Landlord insurance protects the properties you rent out from financial loss. Whether you are renting out your cabin in Bridgewater, your townhome in Richmond or your apartment complex in Orange County, you can get quotes on a comprehensive landlord insurance policy for any investment you may own.
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The Rental Market in Virginia
- As of 2012, Nearly 34 percent of Virginia residents rent their homes, condos or apartment units - the highest percent in history.
- The average cost of rent for Virginians is $1,100.
- Rental units in Virginia experience an average of 6% vacancy.
- The average landlord has anywhere from $100,000 to $2 million invested in rental properties.
Why Is Landlord Insurance Important?
Landlord insurance not only protects your Virginia rental property by covering repairs needed after natural disasters or break-ins, but finding the right policy can also protect investors from litigation, which can result from incidents at the house, townhome, condo or apartment building you own.
It is the tenant's responsibility to cover his or her own personal property and liability, preferably with a renters insurance policy. Some landlords require that tenants purchase renters insurance before signing a lease. Your financial responsibility is for the buildings, grounds, and your conduct toward the tenants.
Chances are, you've worked hard and invested much into the residences you rent out. And while you carefully screen your tenants and maintain your property well, accidents and disaster can still affect you and your finances.
A comprehensive landlord insurance policy can protect your investments and make sure the rental income you have come to rely on is secure.
Does Virginia Require Me to Carry Landlord Insurance?
Landlord insurance is not required by Virginia law, but carrying it would be a smart business decision. Electrical fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, vandalism and liability claims are some of the key things you want to be prepared for as a landlord.
You need landlord insurance when you do not occupy the same residence as your tenant. You will also need landlord insurance if you are renting out your own home temporarily or sharing accommodations, such as your basement level, with someone who pays you rent.
Some landlords rely on their homeowners insurance to cover their rental units. It is important to remember that most Virginia insurance companies will not cover repairs for damages made by a tenant, unless you have landlord coverage.
If you haven't already, it is a good idea to read the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act to familiarize yourself with the laws and stipulations that apply to your investment property.
What Does Landlord Insurance Cover?
Much like a traditional homeowners policy, landlord insurance provides several important types of coverage. Most Virginia insurance providers will give you the following options when giving you a quote on a landlord insurance policy:
- Property damage: This covers damage to your structures and personal property due to fire, storm damage, theft, vandalism and tenant damage. You should take an inventory of the value of the property and any furnishings you provide to your renters. The total should give you an idea of how much insurance to carry.
- Liability insurance: This coverage protects you against liability claims and lawsuits, up to the limits on your policy. Whether a tenant, visitor or even a burglar is injured on your rental property, you could find yourself in court fighting an expensive legal claim. Landlord insurance provides more liability coverage than the average homeowners policy, because landlords face higher risk of litigation. If you feel you need more liability coverage than your landlord policy provides, you can add an umbrella policy, to increase your liability limits across the board.
- Loss of income: You may have come to rely on the income from your renters. Whether it is supplemental or your sole source of income, stoppages can impact your personal budget. 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.
- Additional options: Most Virginia insurance companies will offer landlords 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. Your insurance agent should be able to tell you which types of additional poicy options are available for your Virginia property.
How Does Landlord Insurance Work?
Let's say a fire breaks out in the Virginia neighborhood in which your rental property is located and your building sustains damage. Your landlord insurance policy with property damage protection will help pay for the repairs, after you have met your deductible. Be sure you choose a deductible that you can comfortably afford to pay. A high deductible may save you a few bucks on a landlord insurance policy quote, but it may leave you holding the bag for expensive repairs.
In another example, say a guest of one of your tenants slips and falls on the sidewalk of your building and sues you for the injuries they sustain. Your landlord insurance's liability protection can help pay for court fees and legal expenses you may face as a result. These claims can quickly reach hundreds of thousands of dollars and more, so it's a good idea to get the highest liability limits you can afford, especially if you own multiple properties.
How Much Does Landlord Insurance Cost?
Due to the fact that landlords come in all types, from the couple who rents out their basement to the real estate mogul who owns an apartment high rise in Richmond, VA, it is nearly impossible to calculate average quotes for landlord insurance. An insurance company will take many factors into consideration when estimating your quotes, including:
- Your location and any known risks in the area, since high crime areas will receive higher quotes than low-crime neighborhoods
- The size and value of the structure; the higher the value, the higher the quote
- How many rental units you have
- The age and condition of the building
- Whether you allow smokers to rent from you
- Whether your complex has a swimming pool, trampoline or other high-risk amenities
- 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
It is always a good idea to compare multiple quotes from a variety of Virginia insurance companies to find the best landlord insurance policy.
How Can I Find Landlord Insurance Quotes?
Knowledgeable independent insurance agents from the Trusted Choice® network are always available to help you track down landlord insurance quotes for your Virginia investment property, at the most affordable prices available. Our experienced agents can help you shop around and compare quotes, suggest coverage options and even help you file a claim on your landlord insurance policy. Contact an agent near you to find out how you can better protect your investments.