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Houston Texas Landlord Insurance

Owning apartment buildings is often a lucrative and rewarding business opportunity. Risks, however, can threaten your property, endanger the lives of your employees and residents, and potentially interrupt your income stream. Apartment owner insurance will protect you in case something goes wrong and give you the peace of mind to run your business.

What Is Landlord Insurance?

Apartment owner insurance protects you from a wide variety of the risks that you face, stemming from weather events and natural disasters, the improper acts of others (theft, vandalism, employee misconduct), and potential claims from injured or disgruntled residents. On any given day a fire could break out, your building could be burglarized, a resident could get injured and sue you, or an employee could make a mistake resulting in a claim against your business.

 

Major risks include:

  • Weather events (hail storms, tornadoes, lightning strikes, wind damage, etc.)
  • Fire
  • Vehicle accidents
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Employee claims (discrimination, wrongful termination, etc.)
  • Tenant claims due to property damage or personal injury
  • Claims arising from employee wrongdoing (theft, fraud, discrimination, for example)

 

Why Do You Need Landlord Insurance?

While the law doesn’t require you have to insurance, any real estate loans you may have on your property will mandate it. But more importantly, it’s a business need. You have a sizable investment in your apartment(s). You need to protect yourself from the value of the building, any claims or lawsuits you may face, and your income stream. In the event that the building can’t be rented due to damage or repair, the apartment owner’s insurance can offset your loss.

Like most types of insurance, the cost is far lower than the amount of one major loss, so having an apartment owner’s insurance is an absolute must. But, the amount of coverage you need will vary and we can work with you to make sure you have the right amount.

 

What Does Landlord Insurance Cover?

Apartment owner coverage is broken down into three major areas: Commercial property coverage, commercial general liability insurance, and loss of income coverage.

Commercial Property Coverage Commercial General Liability Insurance Loss of Income Coverage
  • Covers the apartment building(s), garages, fences, pools, offices, storage buildings, fences, and other structures on the property against damage from weather, natural disasters, and human acts (accidents and deliberate)
  • Covers business property on the premises like maintenance and equipment, computers, office furniture, etc.
  • Can cover buildings under construction 
  • Coverages are limited per incident and in aggregate
  • Protects against claims arising from injury or damages to individuals, ranging from a delivery person slipping and falling to a tenant injured at the apartment pool
  • Can protect against an employee and third-party lawsuits for claims like discrimination, wrongful termination, or false advertising 
  • In the event a building becomes uninhabitable due to damage, this insurance will provide compensation to offset the lost business income

In terms of what is not covered, there are a few areas to consider:

  • Flood damage is likely not covered by the commercial property insurance, it requires a separate policy.
  • Amounts in excess of the coverage limits will not be covered, so it’s important to make sure that your policy is designed to protect you from the risks you face the most. Additional products like umbrella insurance can also help increase your overall coverage.

 

How Much is Landlord Insurance in Texas?

Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy average we can point to because apartments and apartment buildings vary so much. Major factors include:

  • Number and type of property or properties (high-rise, duplex, multi-family, etc.)
  • Property age
  • Property condition
  • Property location
  • Condition of the major systems like electrical, HVAC, and plumbing
  • Swimming pool, fitness center, and/or clubhouse
  • Alarm and/or fire prevention systems

If you own several different types of properties in varied locations, your average cost may go down as the risk is spread out among the asset pool. The best way to understand your specific costs is to discuss your needs with an agent.

 

What Else Should I Consider?

