CIA Landlord Insurance Review: The Right Provider For You?

CIA Landlord Insurance Review: The Right Provider For You?

Flexible cover that is best suited to non-standard properties

Good for

  • Non-standard property coverage
  • Variety of tenants accepted
  • Range of optional policy add-ons
  • Multiple property discounts

Bad for

  • Only 3 star Defaqto rating
  • Home emergency cover not offered
  • Coverage and cost can vary widely depending on insurer

Editor's Rating

3.5/5.0

The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.

As seen on

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Created in the mid 1990’s, CIA Insurance provides a variety of services ranging from household and travel insurance right through to landlord insurance. Boasting over 20 years experience, CIA is considered to be one of the top landlord insurance brokers in the UK.

With an ‘excellent’ Trustpilot rating of 4.8 out of 5 across over 600 reviews, it appears CIA performs well in terms of customer experience. However, independent analysts Defaqto have awarded CIA’s landlord insurance offer only 3 out of 5 stars, indicating an average quality offer.

So how good is CIA’s landlord insurance really? In this review we take a deep-dive into what is and isn’t included, customer reviews and ratings as well as the cost of a no-frills policy compared to other landlord insurance providers on the market to determine if it really is worth it.

In This Review

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CIA Landlord Insurance Overall Review

With over 20 years in the landlord insurance market, CIA works with a panel of leading insurers to ensure they find the right policy for you that accommodates your needs. As such, they have positioned themselves as a provider specializing in more niche areas of the landlord insurance market, offering protection for properties that might otherwise be rejected by their rivals. These include non-standard and unoccupied properties, as well as those with flat roofs.

Due to their flexible coverage and desirable policy features, CIA is considered to be one of the top landlord insurance brokers in the UK, reflected by their exceptional customer rating of 4.8 out of 5 on Trustpilot. Many customers commend CIA on the knowledge and helpfulness of their advisors, especially when dealing with first-time landlords, many of whom naturally find the world of landlord insurance slightly confusing.

However, when we take a look at independent reviews we see a slightly less favourable rating. Experts from Defaqto have only rated CIA’s landlord insurance offer 3 out of 5 stars, indicating average quality compared to its rivals. Defaqto takes into account a variety of factors when rating a product or service, namely its features and benefits compared to the standard of competitors on the market.

Simply put, whilst customers appear to be happy overall with CIA’s landlord insurance offer, independent experts are not quite so convinced. In this review we’ll be taking a look at the bigger picture as well as the nitty gritty: what is and isn’t included, how the cost compares to rival landlord insurance providers as well as customer feedback to help you make the most informed decision regarding whether CIA is truly worth it.

Let’s start by taking a look at the benefits of choosing CIA landlord insurance...

Why choose CIA Landlord insurance?

CIA prides itself in providing high quality landlord insurance, and it certainly includes some desirable features. Below we've listed some key benefits we feel really make them standout from their rivals:

  • Non standard property coverage: CIA offers a variety of policies, including coverage for properties that are unoccupied, non-standard construction and for landlords that have a large portfolio under their belt
  • Accepts a variety of tenant types: whilst other insurers may shy away from certain types of tenant, CIA specializes in this, and offer curated policies to cover DSS, professionals, students and asylum seekers
  • Flexible cover: as CIA works with a panel of insurers, it means you can pick and choose what level of coverage is right for you, and at a competitive price
  • Excellent customer reviews
  • High level of standard cover: CIA’s standard landlord insurance includes a variety of desirable features that many of its rivals offer as an optional extra for an additional cost
  • Experienced team: CIA has over 20 years of experience in the landlord insurance market

CIA Landlord insurance reviews and ratings

CIA Customer Ratings

Trustpilot Rating

4.8 out of 5 (landlord insurance specific)

Defaqto Rating

3 stars (landlord insurance specific)

The ratings we have found for CIA landlord insurance are very mixed. They perform exceptionally well in terms of customer experience and satisfaction, scoring 4.8 out of 5 on Trustpilot, however they have earned only 3 stars from Defaqto for their policy benefits and features, representing an ‘average’ product. When we compare CIA's Defaqto rating to other providers of landlord insurance, such as AXA, Aviva and DirectLine, we see that CIA appears to miss the mark and falls behind its competitors.

