Landlords: These Are the 4 Types of Insurance You May Need

1The basics of becoming a landlord are straightforward: Buy a property in a promising neighborhood, fix it up, find tenants, and start charging slightly more than you’re paying in regular costs. But if you want to protect your assets and ensure you’re following every applicable law, things get more complicated.

Consider insurance. The right insurance policy should be able to cover any unexpected financial losses or massive expenses, protecting the profitability of your operation. It can also protect you from legal trouble. But what types of policies do you really need as a landlord?

Legal Requirements

Technically, landlords aren’t legally required to have any type of insurance. However, if you’ve taken out a loan on the home, you may be required by the lender that you have a basic homeowner’s insurance policy. Just note that a conventional homeowner’s policy may not protect you if you’re renting out the property to other tenants.

4 Types of Insurance to Consider

There are many types of insurance that you should consider:

  1. Building and property insurance. First, you’ll want a policy that protects your building and property from unexpected damage. Your building is the most significant portion of your investment, and therefore, your biggest financial liability. If something happens to it — such as a roof caving in or a destructive event from a tenant who lives there — you’ll want a comfortable policy that can cover the damages. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying tens of thousands of dollars, possibly compromising your profitability.
  2. Liability insurance. You should also have some type of liability insurance in place. Landlord liability varies depending on where you live, but for the most part, you’re responsible for keeping your property in a safe, livable condition. If one of your tenants trips and falls or hurts themselves while living in the property, they may have grounds to file suit against you. Liability insurance protects you from these events, covering your defense costs and compensating victims.
  3. Loss of income and business interruption insurance. Landlords may also be able to get a form of business interruption insurance, protecting them from possible interruptions to their stream of rental income. For example, if you’re injured and unable to fulfill your responsibilities as a landlord, you may earn compensation that allows you to keep things running. This type of insurance may also help you secure rental income from tenants who are unable to pay.
  4. Protection from specific threats. Property insurance doesn’t cover anything. You’ll want to read your policy closely and get coverage for other specific threats. For example, you might need a separate policy to protect your building from natural disasters like floods, hurricanes or earthquakes.

Landlord Insurance

If you’re looking for a comprehensive policy, you may be able to find a provider who offers collective “landlord insurance,” which offers coverage in several areas, including the four listed above. For the most part, these insurance policies are flexible; you’ll be able to pick the types of coverage and extent of coverage you need, so you can protect yourself from the majority of threats and still stay within your budget. If you’re interested in this type of insurance, it’s advisable to talk to an insurance agent, who will have more insight into the types of policies you need (and the total costs you might face).

Renter’s Insurance

It’s also important to note that your property insurance policy and liability insurance policy won’t protect any of your tenant’s possessions. For example, if leaky plumbing causes water damage to a tenant’s television, your insurance policy may not cover the damages (though it may cover you, if it offers liability coverage). For that, your tenants will need to get a renter’s insurance policy.

Conclusion

As a landlord, you aren’t required to have insurance, but it’s well worth the investment. At a minimum, make sure you have property insurance to protect your house and a liability policy to protect yourself in the event of tenant-related damage. Each new policy will only marginally increase your monthly premiums but may offer substantial additional coverage. So plan conservatively, and protect your investments as comprehensively as you can afford to. One enormous loss could be enough to negate any profit you’d otherwise stand to make.

 

Source: biggerpockets.com

Why Renters Insurance Matters for Landlords

1Do you know someone who owns a house and doesn’t have homeowners insurance? Most likely, you don’t. That’s because if someone has a mortgage, their lender requires the home is insured. Which makes sense. If the house burns down, the lender’s money goes up in smoke.

 

In the world of renting, renters insurance is just as important, but few people understand exactly why.

 

Let’s start with the basics. Renters insurance protects renters and landlords.

 

For starters, renters insurance covers a renter’s personal belongings, something a landlord’s property insurance doesn’t cover. Without renters insurance, a renter would have to pay to replace everything stolen in a burglary or damaged by a fire. Renters insurance will also cover the cost to replace a stolen bicycle or laptop, even if the theft happens someplace other than home.

