium may cost more when you renew.

Rebuild cost

The rebuild cost of your property only covers the raw cost of material and labour to rebuild your home, so it may be lower than its market value.

If you want to work out your property’s rebuild cost, you can pay for a house survey or use an online calculator, such as the one provided by the Association of British Insurers.


When you make a claim on an insurance policy, you’ll usually need to pay something towards the cost. This is called the excess.

The level of excess has a big effect on how much the policy will cost you in the first place, so choosing the right amount is very much a balancing act.

For example, standard insurance policies may charge as much as £500 excess on plumbing claims or £1,000 excess on subsidence claims. You can negotiate this down, but you’ll need to pay more up-front for the cover.

Rent guarantee insurance will generally come with an excess of one month’s rent.


Insurance policies will always feature a list of things that they don’t cover. These are called exclusions.

Always take a close look at the exclusions list before choosing a policy.