Who's Responsible if Your Tenant Is Injured in a Fight on Your Property?

(And how the right coverage can help them)

Tenant Fight

Responsible landlords have to be prepared for all kinds of risks not only to their property, but also to their tenants. So what happens if a tenant gets injured in a fight on your property? Who’s responsible for this mess anyway?

Luckily, an independent insurance agent can help you answer this question. They’ve handled all kinds of claims for a multitude of scenarios, so they’re well-equipped to get you the right coverage. Better yet, they’ll hook you up with all the coverage you need, long before you ever need it. Here’s how they’d help you get covered against a tenant fight on your property.

Who’s Responsible if a Tenant Gets Injured in a Fight on Your Property?

As the landlord, you could certainly be held responsible. It’s a common practice today for landlords to filter their tenants through a rigorous screening process, but this doesn’t necessarily weed out renters who could one day start a fight. That’s why it’s so important for landlords to make sure they get covered with adequate landlord insurance to protect themselves. An independent insurance agent can help you find the right coverage for the job.

Does It Matter if the Fight Is Domestic or Caused by an Intruder?

It certainly does. If the fight is domestic, the landlord is much less likely to be held liable if a legal case arises. However, if an intruder broke into a unit on your property, caused a fight, and injured one of your tenants, it’s much more likely that you as the landlord could be held responsible. Having the right amount of liability coverage is essential to protecting yourself and your tenants in case of a catastrophe like this.

How Does Liability Insurance Cover Landlords in This Scenario?

The liability coverage provided by your landlord insurance is designed to protect you if a tenant gets injured on your property due to a covered peril and sues you for it. Landlords have to pay for legal fees in the event they are sued, whether they end up being held liable for the injury or not.

Liability coverage protects landlords in the following ways:

  • Payment of legal fees: Liability coverage reimburses landlords for court and attorney fees, as well as any settlements they’re ordered to pay in the event they are held responsible for an incident such as a tenant getting injured in a fight on their property.
  • Medical payments: Liability coverage also takes care of fees associated with treating any tenant injuries that occur on your property due to a covered peril.

Since lawsuits are already stressful enough to deal with, it’s important to have adequate landlord insurance and liability coverage to help protect you from the financial ramifications.

What Does Landlord Insurance Cover?

You know that landlord insurance provides important liability coverage to reimburse for things like attorney and court fees, but it also includes other essential protections.

Landlord insurance may include the following:

  • Property damage: This covers damage to your property from listed perils such as wind and hail, fire, vandalism, and more.
  • Business income: This covers lost income in the event a business needs to temporarily suspend its operations. In the case of a landlord, this would include reimbursement for lost rent if a property became temporarily uninhabitable, such as following a storm or fire.
  • Boiler & machinery: This covers expenses for large appliances that break down, such as steam boilers.
  • Workers’ compensation: This covers expenses for employees who get injured, become ill, or die while on the job or due to workplace conditions.

Landlord insurance policies often include the above coverages, but additional coverage options are also available. Work together with your independent insurance agent to ensure that you get set up with the amount of coverage you’re comfortable with.

What Doesn’t Landlord Insurance Cover?

While landlord insurance provides tons of crucial coverage, unfortunately it can’t take care of all potential hazards. Landlord insurance typically comes with the following exclusions:

  • Assault and battery: Some landlord insurance policies exclude coverage for tenant injuries stemming from assault or battery. It’s important to review your policy with your independent insurance agent, because endorsements for this coverage can often be added.
  • Flood damage: Just like homeowners insurance, landlord insurance does not include coverage for damage to properties caused by floodwaters. Flood insurance is a separate policy only available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
  • Earthquake damage: Again, similar to homeowners insurance, landlord insurance does not protect against damage to properties caused by earthquakes. You’d need a separate earth movement policy for that.

If you’re concerned about any potential holes in your coverage through your landlord insurance policy, your independent insurance agent can help you. Together, you’ll assemble a coverage package that includes all the protection you could ever need.

Is Umbrella Insurance a Good Idea?

To extend your liability coverage limits under your landlord insurance, you may want to consider adding an umbrella policy. True to its name, umbrella insurance essentially stacks on top of underlying liability coverage included within landlord policies and typically comes with a limit of $1 million, though higher limits are also available.

In order to fully protect yourself against the costliest legal cases that may arise against you as a landlord, you’ll likely want to consider adding umbrella coverage. If a tenant’s injuries are particularly bad following a fight on your property, their medical payments alone could cost you thousands of dollars. But aside from just this scenario, there are plenty of reasons landlords get sued on a regular basis, and some of them can be extremely expensive to settle in court.

Other Common Risks Landlords Should Consider Coverage For

Landlords can be sued for all kinds of reasons. Since lawsuits can be both time-consuming and costly, it’s important that landlords have adequate liability coverage and even umbrella coverage to protect themselves.

Here are a few of the most common reasons landlords get sued:

  • Breach of “quiet enjoyment”: This involves anything a landlord does that could disrupt a tenant’s pleasant stay in their rented property, such as improper entry into the tenant’s unit, allowing others into the residence without consent or notice, interruption in the tenant’s utility services, or gossiping about the tenant.
  • Presenting unlivable conditions: Tenants have a right to a property that is safe and livable. Breaches of this right could include rodent infestation of your property, lack of proper sewage removal, lack of basic utilities, or any other condition that poses a serious fire or health risk.
  • Wrongful eviction: Though eviction is a strict legal process that must be followed carefully, sometimes landlords fail to do so, and can rightfully be sued for it. Any evictions that do not adhere to this process can be considered wrongful, such as evicting tenants on a retaliatory basis.

As a landlord, having adequate liability coverage is not only responsible, it’s critical. Make sure you have enough coverage to protect yourself from lawsuits that could reach up into the thousands or even millions to settle, to avoid the possibility of serious trouble down the road.

Here’s How an Independent Insurance Agent Would Help

When it comes to protecting landlords against tenant injuries from fights on their property and all other incidents, no one’s better equipped to help than an independent insurance agent. Independent insurance agents search through multiple carriers to find providers who specialize in landlord insurance, deliver quotes from a number of different sources, and help you walk through them all to find the best blend of coverage and cost.

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TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin

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