 

It also protects renters from liability if they accidentally damage their place. If a renter accidentally starts a kitchen fire or overfills the bathtub, with renters insurance they won’t be liable for the damages, even if they damage a neighbor’s place.

 

What many people don’t know is that the liability coverage benefits landlords, too. Without renters insurance, a landlord could be responsible for the cost of damages and repairs if their renter accidentally damages the property.

 

It’s important that renters carry renters insurance. Just like mortgage companies require homeowners insurance, most landlords require renters insurance in their leases. If possible, landlords should verify that renters have a current policy.

 

With renters insurance, both renters and landlords can relax knowing they’re covered. That means less stress all around!

 

Source: huffingtonpost.com

Safety Upgrades That Save You Money on Renters Insurance

When renting an apartment, townhouse, condo or home, you might not realize how vital it is to have renters insurance. Sure, your landlord has insurance, but that policy likely only covers the structure of the building. This means that if anything happens to your belongings inside your rented space, you’ll have to pay to replace everything on your own.

Renters insurance is affordable and will protect your belongings from perils such as fire, wind or theft. It’s important to shop around for your renters insurance policy to ensure that you’re getting the best deal — and that doesn’t just mean the lowest price. You have to make sure you have the coverage you need, as well as a low price.

It’s equally important to ask about discounts. Different providers offer varying discounts, but all offer price reductions for safety features. When you’ve taken steps to reduce the risk of a disaster occurring in your pad, you’re a safer bet for insurance companies.

Two main types of safety features can help you earn these coveted discounts.

Warm up to fire protection

There were 1.24 million fires in 2013, resulting in $11.5 billion in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association. A home structure fire occurred every 85 seconds.

To better protect your rental from fires and receive discounts, consider implementing the following additions to your home:

  • Smoke detectors. If your landlord hasn’t already installed smoke detectors, talk to him about doing so. Smoke detectors will not only alert you to a fire quicker, allowing you to put it out and minimize property damage, but they also alert everyone in the space to get to a safe exterior location, which reduces injuries, deaths and liability claims as a result.
  • Fire extinguishers. If you have a fire extinguisher that’s working like a well-oiled machine, you’ll be able to nip a fire in the bud and keep it from spreading to your other possessions.
  • Sprinkler system. A sprinkler system can be activated and put out a fire even when you’re not home.

These safety features are small additions that can save you significantly, both in terms of protecting your valuables and lowering the price of your policies.

If your rented space is already equipped with them, ask your insurance provider about discounts. If it isn’t, talk to your landlord about making the investment of installing such safety measures in your abode. Having those safety features could save her on her property insurance as well.

Deter thieves

The most recent statistics from the FBI reported nearly 2,159,878 burglaries, resulting in roughly $4.6 billion in property loss. A burglary doesn’t necessarily mean forced entry, but it’s best to take steps to protect yourself and your family from potential break-ins. The best ways to accomplish this are:

  • Deadbolts. Deadbolts add an extra line of defense in the event that a burglar can pick the locks on your doors. Safe neighborhoods still have occurrences of crime, and if you live in an apartment complex, the high volume of foot traffic increases the chances of a break-in. Adding deadbolts to front, back, or side doors will make it easier for you and your insurance carrier to have peace of mind.
  • Security systems. A security system can include a burglar alarm, video cameras and other forms of surveillance. Having around-the-clock security can alert tenants and authorities to harm, and prevent the loss of property. If this option interests you, just make sure to set it each time you leave your home — a security system can’t help you if it’s not turned on.
  • Choose a safe neighborhood. When looking for a place to live, call your local police station to find out which parts of town have the lowest crime rates. It’s simple — living in a safer part of town decreases the chances of your home being burglarized.

Get the benefit

Because all of these options make your home safer, insurance companies can provide discounts to acknowledge the efforts you’ve made.

However, before investing in all of these safety measures for your rented home, talk to your landlord and insurance carrier. Check that you are able to add them, and that your premium will decrease before you spend the money to install a security system.

This article originally appeared on Zillow.com.