Massachusetts landlord insurance really can be the difference between a profitable rental business and just a hobby that loses money. If you want to make sure you are properly protected against the big surprises that a rental property can bring you will need landlord insurance. Landlords in MA have unique tenants and weather so having a policy that not only protects your liability and building is a must.
As the owner of an investment property in MA it is crucial to be as prepared as possible for such potential damages. Home insurance policies offer protection for property damage, liability, contents and but there is a difference when you rent the home to others.
This is referred to as rental property insurance or landlord insurance and does offer specific coverage for the owner that standard homeowners insurance does not.
Landlord Insurance Deductible
House insurance companies in MA are trying to maximize profits by requiring landlords to have high deductibles on their policies. The higher the deductible the lower the cost of insurance will be to you but you need to consider if you can afford the deductible at the time of a loss. The average landlord insurance deductible is $1000 for all perils. This means that any claim that is covered on the policy will be paid out minus $1000 for your responsibility.
Watch out for policies that have percentage deductibles such as 1 percent or 2 percent of the dwelling coverage. This is essentially stating that you will pay 2 percent of the dwelling coverage amount in the event of a loss. For example if the dwelling coverage is $330,000 your deductible for a roof claim would be $6,600. While this type of deductible can save you hundreds of dollars each year on your insurance policy it may be difficult to pay that when you need to file a claim.
Cost of Landlord Insurance in Massachusetts
The cost to insure your rental property in MA is dependent upon numerous rating factors that home insurance companies use to determine the proper premium. When you own a condo or townhouse the cost of landlord insurance is very minimal because usually you split that cost with the homeowners association which insurers the exterior of your unit. If you insure a single family home or rental complex then your insurance costs are going to be much higher due to the replacement cost of the building is solely your responsibility.
Here are a few of the most common rating factors that insurance companies use to determine your landlord insurance premium:
- Credit rating - This is your personal credit rating which is similar to a FICO score but can be based on other specific criteria such as payment history and bankruptcy.
- Location - The zip code or city that your rental unit is located in has a dramatic effect on your insurance premiums as companies who have big losses in those areas will increase rates to get profitable.
- Building type - This can be numerous things including condo, single family, and townhouse including the materials used to construct the property.
- Claim history - If you have one or more claims in the past 3 years as a homeowner most insurance companies will surcharge your premium. Some companies may not even accept your business if you have more than two.
- Discounts - If you have more business with an insurance carrier they are more likely to offer discounts to keep all of your business with them.
How to Find The Cheapest Landlord Insurance in MA
Each insurance company is different in the way they determine your rate and how much the average policy will cost but here are ways to ensure the lowest cost premium based on the factors above.
- Good Credit - The better your credit the lower the cost of your insurance. Many states are now allowing credit as a rating criteria so get used to it being used. Try to keep your past payment history spotless and a FICO score above 720 is considered excellent.
- Improve the Location - There is not much you can do about the location once you have purchased the rental property but be sure to keep the home well-kept and surrounding trees cut back to minimize potential hazards. The better your property appears the lower the cost to insure it will be.
- Building type - Condo and townhouse owners will likely have a home owners association which will cover the exterior of the home so you are only responsible for the interior. This can save you hundreds of dollars each year. If the unit includes custom building and expensive materials expect to pay more because the cost to replace those items is greater.
- No Claim history - Try not to make a claim if it is a small value of $2000 or less. Most companies look at multiple claims as a sign that you are prone to making claims in the future. If you are deciding whether to make a claim or not contact your insurance agent and ask them personally. Don't call the claim department and ask them because they are likely to document the call and file it for future use.
- More Discounts - Ask about multiple policy discounts and the combination of auto and home insurance. Sometimes combining your personal auto insurance with this policy can save you 20-30% off each policy.
Massachusetts 5 largest cities by population
City - Population
*Data from 2010 Census Population by the Department of Economic and Community Development.
Common Landlord Insurance Claims in Massachusetts
(Most claims cost over $5,000 to repair wind damage)
(Most claims cost over $30,000 to repair damages from fire)
(Most claims cost over $5,000 to repair damage from hail)
(Most claims cost over $2,500 to repair physical damages to property)
Loss of Rental Income
(Most claims cost over $2,000 to recoup lost rental income)
NOTICE: The amounts listed above are for illustrative purposes only and should not be used to decide what coverage limits you need for your landlord policy. Speak with your insurance agent to determine the proper coverage limits.