What is Landlord Insurance and Do You Need it? |
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What is Landlord Insurance and Do You Need it?

By: Gregg Cohen, CEO, JWB Real Estate Companies
March 8, 2012

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Owning an investment property opens up a new source of problems that can and usually do happen without a warning. A homeowner's insurance policy is how the average homeowner protects their property, but real estate investors that operate an investment business usually require separate protection. Landlord insurance is available to help you regardless if you have incorporated your real estate investment business.

Managing Your Risks with Landlord Insurance 
Since your investment strategy is to earn money from rental properties, being a landlord is one of your responsibilities. In taking on this position, you can be held liable for injuries or damage that happens on the premises of your rental property. Every state has landlord laws that specifiy how tenants must be treated while temporarily or permanently living in a property that you own. What landlord insurance does is limit your risk of a serious problem causing you financial harm or loss. Not every landlord insurance policy is created the same and knowing what types of coverage can be included in a policy will help you. 
Property and Building Protection
Including this in a landlord insurance policy can help protect the investment in your rental property. Damage can happen from multiple sources that have little to do with tenant living conditions. Pests and termites can easily destroy interior walls, electrical wiring, roofing and subflooring. This damage can quickly deteriorate the value of your property and can be a violation of landlord-tenant laws. An agent that provides landlord insurance can explain this coverage in more detail to you.
Protection from Liabilities

Accidents that are caused by property neglect or other issues are one of the largest contributors to lawsuits brought against landlords. The business structure that you have selected to form your real estate company may protect your personal finances, but it usually does not protect you from civil suits or wrongful death claims. Adding liability protection or increasing an amount already offered in the policy will keep your personal and business assets safe as a landlord. 

Additional Monetary Protection
Many insurance companies put limits on the amount of monetary protection that is available. Maximium amounts are usually listed in a policy for medical, damage and loss or negligence protection. If these monetary amounts are exceeded in a lawsuit, you and your real estate partners could be pursued for the amounts that extend beyond what insurance companies are willing to pay. Some policies give you the option of extended protection with umbrella insurance that kicks in after specific dollar amounts are reached. 
Consider Your Risks to Protect Your Investment

Every landlord and real estate investor should evaluate the risks and create a plan of action to take when presented with an emergency. Buying landlord insurance from a known agency will provide long-term protection. Putting your personal fianances at risk can quickly deplete your savings if a problem happens. If you have a property management company, it is possible that this company can help you decide what is the best insurance to protect your investment property from damage, loss and lawsuits.

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