Let's first take a look at what CIA’s customers have to say before we dive into what is and isn’t included in their landlord insurance.

What does CIA Landlord insurance do well?

During our research we noticed customers continue to praise CIA on their exceptional customer service, particularly how approachable, friendly and patient their advisors are which makes them worthy of consideration for first-time landlords.

It also appears that as a result of their excellent service they retain a large proportion of their customer base, with many continuing to renew their policies.

“Very competitive prices and easy and straightforward to set up, so helpful”

“Quick to answer the phone when I called. Very helpful and friendly customer services representative. Answered all questions. Provided very competitive quote. Very impressed and would highly recommend for landlord insurance quotes”

“Provided an excellent customer service experience when I renewed insurance. Totally professional and refreshingly human engagement during our call”

“She answered my queries and questions whilst providing an excellent service. Due to my lack of understanding she was able to explain everything so calmly”

“Buying Landlord insurance, process very easy, polite and professional. Price quote was comparable to other quotes”

“Great Insurer. Very knowledgeable, courteous staff. 6th yearly renewal today - hardly any price increase since policy first started...Really good firm -- they go far and wide to get the precise cover you need at the best rates. And the staff REALLY know their stuff... They were able to explain the exact cover of the policy terms, with details of the specific cover that I had no idea existed - and I have been a landlord for many years”

“Very helpful with moving 8 rental properties with different renewal dates to a single renewal date, including updating rebuild values. Patient with multiple queries and explained things well and clearly”

What could CIA Landlord insurance improve on?

Whilst negative reviews for CIA’s landlord insurance offer were quite hard to come by, we did notice a few customers were frustrated with the way in which their claims had been handled. Specifically, claims were denied despite paying a premium for extra cover and also frustration at having to deal with a third party (i.e. the insurer underwriting their policy).

“Have been with them for many years and when I had to evict tenants who had not paid rent for 18 months they denied my claim for legal expenses despite paying a premium for it. I have now just heard that they are denying my further claim for malicious damage despite once again paying extra for this cover”

“My claim, being dealt with by their loss adjusters Davies Group, is still not resolved after 5 months. Perhaps it is their loss adjusters that are incompetent and inefficient but I cannot stress strongly enough that on the surface all is well, but if you make a claim they are very, very poor, do not reply to requests for information”

“I took out Landlords building insurance via CIA insurance. Davies Group is suppose to deal with my roof claim. It has been since August and nothing has been done. I had to sort out the flat roof myself as they were not responding to my calls/ emails and the manager does not even seem to exist as after 6 months I have still not got a call back”

Of course, it is important to note the fact that sometimes customers are unaware of the true extent of their policy and the specific events that are covered. It’s no surprise given how long landlord insurance policy documents can be and the fact they come with a long list of conditions and exclusions.

It is always good to bear this in mind when reading reviews left by frustrated customers wondering why their claim had been denied, and we always recommend reading your policy carefully to ensure you don't end up in a similar situation!

How much is CIA Landlord insurance?

As we discussed previously, CIA is slightly different to other landlord insurance providers as they work with a panel of insurers, all of whom determine who and what is covered, along with how much this cover will cost. So, when you request a quote for landlord insurance through CIA you will find you are given a variety of quotes from different members of this panel, and these will often range in price, too.

Keeping this in mind, we have compiled quotes for a 1 bedroom flat located outside of London in a mid-sized town, with a rebuild value of £200,000 to give you a view of what a no-frills policy could cost you. We found that with buildings insurance and property owners liability as standard, CIA offered us a variety of quotes ranging from £128 to £264 (depending on the insurance provider) which makes it both the most expensive and second cheapest provider (!)

chart comparing the costs of landlord insurance
Costs can really vary so it's important to check prices from multiple sources and understand what's included

Landlord insurance quote comparison for a 1 bedroom flat (£annual)

CIA

£264 (highest sample quote)

JustLandlord

£242

AXA

£220

Aviva

£214

DirectLine

£198

Endsleigh

£168

CIA

£128 (lowest sample quote)

Alan Boswell

£112 (highest sample quote)

Alan Boswell

£56 (lowest sample quote)

This difference in low and top-end figures is quite significant, and it is important to remember that each policy may differ from the other and offer more or less coverage.

