Landlords told to check insurance following SA and VIC bushfires

Insurance providers have urged landlords to check their coverage following bushfires across South Australia and Victoria.

According to the Insurance Council of Australia, 350 claims have been lodged since the blaze last week, with insured losses of more than $13 million.

A reported 38 homes were lost in South Australia alone.

Carolyn Parrella from Terri Scheer Insurance, Australia’s largest specialist landlord insurer, said the devastation should prompt landlords to think about whether they would be covered if their property was affected by a natural hazard.

“It’s often in times like these when insurance becomes front of mind, in terms of whether there is adequate insurance in place, or whether a homeowner is covered at all,” she said.

“My message to landlords is – don’t wait until it’s too late when it comes to insurance coverage.”

Parrella said it is a good idea for landlords to regularly review their policy and ensure they would have appropriate coverage if affected.

“In the event of a fire, damage to the building itself may be at the landlord’s expense unless they have a suitable building insurance policy in place,” she said.

“Building insurance may offer protection of a landlord’s rental income if the property is damaged and can’t be tenanted for a period of one week up to 52 weeks.

“It’s also a good risk management strategy for landlords, as it covers for unexpected events that damage your property, such as fire, flood or explosions, as well as loss of damage caused by tenants.”

However, the most important step for landlords to take is to make sure their insurance is still current: expired policies offer no protection if disaster hits.