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Does Landlord Insurance Cover Me If My Tenant Starts A Fire

All landlords get that dreaded phone call from their tenant that something is broken or needs to be fixed.  Most of these issues can be resolved by calling a plumber or handyman but what if it is more severe.  What if your tenant accidently started a kitchen fire and it spread to the other units in the building?  Your first thought is to make sure everyone is safe then you start to think if you are covered for this kind of thing.

The worst case scenario when a fire occurs is someone is injured or even killed.  Before something like this happens you need to make sure you have the proper protection in place.  Insurance for landlords not only covers the building you own but also your liability in the event something happens at that property.  Like I said most of the time it is just a broken water pipe or a leaky faucet but if something more devastating happens there is coverage for you.

Most leading insurance companies offer a type of landlord insurance for your type of property.  The most common landlord insurance is for condos because of the sheer number of people who rent condos.  If you own a condo and rent the unit out make sure you have a landlord specific policy in place.  Most rental property investors start as the homeowner then move and rent that unit out.  When they move often times they don’t realize they need different insurance or just forget to change it.

Here is a landlord checklist to make sure you are properly covered as a landlord:

  • Get landlord specific insurance policy for your rental unit
  • Include the highest liability limits available, usually $1 million
  • Add sewer and drain backup coverage (usually $50/yr)
  • Add loss assessment coverage of at least $10,000(approximately $10/yr)
  • Inquire about umbrella policy to increase the liability coverage if needed

The most important aspect of having insurance is to protect against the big losses.  A broken water pipe may cost a couple thousand dollars to repair but if someone gets hurt that could cost you millions.  If you have the right protection in place everything else will be easier to handle.

Proper "Loss of Rental Income" Coverage Limits:

Be sure to have adequate coverage for loss of rental income on your landlord insurance policy. Most policies will come with a percentage of dwelling coverage for loss of rental income but this can sometimes not cover your full income during a time of loss.

Calculate how much rental income you bring in each month and multiple it by 12 months. This will give you the minimum level of coverage you will need in the event your tenants need to move out during repairs.