Does landlord insurance cover tenant damage?

Last updated: January 1

If a tenant accidentally damages your property, your landlord insurance policy may help. Landlord insurance typically includes dwelling coverage, which helps protect against sudden and accidental damage to your rental property. If your property is damaged by a covered peril such as fire, lighting or hail, the Insurance Information Institute (III) says landlord insurance may to help cover the repair cost.

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So what happens if one of your tenants has a kitchen fire that damages the apartment? The dwelling coverage in a landlord insurance policy may help cover this kind of situation. For example, if the fire damages the walls or cabinets, the dwelling coverage in a landlord insurance policy may help cover the cost of repairs. Keep in mind, though, that you will likely need to pay your deductible, which is the amount you pay toward a covered loss before your insurance benefits kick in. And it's important to remember that your policy will typically only cover losses up to a certain amount, so it's important to know your coverage limits and adjust them to fit your needs.

What isn't covered?

While a landlord insurance policy may help provide protection against a number unexpected losses, not every situation will be covered. For instance, maintenance-related issues and equipment breakdowns are typically excluded from landlord insurance coverage. So your policy may help pay to replace your washing machine if it's damaged in a fire, but if it breaks down due to wear and tear, landlord insurance likely won't cover the cost of a new one.

Additionally, landlord insurance typically will not cover intentional damage, such as vandalism. So, while the dwelling coverage in a landlord insurance policy may help with the repair bills if a tenant inadvertently damages the unit while moving furniture, the costs of cleanup if you discover a disgruntled tenant spray-painted the walls may not be covered.

Renters' responsibilities

Landlord insurance coverage may help protect the home you rent out in certain situations, but renters are ultimately responsible for protecting themselves and their personal property. For example, renters' belongings are generally not covered by their landlord's insurance policy — they need renters insurance for that, says the III. So, while landlord insurance may help cover the cost of repairs to a home's drywall or floor after the bathtub overflows, it typically won't help to replace the renter's water-logged belongings.

Whether you're looking to rent out your vacation home or already have a rental property, it's important to understand what your landlord insurance policy does and does not cover. If you have questions regarding landlord insurance, a local agent can help.

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