You may have described a property let as a standard HMO, but if cooking facilities exist in any of the individual rooms, and not in a designated communal kitchen, this may well be considered a B&B risk.
The property could be considered as a hostel if any tenants are put in via a third party, with no direct control or oversight by you or your managing agent. These tenants must be considered within the vulnerable sector, eg criminal or drugs rehabilitation, single women’s refuge, or assisted living tenants.
Again, this might not be what the insurance underwriter had bargained for and ammunition for a genuine claim may be refused.
Commercial property insurance, more than any other type of policy, is best suited to professional broking. The insurance company’s perception of a risk can often swayed by a good presentation. The more they understand the risk, generally the better the terms that can be obtained.
For the property owner themselves, it is imperative that any exclusions or conditions are thoroughly explained and pointed out. Now, more than ever, landlords are looking for professional and unbiased practical advice from their insurance broker to ensure that their scheme or contract is fit for purpose and suits their circumstances and requirements. It’s time to check whether your policy actually covers what you think it does.