For example, our sample quote from insurer Modus Essential 250 was priced at £141 but included free Malicious damage by tenants, whilst the most expensive quote from Pen Underwriting was £264, but included malicious damage by tenants and accidental damage to buildings in their policy as standard!

Of course, these quotes are intended to be used as a guideline, and your quotes may be higher or lower depending on your own individual circumstances. It's a little bit confusing, so let’s take a closer look at what key covers are included in the majority of CIA’s landlord insurance policies...

What is/isn’t covered by CIA's Landlord insurance?

As we mentioned earlier, CIA is slightly different as it works with a panel of insurers, meaning they can offer you a variety of different policies at competitive prices. This does mean that your level of coverage may vary depending on who the insurer is, but we have found that overall CIA offers a range of features in line with what you’d expect from a good landlord insurance policy. These include:

  • Buildings insurance: covers the cost of loss or damage to the building in the event of, say, fire, smoke, storm, flood, malicious damage or vandalism (note: this does not cover malicious damage by tenants)
  • Landlords contents: if any of the contents you provide to your tenants are lost or damaged as a result of, for example, any of the events above this will cover the cost of repairing or replacing these. Some policies also cover white goods (e.g. washing machine), so be sure to check out the details in your policy specifically
  • Accidental damage to buildings: if your property is damaged or lost as a result of an accident that is not specifically mentioned in the exclusions section of your policy, this feature will cover the costs of repairing the damage
  • Landlord liability (limit of cover varies depending on insurer): this will cover the costs if a third party makes a claim against you for suffering sickness, injury or if their property is damaged as a result of your actions or your property
  • Alternative tenant accomodation: if your property has been made uninhabitable (e.g. due to flood) CIA will cover the cost of alternative appropriate accommodation for your tenants for the period of time it takes to ensure the property has been made habitable again
  • Loss of rental income: similarly to the above, if you end up losing rent due to the fact your property has been made uninhabitable, CIA will also protect you against these losses as well as covering additional costs and expenses including re-letting the property and associated legal fees in trying to void/limit the loss of income
  • Replacement locks (limit of cover varies depending on insurer): as standard, CIA will cover the cost of replacement locks and keys as a result of theft or loss
  • Landlord employers liability: If you employ someone, by law you must have employers liability insurance (note: there are some exemptions). As owner of your property, CIA’s standard landlord insurance will cover compensation payments and legal costs if an employee suffers a work-related illness or accident

Optional add-ons

Depending on the specific insurer listed in your landlord insurance documents, you may find that some of these benefits are included as standard (i.e. not at an extra cost), so read your policy carefully. Regardless, CIA does offer a variety of desirable add-ons for those landlords looking for an extra layer of protection.

  • Malicious damage and theft by tenants: if a tenant intentionally loses or damages your property or any contents that you supply, CIA will cover the costs associated with repair and or replacement (again, some policies do include this for free providing your tenants are working professionals or retired)
  • Landlord legal expenses (£50,000): CIA will provide access to a legal advice helpline as well as covering the cost of unexpected legal fees associated with e.g. repossession, rent recovery, damage to your property, nuisance and trespass
  • Landlord rent guarantee: protects you against losses if a tenant is unable to make rental payments regardless of whether your property is habitable or not (e.g. if the tenant has recently lost their job). If you rely heavily on your rental property income, or indeed if this is your only source of income this is definitely worth considering.

Missing features

There are some features that either aren’t offered in CIA’s standard residential landlord cover or aren’t available to purchase as an add on. These features are worth knowing about as they do provide that added layer of protection if something were to happen and could save you a lot of money, so going without these could be risky.

