Rental Dwelling Insurance


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Rental Dwelling Insurance Information


As a landlord, you face unique exposures that need to be addressed through careful insurance planning.  Whether your rental property is a single family dwelling or a four family building, you'll need an insurance plan designed to protect your investment.

First, you'll need to determine what form of coverage you're comfortable with, from the Basic Form to the Special Form.  A Basic Form policy covers specific causes of loss, such as fire, lightning, wind, hail, explosion, smoke, aircraft or vehicle collision with your property, riot or civil commotion, and volcanic activity.  A Special Form policy doesn't list the causes of loss that are covered.  Instead, it states that all perils are covered except for the excluded causes of loss.  Because of this, a Special Form policy is broader than a Basic Form policy.  Excluded causes of loss include earthquake, flood, power failure, ordinance or law, neglect, war, nuclear hazard, and intentional acts.  Many rental property insurance policies also exclude intentional damage caused by tenants, so choosing your tenants carefully is important. 

Here are some examples of losses that would be covered by a Special Form policy that are not covered by a Basic Form policy:

1.  A plumbing fixture (bathtub, toilet, etc.) overflows and causes water damage
2.  An ice dam on the roof causes water damage to the interior walls
3.  A pipe freezes and causes water damage to the building, carpet, flooring, etc.
4.  Cleaning chemicals or paint are spilled on the carpet 
5.  A deer jumps through a picture window and damages walls and flooring as it runs around the house looking for an escape
6.  A tree falls on the house and causes damage to the roof
7.  The weight of ice or snow damages the roof and possibly the interior structure
8.  A pipe inside the dwelling bursts and causes water damage to drywall, carpet, wood floor, etc.

Most insurance companies will require you to insure your rental property for 100% of the estimated cost of new construction in order to qualify for the Special Form policy, so if you're only interested in insuring the building for its market value, you may have to go with the Basic Form policy.   Keep in mind when selecting your limit of insurance that the policy also covers the cost of debris removal following a covered loss.  If your rental property is destroyed by a fire, there may be considerable expense in removing the debris.

Once you've determined which policy form you want, Basic or Special, and you've determined the amount to insure the building for, you'll need to choose a deductible and other limits.  Typically, a rental property policy includes coverage for the following items:

Building
Other Structures (detached structures not attached to the building, such as a detached garage or storage building)
Personal Property that you own which is used at the rental property (appliances, yard maintenance equipment, window coverings, etc.)
Loss of Rents to cover your lost rental income when tenants have to vacate the premises following insured damage to the building
Landlord Liability to protect you from lawsuits arising out of the rental premises
Medical Payment to Others

Other optional coverages are also available and we can assist you in choosing the proper endorsements for your needs. 

Disclaimer: coverage descriptions above are general descriptions and do not alter the coverage agreements or provisions of the policy.  Refer to a policy for full details.

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Boer Insurance Group | 2535 Five Mile Road NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525 | Ph: 616-363-7766 | Fx: 616-363-6626
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