As you are reviewing the risks and potential mitigation strategies for your apartment business, there are a few additional areas to think about. Many of these will not be covered by the areas discussed above:

  • Boiler and machinery – this coverage protects a wide range of equipment from HVAC systems to elevators and refrigeration units. Oftentimes the breakdown and/or repair of these systems will not be covered by standard commercial property insurance coverage, but repairs can be costly and potentially prevent you from renting apartments.
  • Professional liability coverage – if you have a larger apartment organization and employee workers, there is always the risk that one may make an error that will result in damages to your business. Professional liability insurance will protect you in this case.
  • Workers’ compensation – employees can get injured on the job, and roles like property maintenance come with inherent risks. Workers’ compensation insurance will protect you in case a claim is filed.
  • Commercial auto insurance – if your apartment business maintains vehicles like cars, trucks, shuttles, or even golf carts, you likely have some exposure to vehicle risk. Commercial auto covers this area.
  • Commercial umbrella insurance – for extra peace of mind, an umbrella policy will pick up when your apartment policy reaches its coverage limit.

 

What is the Claims Process?

The process of filing claims is essentially the same for apartment owner insurance as it is for other types of insurance. Should an incident occur, you begin by contacting your agent and requesting to file a claim. An adjuster will be assigned to evaluate the damage or other claim, and then work with you to provide a payout amount. The payout will be reduced by the amount of the deductible.

 

How Do I Choose the Right Landlord Insurance Policy?

An apartment business can have many complexities in terms of the number and type of properties, the number of employees, equipment, and other considerations. The insurance you select should protect not just the physical assets but also your business as a whole, and the potential for risk can add up quickly. Given this wide scope, it’s best to start by talking to an agent about your needs and then working with him or her to review options and craft a policy that meets your needs.

After the initial selection is made, it’s important to update your insurance as your portfolio and needs change. Our agents can help review your policy periodically to make sure your rates are competitive and help you take advantage of new insurance products that may have entered the market.

 

Do you own one apartment or several apartments? Email us or give us a call and let Texan Insurance help you secure the best insurance possible!

Phone: 281-466-3621

Email: service@texaninsurance.com

 

FAQ

Does landlord insurance require a deductible?

Yes, you are required to pay the deductible amount before your coverage takes over. You can determine the amount of the deductible when you select your policy. A lower deductible will mean a higher premium and vice versa.

Does the landlord insurance cover my property in case of a flood?

No, flood insurance is a separate policy.

Can trespassers hold me liable for injuries suffered on my property?

Yes, a visitor, passerby, or a trespasser could sue you if they are injured on your property, even if their presence violates your guidelines or policies. An example of this might be a resident’s guest slipping near the pool and suing you for medical expenses.

In my capacity as an apartment owner/landlord, can I require my tenants to maintain renter’s insurance? Can I require a certain amount of coverage?

Yes, and this may be considered a best practice. Making sure that your tenants have insurance helps to mitigate your risk. You may require insurance as well as minimum coverage amounts. All of these stipulations should be made in the rental agreement.

How does loss of income insurance work?

Let’s say that one of your apartment buildings is damaged in a tornado. Fortunately, no one was injured, but the building will require significant repairs that could extend up to three months. During the repair period, the entire building is uninhabitable and therefore cannot generate rental revenue. Your commercial property insurance will cover the cost of the repair work but would not cover your lost income. You could, however, file a claim against a lost income policy and receive payments during the repair period to offset the lost revenue. The specific terms and payout amounts are subject to your policy details, and an agent can guide you through making those decisions.

Will an alarm system and/or fire sprinkler reduce my insurance cost?

Yes, properly functioning safety equipment like this will reduce the cost of landlord insurance.

Should I be concerned with cyber liability?

Cybercrimes are increasing in frequency and scope. If you are storing customer information such as name, phone number social security number, dates of birth, and other potentially sensitive data in your capacity as an apartment owner/landlord, you could be at risk for having that information stolen and/or misused. Such a criminal act could potentially create liability for your company. Discuss your potential risk with a Texan Insurance agent and determine if insurance makes sense.

Can I add umbrella insurance to increase my coverage?

Yes, umbrella coverage can be an effective additional coverage to protect you beyond the coverage limits of your other insurance policies. It can help with lawsuit judgments and legal fees, as well.

Is landlord insurance tax deductible?

Yes, it is a legitimate business expense and is therefore deductible.

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