  • Landlord home emergency cover: in the event of an emergency (e.g. a boiler breakdown), CIA’s panel of insurers do not offer cover for call-out costs, labour and parts required to resolve the issue. Keep this in mind as emergencies can and do happen, and it’s always good to have a plan of action in place to protect you as these events can be very costly!

Exclusions: What isn’t included?

As with almost any type of insurance, landlord insurance often contains some exclusions that are good to be aware of so you don’t get caught out. CIA (and their panel of insurers) are no different so we've outlined a few key exclusions we believe you ought to be aware of. Note, the full list is much longer, so make sure to read up on the exclusions to avoid getting caught out.

  • Any damage or events that you were aware of before the policy start date: a common exclusion that is often missed, so make sure you triple check when your cover officially starts!
  • War, terrorism, nuclear attacks: If your property is damaged as a result of events associated with these (e.g. if, rather unfortunately, your property suffers damage from a nuclear attack) you will not be covered
  • Any damage resulting from faulty or poor quality design, materials or construction
  • Any gradually occurring damage i.e. natural wear and tear or damage that would be expected as a result of aging
  • Damage caused by frost, damp, dry-rot
  • Damage to fences, gates, hedges, terraces, walls and outbuildings unless the main private dwelling of your property is damaged at the same time

Another key point to remember as a landlord of a rented property is that if your property is unoccupied for longer than the period of time outlined in your policy, any damage or losses that occur within this time will often not be covered by your insurer.

How does CIA Landlord Insurance Compare to Competitors?

To better understand the value of CIA Landlord insurance you need to look at it in the context of other available options. We compared it to other plans in the market so you can see which may be more suitable for you.

CIA Landlord Insurance vs Alan Boswell Landlord Insurance

One of the most affordable insurers we sampled from, Alan Boswell certainly doesn’t lack in its cover. As standard, they cover many of the ‘essentials’ included buildings, contents, landlord liability, employer's liability as well as accidental damage and malicious damage by tenants!

That being said, for landlords looking for rent guarantee, legal expenses or landlord home emergency insurance — this will come at an extra cost. However, with excellent expert and customer ratings across the board and a low sample price to boot… it’s certainly worth considering.

Bottom Line: our research found Alan Boswell to offer excellent coverage at a low price, making it one of the best landlord insurance offers we have come across. For landlords looking for a value offer that is trusted by experts and customers alike, Alan Boswell may be the landlord insurance provider for you.

CIA Landlord Insurance vs LV= Landlord Insurance

One of the UK’s leading providers, LV= specializes in many different insurance areas. This multi-award winning provider receives glowing customer feedback so is certainly a firm favourite amongst experts and customers alike. Not only that, its cover is 4 star Defaqto rated, meaning it’s considered to offer than the market average.

Though some customers have noted higher renewal fees and lack of rewards for loyal customers, we found LV= to be one of the cheapest providers we sampled from so it might be worth taking a look. Even with its low price LV=’s coverage certainly packs a punch — its extensive cover includes £5m landlord liability, accidental damage, malicious damage by tenants as well as loss of rental income as standard.

Bottom Line: Don’t be fooled by the low premiums, LV= is certainly another great option for price-savvy landlords looking for a value offer without compromising on cover.

CIA Landlord Insurance vs Direct Line Landlord Insurance

Direct Line is one of the UK’s largest and most reputable insurers, earning a 5-star rating from independent analysts Defaqto meaning they’re considered to be one of the best landlord insurance products on the market. With over 250,000 existing landlord insurance policy holders it is certainly a popular choice and has won multiple awards to boot. Its comprehensive cover includes buildings, contents and landlord liability included as standard.

Direct Line offers a range of optional add-ons such as malicious damage by tenants, loss of rental income and legal expenses meaning you can curate the right policy for your needs. Direct Line also offer some discounts for new and existing landlords, such as a 10% multi-property discount if you’re looking to insure 15+ properties!

