If you own and rent out a house, apartments or townhouses in Vermont, landlord insurance can protect you from financial loss due to property damage and litigation. You can save money on the landlord coverage you need by getting quotes from a local agent.
Landlord insurance functions in much the same way a homeowners policy works. It can cover the cost of storm damage, fire, vandalism and other damage. It can also cover certain legal claims brought against you by your tenants or visitors to the property who suffer injury or property damage. With the right landlord policy, you will protect your investments.
Top Suits Against Landlords
Perhaps the most important component of landlord insurance is the liability coverage. A major claim against you could cost you your livelihood and future earnings if you lack the right coverage. Tenants could sue for issues such as these:
- Bodily injury due to negligence, such as tripping over a broken stair
- Property damage due to unsafe conditions, such as a fire caused by faulty wiring
- Personal injury, such as wrongful eviction, invasion of privacy or libel
Most landlord policies cover bodily injury and property damage suits. However, you may need to purchase additional coverage to take care of personal injury suits, which can be the most common and costly of all.
You can broaden and increase your liability limits with an umbrella policy, which adds extra liability insurance to your landlord, auto and homeowners insurance policies. A local agent can help you find quotes on an affordable policy.
Landlord Liability Coverage
The state of VT requires that all landlords fulfill the following responsibilities:
- Maintain the premises in a way that is decent, safe and sanitary
- Install an adequate heating system that complies with local codes
- Allow the tenant full, free use of the premises and follow landlord access restrictions
- Give proper notice before terminating a rental agreement and follow correct legal procedures for eviction, if necessary
If a client files a claim against you stating that your actions or negligence violated one of these responsibilities, you could be liable for court ordered damages, your legal defense and court fees.
Landlord insurance includes a liability component that can cover a certain portion of a lawsuit or claim against you. It can pay out settlement costs, legal defense and court fees up to the limits on your policy. Because lawsuits can quickly reach $100,000 and higher, your liability coverage may be what saves you from losing your rental properties, future earnings, home and assets. Landlord liability insurance may cover many types of claims, including the following:
- A visitor slipping and falling on the front steps of the apartment complex
- A tenant cutting a foot on broken glass in the parking lot
- A tenant falling ill and discovering mold in the walls of the house, from a leaky pipe
Even if a claim has no merit, you must still provide your own legal defense to sort out the case against you. Landlord insurance can pay for the cost of your legal defense up to the limits of your policy for any covered claim, even false claims.
Landlord Insurance Protects Your Property
Vermont is prone to hurricanes, wind and hail. Landlord insurance can cover the cost of repairs to the buildings you rent out, including these:
- Damaged roofs
- Broken windows
- Interior flooding from broken pipes
It is the tenant's responsibility to insure personal property, but you must protect any appliances, flooring and fixtures that you own.
Landlord insurance does not cover special disasters such as flood. You can get flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program for all of your properties if they are located in a community that participates in the program. Considering the high risk of storm surge and flooding during the rainy season in Vermont, flood insurance is probably a worthy investment for your rental properties. You can also get quotes from an agent on other special endorsements like earthquake or sinkhole coverage.
Do You Need Workers Comp Coverage?
Many landlords do not realize they need to carry workers compensation coverage. If you offer discounted rent to a tenant in exchange for services such as apartment management, lawn care, pool maintenance or janitorial duties, you probably need workers comp insurance.
If, for example, a tenant maintains gym equipment in exchange for discounted rent and the tenant suffers injuries on the job, that tenant can rightfully file a claim for workers compensation. If you are not sure whether you need to purchase workers comp coverage, ask a local agent. Without coverage, a workers compensation claim could be financially devastating.
How Much Is Landlord Insurance?
Your insurance company will take the following into consideration when quoting you a price for landlord insurance:
- Property address
- Age of property
- Price/Date of purchase
- Any amenities that could pose a risk to the tenants, including sport courts, pools and gym facilities
- Claims history
- Any additional structures such as laundry facilities, sheds, garages, etc.
- List of employees
- Whether electrical/plumbing is up to code
- Whether there are gates
- Whether smoking is allowed
To ensure you have the right level of protection, insurance companies consider all these factors and more when calculating quotes.
Find the Best Deal on Landlord Insurance
The best way to get a good rate on landlord insurance is to comparison shop. Local agents in the Trusted Choice® network can shop for policies from many different insurance companies and get the coverage you need at the best price. Trusted Choice agents work for you to find the best deal possible. A local agent may even be able to help you save money on your homeowners, auto and business policies by bundling coverage.
Contact a local agent to get quotes on your landlord insurance.