In this Direct Line landlord insurance review we’ll reveal our insights into this popular insurer.
Is Direct Line landlord insurance right for you? Why not get a fast online quote from Emerald Life to compare for yourself?
Landlords face numerous unique challenges that are part of owning a home that they hand over to tenants. Having landlord insurance in place is a wise financial investment to protect your property should something go wrong. While it is not compulsory to have landlord insurance in the UK, it is something every owner should consider.
Of course, no two insurance policies are created equal, so finding the best deal depends on various criteria. That’s why understanding the pros and cons of individual policies is important. With that in mind, we have decided to take a closer look at Direct Line for Business landlord insurance.
In this article, you can see the clear benefits of the policy available from Direct Line, but also some of the issues with the company’s insurance products. Furthermore, we discuss why we ultimately believe the landlord insurance policy from Emerald Life is a better choice.
Ok, we get it, naturally we would think our own product is better. Still, in the following review we’ll present a fair case to show you there are choices available, even if you still opt to buy from Direct Line.
Table of Contents
What Is Landlord Insurance and Do I Need It?
When you own a home, there are many risks that the property faces. From weather events, accidents, fires, floods, theft, and more, there are many potential headaches that could cost you financially. When you own a home to rent, landlord insurance covers you against these mishaps.
Many people own a second home or want to invest in another property for the purpose of renting it to tenants. Customers often make the mistake of thinking their home insurance policy from their lived-in home will extend to this second house. Others believe they don’t need any kind of insurance on any property they own.
Both are incorrect. Firstly, a standard home insurance policy will not protect properties that you do not live in. If you own a second home, you need to have a specific type of insurance policy to cover it. For example, unoccupied insurance for empty properties and landlord insurance for homes you rent to tenants.
Some landlords have multiple properties in their portfolio and treat rentals like a business. Needless to say, in these circumstances, having proper insurance cover should be at the top of your list of “must haves”.
Secondly, ignoring insurance entirely is not a wise choice. For a small financial outlay, you can avoid being on the hook for tens of thousands of pounds should your home be damaged or destroyed. It’s also worth noting most mortgage lenders will not provide a mortgage if you do not have proper home insurance in place.
Direct Line Landlord Insurance Review
When looking at landlord insurance from Direct Line, everything looks good on the surface. After-all, the company is among the UK’s leading insurance providers.
However, digging down into some of the finer details reveals some issues with the cover provided by Direct Line. Let’s be clear, there are no inherently terrible aspects of the landlord insurance available from Direct Line, but there are some things you need to consider.
We’ll get into some problematic areas of Direct Line’s offering soon, but first it’s best to look at the policy on offer. Coming from the Direct Line for Business part of the company, landlord insurance is flexible, allowing customers to purchase buildings insurance and contents insurance separately, or bundle the two.
Other highlights of the policy include £2 million in public liability cover, and a 10% discount for landlords with over 15 properties in their portfolio. Below are the benefits available with the standard landlord insurance cover from Direct Line:
- Buildings Insurance (with Boiler Cover)
- Contents Insurance (New-for-old item replacements and Replacement Locks cover)
- Glass and Sanitary Ware
- Fixtures and Fittings Cover – are you a leasehold landlord? This covers you for damage to permanent internal fixtures that are not insured by any buildings insurance policies.
- Public Liability cover of £2m
- Floor Coverings up to £5k (can increase at a higher premium cost)
- Direct Line pays to re-house a tenant following insured events that fall under the policy definitions, such as floods and fire.
While that’s a solid standard landlord insurance policy, it does omit some other types of cover. If you want to extend your level of insurance towards a more comprehensive policy, you must pay extra for the following options:
- Landlord Emergency – when an insured event occurs on your property, Direct Line sends a contractor.
- Legal Expenses – Offers cover for your legal costs when defending yourself from claims. For example, this option adds Repossession Cover, Nuisance and Eviction of Squatters Cover, and Tax Protection to a policy.
- Loss of Rent – Provides cover for lost income when a home your rent becomes uninhabitable following an insured event.
- Accidental Damage for buildings and/or contents that have been included on the policy.
- Employers’ Liability – If an employee makes a claim against you (such as a work injury), this insurance covers you.
- Theft by Tenant Cover.