Bottom Line: If you’re looking for award-winning coverage from a reputable insurer then Direct Line may be another option to consider — though Direct Line appears to be more pricey than CIA, we do find this premium is justified.

How to make a claim on CIA Landlord insurance

As we mentioned earlier, unlike some other landlord insurers, CIA works with a panel of experts which means that any policy you take out may be underwritten by any one of these providers. For this reason, you will deal directly with the insurer named on the statement of your insurance should you wish to make a claim so make sure you are familiar with who this is.

You can find all the information you need on CIA's website, but we’ve listed them below as well for your reference.

  • Geo Underwriting: 01708 777 710
  • Pen Underwriting: 01403 321 394
  • Keystone: 0344 856 2364
  • Modus: 0344 856 3815
  • Axa Let: 0330 024 8087
  • Abacus amtrust: 0115 934 9818
  • Abacus Novea: 0144 322 9513
  • Abacus Covea: 0330 024 2255
  • Optima: 01159 349818
  • Arkel: 0207 138 8497

Before you decide to make a claim, we recommend that you read your policy wording carefully to ensure that you are indeed covered. If you are, you may be asked to provide certain details and documentation such as your policy number, photographic evidence of your loss or damage, receipts and invoices so it’s always a good idea to have these handy, or be prepared to acquire these if necessary to avoid delay.

CIA landlord insurance: Discounts and savings

It's always good to keep an eye out for simple tricks to help you save money on landlord insurance. During our research we found that CIA offer generous discounts for landlords with multiple properties and large let property portfolios, so if this sounds like you then we'd highly recommend checking this out.

FAQ’s

This depends on which insurance provider has underwritten your policy — you'll find this detailed in your landlord insurance policy wording. In any case, CIA state you can cancel your policy at any time by contacting them on 01788 818 600, so be sure to ask your advisor about any fees associated with this process.

Yes, they do! CIA offer a range of specialist landlord insurance policies, including commercial let property cover. You can check out CIA's commercial property offer here for more information.

CIA do provide some incentives if you opt for their landlord insurance — for example, they offer a multiple property discount if you're an existing customer. If you’re looking for CIA Landlord insurance promotional codes, you may find them on a few ‘discount code’ websites, but these quickly expire, so don’t be surprised if the code is rejected when you enter it.

CIA's standard landlord insurance package (i.e. with no add-ons) will not cover you if the boiler breaks down in one of your rental properties. At present, CIA does not currently offer landlord home emergency insurance. Landlord home emergency insurance specifically covers these sorts of events, so it is definitely worth shopping around as there are many providers out there that offer this to purchase as a stand alone policy.

'Accidental damage' can cover you in the event of one-off accidents to your properties building or contents. Examples where accidental damage cover would apply include things like if your tenant accidentally spills red wine on the carpet leaving a stain, or if a leaky roof causes internal water damage.

CIA includes accidental damage cover in their standard landlord insurance package at no extra cost, but as always some exclusions apply so be sure to read your policy wording carefully.

CIA offer a variety of different landlord insurance policies including unoccupied property cover, whether you need this for a fixed term or you're on the lookout for a more flexible policy that can be altered for when tenants move in.

If, however, your property becomes vacant during your current insurance period (i.e. you've already taken out standard landlord insurance cover) you may or not be covered for any damage that occurs during this time. It is best to speak with CIA or your policy underwriter directly to discuss what is covered in your policy.

During our research we could not see CIA on any of the big name comparison sites. However, you can obtain a quote directly through them by visiting their website.

No, it doesn't. CIA and its panel of insurers will not pay out on any claims for damage as a result of wear, tear or gradual deterioration.

One of the perks of CIA's landlord insurance is the range of different policy options, including multiple property cover! They offer cover for landlords with 3 or more properties, and also offer discounts for existing customers.

Emily Bunt

Emily is a psychology graduate from the University of Kent, currently working as a Data Analyst at NimbleFins focused on insurance content for SMEs. Prior to this she worked in market research at Kantar, investigating consumer behaviour and decision making, as well as in a supporting role in the field of mental health. Learn more at LinkedIn.

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The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.