Can I get landlord insurance on my primary residence?

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Asked July 18, 2017

1 Answer

It is important to understand the difference between landlord and homeowners insurance. The department of insurance is very specific in defining the difference between these two types of policies. Homeowners are if the owner occupies the home. This covers the structure of a single family residence, walls-in typically for a condo, personal belongings and liability insurance, etc. Some homeowners policies even cover regular maintenance or identity restoration in the event of identity theft. If renters want protection for their liability and personal possessions, they would need to get a rental policy. If either homeowners or renters have an auto and home policy or some other combination of policies, they can also get extra liability coverage with umbrella policies.

A landlord insurance policy only covers the building and rental unit, not the land it sits on or the contents of your tenants. That is why you should recommend renters insurance to your tenants. It's important to realize that getting rental income does not necessitate or qualify you for a landlord's policy on its own.

If you are primarily living in your home and rent out the basement or a room, you need to contact your insurance agent to see how this may or may not be covered under your current policy. Similarly, if you have created a separation in your home to make two or three separate units, it could be treated differently. In this case, you actually have a separate rental unit.

If you are planning on using your home as a rental property and moving somewhere else to live, yes you can get landlord insurance for the building. You can also look into rental property insurance if you're living in a property you rent from someone else. If you are living there however and renting space out to another, it is not typically covered under your homeowner's policy.

The other thing to be aware of is, in the event of a loss, if you have a tenant at your residence and did not notify your insurance agent, you may be denied coverage. In some cases, this may not seem consequential to you, but it can affect the underwriting decision and require additional coverage.

If you think you may need landlord insurance, the best thing to do is often to talk to your insurance company or an independent insurance agent. They can advise you on your options and the types of coverage that make sense for you. 

Often, we want peace of mind. But the average insured doesn't know what will provide real coverage. They just see a wide range of options that are marketed to be appealing with what looks like competitive pricing.

Answered July 19, 2017 by Insurity

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