- Malicious Damage by Tenants.
Thanks to those options, you can build up a robust policy. However, because these are extras, the cost of that policy can quickly escalate. It’s standard practice for many of these additions to be optional extras, but some are available as part of standard landlord insurance through some providers.
For example, at Emerald Life we include legal liability cover within our standard landlord insurance policy. Furthermore, our landlord insurance also provides robust cover against accidental damage to home systems. For example, damage to underground water pipes, underground cables, gas pipes, sewers, and drains.
Because Emerald Life includes £5000 of contents insurance for free into its landlord insurance policies, customers can often avoid higher costs. Many other providers, such as Direct Line for Business, offer contents cover but as an included cost of a policy.
Despite our free contents insurance commitment, the level of contents cover provided matches levels offered by other insurers.
Direct Line Landlord Insurance Excess
Your insurance excess is one of the most important parts of any policy you purchase. This denotes the amount of money you must pay when making a claim. For example, a £150 excess on a claim for replacing a broken wall that would cost £1,000 to repair would see you paying the first £150. This money would need to be paid before your insurer would pay out on the claim.
You can choose your level of excess, either opting for a low or high excess. These two approaches result in different outcomes:
- A low excess means you will not pay as much towards a claim. However, low excess policies will almost always cost you more money per month/year.
- A high excess means you pay more towards a claim. You are on the hook for more money should an insured event happen, but your policy rate will be lower the higher your excess is.
In terms of Direct Line landlord insurance, the excess on some policy benefits is important. For example, the boiler cover included in the standard policy sounds good, and indeed, it is a nice addition for customers. However, it is worth noting this cover comes with a compulsory excess of £200.
For some customers that may be acceptable, but for others the cost of the excess may be too much when an insured event happens.
Direct Line Landlord Insurance Reviews – What the Customers Say
Whether its waxing lyrical about Direct Line landlord insurance or lamenting the product, probably the best way to understand the pros and cons of the policy is to know what customers are saying. How are insurance buyers viewing the general abilities of Direct Line and its insurance policies? Well, the answer is opinions on the company are a mixed bag.
Industry opinion on Direct Line is in, and the consensus is positive. A five-star rating from Defaqto and winning What Mortgage Best Landlord Insurance Provider award each year since 2013 are positive signs. Interestingly, consumers are not quite so confident about the quality of Direct Line.
While the ins and outs of the company’s policies are held in high regard, customers seem to have concerns about customer care and the claims process. On TrustPilot, Direct Line for Business has a score of just 1.7 out of five. Most reviewers (86%) rate the service as “Bad,” pointing to poor performance by contractors sent by the company and generally shoddy customer service.
It’s only a little better on SmartMoneyPeople.com, where customers have rated Direct Line for Business with a still low 3.39 out of 5. Again, most complaints focus on Direct Line being difficult in the customer service department. Specifically, customers say the company is hard to get hold of during a claim.
There’s a couple of things to note. Firstly, it is Direct Line for Business that seems to annoy customers, with the personal side of Direct Line scoring well across review sites. Secondly, there are some review aggregators that show some customers are happy with their experience with Direct Line for Business. The most notable is Reevoo, where the company has a five-star rating.
In many ways, Emerald Life was created to help customers avoid the confusion that these kinds of reviews highlight. Insurance companies became too hit and miss in the level of service they were providing, with customers often left frustrated. Emerald Life wants to remove this apathy from the industry, we want to bring stellar customer care to everyone.
Yes, creating insurance products that stand as equal to those of other providers is important to us, but we also want all our customers to have the best experience possible.
We can point to our own 4.7/5 rating on Feefo.com, 5/5 rating on SmartMoneyPeople, and 3/3 on FairerFinance. Those ratings are nice because they come from our customers and reflect Emerald’s commitment to delivering insurance without compromise. Our company was created to bring equal insurance opportunities to all customers and ensure our clients feel secure with the policy they buy.
Direct Line for Business landlord insurance ticks many boxes. It is a robust policy that will cover you across a wide range of scenarios. However, the simplicity and customer-first approach of Emerald Life is not something Direct Line for Business excels at. That may not be a dealbreaker for some customers, and if you do purchase landlord cover from the company, you get a good policy.
Article: Direct Line Landlord Insurance Review