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The Ultimate Questionnaire for Landlord Insurance Providers

Aaron Letzeiser
Sep 29, 2023

Being underinsured or lacking the right kind of coverage can end up costing you both money and peace of mind. I mean, imagine discovering your rental property suffered $25,000 in damages, only to learn that your insurance policy doesn't cover what you thought it did! 

That’s not a situation anyone wants to be in. To prevent it from happening to you, you need to know the right questions to ask a potential insurance provider.

This guide provides you with the ultimate list of questions to ask—and the answers you should look for—as you consider different landlord insurance policies.

1. What Types of Coverage Does the Policy Offer?

Different policies may focus on specific property types or features, or specific peril coverage, leaving you with potential gaps in coverage. Therefore, knowing what types of coverage are included in your prospective policy is essential. 

Insurance carriers should emphasize a well-rounded policy that encompasses the following:

  • Comprehensive coverage that safeguards against multiple causes of property damage, such as fire, water, or vandalism
  • Liability protection to shield you from legal and financial consequences of lawsuits
  • Loss of rental income covering lost rent payments during property repairs
  • Coverage for tenant injuries, ensuring you're protected if a renter or visitor suffers an injury on your property

2. What Are the Policy’s Limits and Deductibles?

Deductibles are the out-of-pocket expenses you need to cover before your insurance kicks in. Policy limits dictate the maximum total amount per claim an insurance provider could pay for a covered loss . Both factors directly impact the coverage and affordability of your policy.

Ideally, providers should highlight their ability to offer customizable coverage limits tailored to your specific needs, ensuring you have sufficient protection for your rental property. Additionally, they should offer flexible deductible options, allowing you to balance affordability and protection.

3. Does the Policy Cover Your Rental Property Type? 

Different properties may have unique risks and requirements, and not all insurance providers offer suitable coverage for each type. As you shop for an insurance carrier, ask each company to confirm that their policy is designed to cover the type of rental properties you own.

The provider should mention whether their coverage extends to single-family rentals, duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, apartment buildings, and/or condominiums. By choosing an insurer that caters to your property type, you can be confident in your insurance policy's ability to address your unique needs and risks both now and in the future.

Obie Risk Map screenshot

4. Are There Any Exclusions or Limitations in the Policy?

If a faulty pipe causes significant damage to your rental property, and your policy excludes water damage coverage, you’re left to bear the expensive repair and replacement costs. Not being aware of your policy’s limitations can result in inadequate protection and financial losses if a particular incident isn't covered.

Providers should acknowledge that while their policy aims to provide comprehensive coverage, some specific exclusions or limitations may apply. They should commit to providing you with a detailed list of these exclusions, enabling you to identify any potential gaps in coverage. 

Gaining clarity into your policy's limitations helps you decide on additional coverage options or endorsements to ensure complete protection for your rental property.

To learn about the natural risks in your area and be prepared with the right insurance for your rental, search the Obie Risk Map.

5. How Does the Claims Process Work?

The insurance claims process involves reporting a loss to your insurance provider, submitting necessary documentation, and working with an adjuster to assess the damage and determine the claim's value. Knowing how this process works is essential because it directly impacts the speed and ease of receiving compensation when you need it the most.

Landlord insurance providers should emphasize their commitment to providing a straightforward and efficient claims process. They should have a dedicated team of claims professionals to guide you through each step, ensuring you understand what's required and addressing any concerns or questions. 

By promising to work diligently to resolve your claim promptly, your insurer demonstrates their commitment to your financial well-being and your property’s protection.

Young woman on the phone happy on a couch

6. Can the Policy Be Customized to Meet My Specific Needs?

Landlords have varying needs depending on factors like property type, size, and location. Customizing an insurance policy is critical because it allows you to address your specific risks and requirements, ensuring optimal protection for your rentals.

When looking for landlord insurance, you want a provider that appreciates each client’s unique requirements. They should assure you their policies are flexible and can be tailored to your individual needs. 

7. Does the Policy Provide Coverage for Tenant-Caused Damage or Vandalism?

Vandalism and malicious mischief account for a significant number of insured landlord property losses. Verifying that your insurance policy covers tenant-caused damage or vandalism is vital for protecting your investment and maintaining your property's value.

An insurance provider should state that their policy includes coverage against tenant-caused damage or vandalism. They should acknowledge the reality that such situations can occur and emphasize their commitment to protecting you against these risks.

Ask the Right Questions to Find the Right Provider

Overall, keep in mind that these "ideal" responses serve as a guide to the type of information landlords want to obtain from insurance providers. To make an informed decision, you should evaluate multiple providers, compare their offerings, and thoroughly review the policy documents for a complete understanding of the coverage, terms, and conditions. This way, you can ensure that you choose the best insurance plan to protect your valuable rental property investment.

To see if Obie is right for you, start by getting a custom quote tailored to your property.