Whether you own a luxury apartment complex in St. Charles or rent out your two-story home in St. Louis, finding landlord insurance in Missouri is fast and easy. If you want landlord insurance for your Missouri rental that is affordable and comprehensive, there are a few things to keep in mind before searching for those policy quotes.
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Why Buy Landlord Insurance?
If you read or watch the news, you'll notice it is full of stories of firefighters battling 10-unit blazes from Kansas City to Jefferson City.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, property losses from structural fires reach billions of dollars each year. There are huge indirect costs of fire, as well,\u0001 such as temporary lodging, lost business, medical expenses, psychological damage, pets killed and others. These indirect costs may be as much as 8 to 10 times higher than the direct costs of fire.
Although roughly 20 percent of the population lives in apartments or rental properties, these types of structures accounted for more than 23 percent of residential fires in 2001. The leading cause of apartment fires is inattentive cooking.
Without the protection of landlord insurance, these types of events can leave your investment property vacant and your income stream nonexistent.
Missouri May Require You To Carry Landlord Insurance
Whether Missouri law requires you to carry landlord insurance may depend on the type of property you are renting. However, even if you're exempt from carrying this specific type of insurance and you plan to get by with a basic homeowners policy, make sure you inform your insurance company that you're renting out the property. If you don't and if something goes wrong, the company can deny your claim if they don't know a tenant was living there. Most companies issue separate, special policies for rentals.
What Does Landlord Insurance Cover?
The simplest landlord policies usually cover only fire and vandalism. You can increase your coverage to include coverage for natural disasters. Since Missouri is prone to strong windstorms, tornadoes, floods and even hurricanes and earthquakes, you may wish to choose a more inclusive policy. The most comprehensive policies cover just about everything except for specific exclusions. For example, such a policy might say that it protects your property against anything but a terrorist attack.
Like regular homeowners policies, landlord insurance should also cover you if anyone is hurt on your property, even though you don't personally live there. This type of insurance, called liability insurance, will protect you from having to pay for the medical treatment of someone who slips and falls on your steps. Landlord insurance can include the following:
- Property damage: This covers damage to your buildings and personal property due to fire, storm damage, theft, vandalism and tenant damage. Ideally, your landlord insurance will cover the replacement costs for your entire rental property in the event of a total loss.
- Liability insurance: This coverage protects you against liability claims and lawsuits. Whether a tenant, visitor or even a burglar sustains injuries on your rental property, you could find yourself in a legal bind. Your liability insurance will help you cover the costs associated with bodily injury claims on your property.
- Loss of income: This insurance will help compensate you for lost income in the event that a rental property becomes uninhabitable due to a covered loss such as a storm or apartment fire. Your loss of income coverage, or "rental reimbursement," will prevent you from losing the income you would have had if you were collecting rent.
- Optional coverage: Much like a homeowner, as a landlord you can buy additional coverage such as rent guarantee insurance, natural disaster insurance, employer liability insurance and landlord contents insurance to cover your personal property items such as furnishings or carpet in the rental property.
What Landlord Insurance Does Not Cover
A landlord policy may or may not protect you against loss of rental income. If your property is empty because of damage that has made it uninhabitable, you are usually covered. However, if your tenant breaks the lease and leaves the property vacant, you are usually not covered.
Your landlord's insurance policy only covers the building structure and any items you own (such as appliances or, in the case of a furnished apartment, your furniture). If renters leasing your Missouri apartment, condo or home starts a fire in the kitchen and destroy their dining room table, your policy would not cover the damage.
How You Can Protect Your Rental
Your rental unit is your investment. Not only can purchasing a landlord insurance policy protect your investment, but so can a few simple steps:
- Do background checks on potential renters.
- Install sprinkler systems and other safety equipment.
- Require your Missouri residents to purchase renters insurance.
What Does Landlord Insurance Cost?
The cost of landlord insurance can vary widely based on a number of factors. You may see rates as low as $500 per year for a small rental unit, or several thousands of dollars per year for a larger unit with a swimming pool. If you rent out a house that you eventually plan to sell, you may pay about 25 percent more for your landlord insurance than if you were paying for homeowners insurance.
These factors and more will affect the cost of your insurance policy:
- Your geographic location within Missouri and any known risks in the area
- The size of the structure
- The number of rental units you insure
- The age and condition of the building
- The age and compliance of the electric wiring
- Whether you allow smokers to rent from you
- Whether your complex has a swimming pool
- The type and amount of coverage you are purchasing
- Whether you have fire sprinklers installed in your rental units
- Whether the complex has gated access
- Whether you have burglar alarms
Most Missouri insurance companies offer discounts to landlords who install safety equipment such as sprinkler systems and burglar alarms.
Where To Sign Up
Whether you are renting out the lake house in Southern Missouri or building a high-rise apartment building in St. Louis, landlord insurance will protect you from that unexpected damage and lawsuits. Whether your rental units provide all of your income or just a nice vacation fund, you want to protect your investment.
Contact a knowledgeable Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent to get quotes and to find affordable landlord insurance that covers your needs.