What Is Landlord Insurance and Why Do You Need It?

If you are a landlord, it’s important to take steps to properly protect yourself and your property before the renters move in. Landlord insurance helps fill in the gaps of coverage where homeowners insurance policies don’t apply and allows you to rest easy knowing your home is sufficiently covered while tenants occupy your property.

 

What is Landlord Insurance?

While homeowners insurance provides coverage for a home occupied by its owner(s), landlord insurance covers properties that are rented to short-term guests or long-term renters. If you plan on renting out a room while you stay in the home, your homeowners insurance policy may offer coverage, but it depends on factors like the number of renters and the length of their rental agreement(s), so check your policy first.

A typical landlord insurance policy will cover the following:

Property Damage

Property damage insurance ensures your home is protected against damage caused by natural disasters, fire, electrical mishaps, and more while your home is being rented. This typically covers the home itself, any detached structures on the rental property such as ADUs or garages, and any personal property you use to maintain the home.

 

Liability

If a renter or visitor suffers an injury on your property, your landlord insurance will help cover their medical costs and, if legal action is taken, legal costs. Liability costs can snowball quickly, and it’s important to have coverage in place to protect yourself from having to pay out a lump sum for hospital bills or a settlement. For example, if a renter steps through a floorboard while walking on the deck and hurts their leg, a court may decide that a lack of property maintenance was the cause of the injury, thus leaving you responsible. However unlikely the scenario may seem, having coverage in place is better than the alternative.

 

Rental Income Loss

Homes are prone to accidents and issues that can render them uninhabitable. If this happens at your rental, you won’t see rental income until the problem has been fixed. Most policies provide reimbursement for lost income during a time when you’re unable to rent out the property, as long the cause of the underlying issue is covered. For example—if you live in a climate that’s conducive to mold growth, a rapid spread of mold could put a halt on renting your property. Accordingly, you’d want to make sure your policy provides adequate coverage against damage caused by mold.

 

Why Do You Need Landlord Insurance?

In short, renting out your property and having landlord insurance go hand-in-hand. Because homeowners insurance is unlikely to provide sufficient coverage for your rental, you’ll need a separate policy that covers you specifically as a landlord. When shopping around for landlord insurance, make comparisons based on the needs of your rental property. For instance, if you have separate dwellings on the property, prioritize additional structures coverage when looking at different policies. If you’re looking to bundle your landlord insurance with your existing coverage, keep an eye out for bundling discounts.

 

For more information on managing your rental, read our article on how to Give Your Rental A Competitive Advantage.

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7 Tips to Give Your Short-Term Rental a Competitive Advantage

As the usage of short-term rental services has increased over the years, so too has the competition between rental owners to make their properties stand out. There are a variety of marketing tactics you, as a rental owner, can employ to give your home an edge, but ultimately, making the property as appealing as possible is the best way to ensure your strategies are effective.

 

1. Boost Your Curb Appeal

Renters are scrolling through pages and pages of properties, looking for something that catches their eye at first glance. To make your property stand out, invest time and energy into the home’s curb appeal. Making these improvements doesn’t necessarily require breaking the bank, either. Simple projects like a fresh coat of exterior paint, refinishing the patio or deck, and creating a beautiful yard will go a long way towards helping your home stand out amongst the competition.

 

2. High-Quality Photography

Once you’ve spent time curating and beautifying your rental, it’s important to communicate its feel to potential renters. High-quality photos give renters the best impression of what it’s like to spend time in the home. Photograph every room in bright lighting to make the space as inviting as possible. Be sure to thoroughly clean every room before taking photos to have it looking as inviting as possible.

 

3. Improve Your Description

After potential guests explore your photos, they’ll read your property’s description. While it’s helpful to read descriptions of other listings in your area to get an idea of what tenants are looking for, it’s important to communicate the unique attributes of your home. Talk about what makes it special, emphasize the selling points, and reference what renters are seeing in the photos you’ve provided.

 

4. Repair or Replace Your Appliances

When guests are paying for a rental, they expect everything to be in fine working order. To make your property stand out, consider repairing or replacing your appliances. This makes for a more enjoyable stay and could potentially offer you a competitive advantage. All appliances have a certain life expectancy, so if you haven’t replaced your appliances in a while, it just may be time to do so.

 

5. Upgrade Your Bedroom and Bathroom

Renters are looking to relax, so any luxury you can provide them will do wonders for giving your property an edge amongst the competition. Two areas of the home where you can deliver on luxury are the bedroom and the bathroom. From the bedspread and pillows to the curtains and rugs, experiment with different textures in the bedroom to make it as comfortable as can be. A high-quality mattress is also a worthy investment to make your guests’ stay all the more memorable.

By making simple upgrades to your bathroom, you can give the guests the feeling of having their own personal spa. High-quality shower heads and a spacious, relaxing tub will help to deliver a luxurious atmosphere to your bathroom, as will meticulously cleaning the space and keeping your surfaces well organized.

 

6. Upgrade Your Kitchen

A welcoming kitchen is the key to making your rental feel like home. Kitchen makeovers often come at a high cost, but there are ways to transform your kitchen without breaking the bank. Start by upgrading your lighting, giving your walls a fresh coat of paint, and refinishing your cabinets. If your kitchen needs new appliances, remember to select them first before making any renovations to ensure their dimensions are correct.

 

7. Provide a Workspace

With more people working remotely than ever before, some renters will likely look at your property as a potential place to conduct their work. Accommodating these guests with a quality workspace can make your rental stand out. Consider making the workspace multifunctional using items like a folding desk. This gives remote workers the option to stow their home office setup at the end of the day while ensuring that the workspace won’t be a permanent fixture for guests on vacation.

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Moving Into a Vacation Home

For some homeowners, purchasing a second home – or a vacation property – provides a place where they can have a change of scenery and an escape from day-to-day living. Since the start of the pandemic, a number of homeowners have chosen to move into their vacation homes to do exactly that on a longer-term basis. However, certain aspects of buying and moving into a vacation home differ from a traditional home purchase, so it’s important to work with a buyer’s agent who understands the nuances of both.

 

Before You Buy

One of the first things to consider before buying a vacation property is whether you are financially ready to take on everything that comes with managing and maintaining another home. If you’re still in deep with your primary residence’s mortgage and are not cash-ready, it may not be the best time to purchase a second home.

Like any home purchase, there are pros and cons to owning a vacation home. Vacation properties are likely to retain their value depending on where they’re located. They also allow you to experience the never-ending vacation lifestyle. However, owning a vacation property can come with its own set of unique expenses. Not only will be you responsible for all the maintenance work that you might normally leave to a property management company, but if the vacation home is located on the water or a steep hillside, you can also expect higher homeowner’s insurance costs.

 

Moving In

Any moving process presents unforeseen challenges and moving into a vacation home is no different. Whereas previously the home provided accommodation for relaxing, moving in will require it to meet the demands of everyday living. It may be high time to make repairs or upgrades to the home, which could drive up your move-in costs.

Before moving in, assess the condition of all furnishings to get an idea of what needs replacing. Making the home your main residence will put added strain on your appliances, so what may have previously worked well for short-term stays won’t cut it for full-time living. Check your refrigerator, dishwasher, and washer and dryer to see if they need updating before moving in.

If you’ll be working remotely in your vacation home, think about your desired work conditions before putting together your home office. Having a designated workspace will help balance your home and work life.

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