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How to Decipher Landlord Insurance

By on August 24, 2011 in Insurance

In today’s still tumultuous real estate market, homeowners who are unable or unwilling to sell their homes at a loss are turning these homes into rentals. Being a landlord, especially if you haven’t been one before, comes with a lot of responsibilities. You want to protect your property from damage, but you also want to protect yourself from liability. Landlord insurance can protect you from both, but don’t confuse your homeowners insurance policy with landlord insurance because the two are completely different.

Protection

Landlord insurance protects you as the landlord against:

  • Injuries to tenants and their guest
  • Fire
  • Water damages
  • Lightning
  • Hail
  • Falling trees
  • Wind

Keep in mind that landlord insurance protects you as the landlord; it protects your property. This type of insurance does not protect the personal belongings of the tenants. If tenants want protection for their own personal items, then they will need to obtain a renter’s insurance policy on their own.

Cost

Landlord insurance tends to be expensive. According to House Logic, you can expect to pay 15% to 20% more for a landlord policy than you will for a homeowners policy. You should shop and compare not only the cost of landlord insurance with different providers, but make sure that the coverage is the same on the policies you are comparing. Your first phone call should be to the insurance company that holds the current homeowners policy on this home or your primary residence. Even if you feel it’s a fair price, take the time to compare the quote to at least two other companies to be on the safe side.

Options

Read and understand the landlord insurance policy carefully so you fully understand what it is covered and what is not covered. Most landlord policies cover the same or similar items. You also have the option to add riders or optional coverage.

Some optional coverage options include:

  • Liability for personal injury, wrongful eviction, wrongful entry, libel, and slander
  • Flood
  • Pool and tennis court coverage (if applicable)
  • Earthquake
  • Vandalism

When you choose to be a landlord, it puts a lot of responsibilities on your shoulders. Landlord insurance can help to relieve some of the weight of this burden. Ensure that you shop around for the right landlord insurance policy for you and that you fully understand what the policy does and does not cover before you choose it as your policy coverage.

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