Landlord insurance: What are insurers covering during COVID-19?

TAMIKA SEETO
Landlords looking to insure their investment properties may have noticed a few changes in the landlord insurance market since the COVID-19 pandemic began. We take a look at what changes have occurred and which insurers on our database are currently offering cover for rent default and other tenant-related risks.

Canstar’s Ratings Manager Joshua Sale said the insurance landscape had been reshaped by the fallout of the pandemic, particularly when it came to landlords who wanted insurance to cover risks such as unpaid rent. This type of cover is often called rent default, tenant default or loss of rent cover, depending on the insurer.

“Most landlords generally look for cover for tenant-related risks, such as loss of rental income and damage caused by tenants,” Mr Sale said.

“After the National Cabinet announced a temporary six-month freeze on evictions (in March, 2020), the majority of insurers in Australia stopped covering tenant-related risks on new policies until further notice.”

The rental eviction freeze has now ended in some parts of the country and is soon to end in other parts. However, there are still many insurers who are not covering certain tenant-related risks. For example, about 70% of insurers on Canstar’s database are not offering rent default cover at the time of writing.

If you’re wondering what coverage insurers are offering now, Canstar has put together a table showing the insurers on our database that are providing coverage for the following scenarios:

  • Rent default – ordinarily, this covers events such as missed rent payments, loss of income due to a property being vacant, and legal costs involved with pursuing a tenant for rent.
  • Tenant theft – this typically covers loss or damage caused by theft or attempted theft by tenants or guests.
  • Malicious damage by a tenant – this generally covers malicious damage by a tenant or a guest, such as “trashing” a property, graffiti or other deliberate acts of vandalism.
  • Loss of rent due to an insured event – this typically covers you if there is an insured event, such as a flood, fire or storm, and your rental property cannot be lived in.

If you have an existing policy, you should still expect to be covered for any tenant risks listed in the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). However, Mr Sale says it’s important to check with your insurer to confirm the details of what you are and aren’t covered for.

What is currently on offer?

Canstar has rounded up the types of coverage available from insurers on our database for new policies at the time of writing. Coverage may be offered as a standard inclusion, as an optional inclusion or not at all. If it is an optional inclusion, this means you will have to pay extra for it.

It’s important to check with any individual insurer you’re considering for more information on what it will and won’t cover, any exclusions, limitations or eligibility criteria that apply, and how much optional cover could cost you on top of the base premium for a policy.

Please note that we have not included insurers who are not offering landlord insurance to new customers.

Tick standard inclusion, Nought optional inclusion, Cross not included. 

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Product Rent
Default
Tenant
Theft
Malicious
Damage
by tenant
Loss of Rent
from an
Insured Event
AAMI
– Landlord Insurance
Nought Nought Nought Tick
Allianz Australia
– Landlord Insurance
Cross Cross Tick Tick
AON
– Rental Protection Plus
Cross Cross Tick Tick
APIA
– Landlord Insurance
Nought Tick Tick Tick
Australia Post
– Landlord Insurance
Cross Tick Tick Tick
Australian Unity Insurance
– Landlords Insurance
Cross Cross Tick Tick
Bank of Melbourne
– Essential Care
Landlord Insurance
Cross Cross Cross Cross
Bank of Melbourne
– Quality Care
Landlord Insurance
Cross Cross Cross Tick
BankSA
– Essential Care
Landlord Insurance
Cross Cross Cross Cross
BankSA
– Quality Care
Landlord Insurance
Cross Cross Cross Tick
Bankwest
– Investment Home Package
Nought Nought Nought Tick
Bendigo Bank
– Landlord Insurance
Cross Cross Tick Tick
BOQ
– Vero Secure
Landlord Insurance
Nought Tick Tick Nought
Budget Direct
– Landlord Insurance
Cross Cross Cross Tick
Bupa Insurance
– Landlords Insurance
Cross Cross Nought Tick
Catholic Church Insurances
– Landlord Insurance
Cross Cross Tick Tick
CGU
– Landlords
Residential Property
Cross Cross Tick Tick
CHU
– Landlord Insurance for
Units/Townhouses
Cross Tick Tick Tick
Coles Insurance
– Landlord Insurance
Cross Nought Nought Nought
CommInsure
– Investment Home Package
Nought Nought Nought Tick
CUA
– Landlord Insurance
Cross Cross Tick Tick
Elders Insurance
– Landlord Cover
Cross Tick Tick Tick
GIO
– Landlord Insurance
Tick Tick Tick Tick
HBF Financial Services
– Landlord Insurance
Cross Cross Tick Tick
HSBC
– Landlord Insurance
Cross Cross Tick Tick
Hume Bank
– Landlord Insurance
Cross Cross Tick Tick
IMB
– Secure Landlord Insurance
Nought Tick Tick Nought
ING
– Landlord Insurance
Cross Cross Cross Nought
Kogan Insurance
– Landlord’s Cover Insurance
Cross Tick Tick Tick
Landlord Select
– Landlords Insurance
Tick Tick Tick Tick
NAB
– NAB Residential
Investor Insurance
Cross Cross Tick Tick
NRMA Insurance
– Landlord Insurance
– NSW/ACT/TAS
Cross Tick Tick Tick
NRMA Insurance
– Landlord Insurance
– QLD
Cross Tick Tick Tick
Over Fifty Insurance
– Landlord Insurance
Cross Cross Tick Tick
People’s Choice Credit Union
– Landlords Residential
Property Insurance
Cross Cross Tick Tick
QBE
– Landlord Cover
Cross Tick Tick Tick
RAA
– Landlord Insurance and
Short Stay Insurance
Tick Tick Tick Tick
RAC
– Landlord Insurance
Cross Tick Tick Tick
RACT
– Investor Insurance – Basic
Cross Cross Cross