You’re becoming a landlord. Maybe you’ve bought a new home, and you’re going to rent out your old one. Good for you! It’ll be so nice to have that extra income.
But did you remember to talk to your insurance agent? Insurance companies consider a rented home to be a slightly different risk than an owner-occupied home. And your insurance needs to change when you rent out your home.
Insurance on a rental property can provide you with the following types of coverage:
There are many different ways to cover a rental home. Some companies will only insure a limited number of perils, while others offer full comprehensive coverage. The basis of loss settlement can differ as well, from the depreciated value to extended building replacement. Be sure you have the best coverage possible.
A friend of your renter falls through a rotten piece of decking and sues you for her injuries. Now what? You’d better have premises liability insurance to protect you against just such claims. Even if you are not found to be negligent, your liability insurance will cover your legal expenses.
This covers property you own in the house you’re renting out, such as a washer and dryer, or window coverings. If you rent your home furnished, you’ll need to insure all of the furniture as well. Again, policies differ greatly with this type of coverage. Check to see if your property is insured to its full replacement cost or only to its depreciated value.
If you ever ask yourself “do I need landlord’s insurance,” remember that there are some additional insurance needs you need to consider when you own a condo which you are renting out:
You’ve installed gorgeous new granite countertops, and spent hours installing upgraded hardwood floors. Even though these are considered part of the building, did you know that none of these things are insured by the condo corporation’s insurance? These are considered building improvements and are your responsibility to insure, even if the improvements were made by a previous owner! And check your condo bylaws. Some buildings have made the unit owners responsible for countertops or floors, even though they were part of the original construction.
As a unit owner, if the building suffers a loss, the condo corporation may assess each unit owner a portion of their insurance deductible. In cases where the loss arises from your unit, you could be responsible for the entire deductible. There may also be times when the condo corporation can’t, or chooses not to, put in a claim with their insurance policy, such as when a loss is below their deductible, it’s not covered by their policy, or it affects only your unit. The costs in these situations will come out of your pocket unless you have the right insurance!
Now, you might be asking “how much is landlord’s insurance?” The general answer is: it depends. There are options to insure all condo-specific coverages — including improvements, fixtures, glass and so on — in a single Condo Owner’s Protection option, with you deciding just how far you want your coverage to extend. Depending on your choices, insurance for landlords can start from only $40 per month.
Business Dictionary defines rental income as “the amount of money collected by a landlord from a tenant or group of tenants for using a particular space.” As mentioned above, when you become a landlord, it’s nice to have that rent coming in, especially if you’ve got a mortgage to pay off. But what if your rental dwelling suffers loss or damage covered by your policy, and your tenants have to move out while repairs are being completed? If the rental unit is uninhabitable, you can’t charge your tenants rent. If you are relying on the rent, you may want to consider rental income insurance.
Some home insurance policies allow you to apply a percentage of the limit on the house to cover the fair rental value. But if the whole house is destroyed, all of the coverage will likely be needed to rebuild the home. That means there would be no insurance left to cover the lost rent.
“Rental income insurance” can help. If you own a rental property and rent it out for $2,000 a month, you can purchase $24,000 in rental income insurance to cover a full year of lost rent, if it takes that long to completed insured repairs.
This is a great coverage that all landlords should have. As with all types of insurance, though, you need to be aware of the exclusions and conditions. For example:
When buying insurance for your rental property, be sure to carry the most comprehensive policy you can. This is a big investment, and in the event of a loss, you want to be sure you’re well protected. And if your rental property is a condo, in order for any of the assessment coverages to apply, the type of loss must be one that is insured by your condo unit policy. For instance, if the loss is as a result of an earthquake, and you don’t carry earthquake on your base policy, there will be no coverage under the assessments portion either.
If you have any other questions, you can always contact Square One at 1.855.331.6933 for more information.
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