Insurance Needs for Landlords

So, you've managed to get into the housing market and buy a property as an investment? Good idea! Now you'll have to figure out what you need as a new landlord and one of the most important things is insurance on your rental property.

In order to protect your investment, you really have to have insurance. You will have some unique insurance needs as the person who owns the property, but does not reside there. After all, it will be the tenants responsibility to insure the contents. But the structure is your responsibility.

As a landlord, liability is also a larger issue for you. What if your tenant is hurt on the rental property? You need to be sure that if you are sued, you have the insurance to help you out.

Last, but not least, as a landlord you need to protect your income stream and that's your rental income. If the structure is sufficiently damaged that it is impossible for the renter to occupy your property, you need to be able to cover that rental income in order to meet your obligations, including the mortgage on the property, if any. This is where you have to think carefully about what your true needs are and buy the right coverage.

Take heart! While it may sound intimidating, insurers have already designed policies for the landlords needs. Do keep in mind that there will be variation in these policies, so you'll have to check the fine print and pick the one that best suit's your situation. Shopping around will give you a better idea of what is available in coverage and at what price.

Having said that, always ensure that your policy has at least the following:

  • Coverage for the physical structure (for either named perils or on an open-peril basis)
  • Coverage for other structures on the property, including any storage sheds, garage buildings or other upgrades. In most cases, your basic policy will give you coverage equal to 10% of the value of the main building. Be sure that is enough.
  • Coverage for any of your property which is left on the property, including lawn mowers, other maintenance equipment, tools or appliances.
  • Liability coverage. This is essential. Your exposure to law suit's and other problems is too great to be without this.
  • Medical payments coverage is also very important. If medical expenses arise from injuries which were sustained on your property, either by people working for you or by tenants, you need to be prepared.

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