Property investors who lease homes, condos and apartments to tenants often purchase landlord insurance to protect those investments. If you are a new owner of a rental property, or you want to compare landlord insurance quotes to find a better deal, the following information and tips may help you.
First and foremost, know that an Insurance Station agent can help you compare quotes and obtain the right coverage for your property. No two rental properties are alike, and it is important to get the right level of coverage based on your specific risks and the type of real estate you own.
Basic Landlord Insurance Coverage
You might think of this policy as homeowners insurance for landlords. As with homeowners insurance, your policy will cover the structure itself, in the event that it is damaged by any number of causes, such as storms, fire or malicious acts. The policy will also typically provide liability protection to cover injuries to anyone on the premises in the event that these injuries are deemed to be your fault or the result of negligence on your part.
A basic landlord insurance policy will typically include:
• Building insurance for damage to structures such as the rental home or apartment complex, as well as sheds, garages, fences, retaining walls and swimming pools. Building coverage also usually includes any gardening and maintenance tools and equipment you personally own for maintaining the property.
• General liability coverage for accidents and injuries that may occur on the premises.
One key difference between home insurance and insurance for landlords is that you typically do not need to insure personal property such as clothes and jewelry. Because your tenants are responsible for insuring their own belongings with renters insurance, your coverage does not need to include personal property insurance, except to cover tools and other items associated with your property maintenance.
If, however, you are leasing a furnished home or apartment, you will need to purchase contents coverage for the belongings in the leased space.
Additional Coverage to Consider
While a basic policy will cover many of the typical problems and claims you may face as a real estate investor and landlord, here are some additional types of coverage to consider:
• Coverage for legal fees: If you do have a legal claim filed against you, there are many costs that can potentially be associated with such an event. Legal fees alone can be enough to put many landlords out of business. Your liability coverage is designed to help you cover the cost of litigation.
• Coverage for loss of rent: This coverage will help you to replace the rental income you may lose in the event that your building becomes uninhabitable due to fire, flood, or damage caused by a tenant.
• Additional rental business insurance: For example, if you have office staff that handles books, records and accounting, you may want business fraud coverage.
• Umbrella liability: Umbrella liability insurance exists because even when you have the best intent and follow best practices, injuries can still happen. An umbrella policy can provide broader liability coverage with higher limits to help cover unforeseen bodily injurieis, property damage and legal claims.
• Workers Compensation: If you have a staff that maintains the grounds or provides building maintenance, you may need workers compensation for your employees.
• Additional natural disaster coverage: Some but not all types of storm damage may be included in your landlord insurance policy. Be sure to read through your policy carefully to determine which types of disasters are covered, and ask your agent to help you determine if additional riders make sense. If you live in a flood zone, for example, you may want to add flood insurance.