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Does Landlord Insurance Cover Tenant Damage?

by Jessie Jordan,  Jun 23 2021

Key Takeaways:

  • Landlord insurance covers certain types of unintentional damage caused by tenants, but it will not cover normal wear and tear
  • If a tenant accidentally damages your property, their renters insurance coverage should reimburse you for the damage
  • The majority of landlords require tenants to pay a security deposit and purchase a renters insurance policy to help protect their assets in case of damage

Buying a landlord insurance policy is a must. However, what types of tenant damage does landlord insurance cover? Here’s what you should know:

What Does Landlord Insurance Coverage Include?

A landlord insurance policy is similar to homeowners insurance, but it aims at protecting your property against rental-related damages. It usually covers:

  • Dwelling (the structure of your property itself) against unexpected and accidental damages caused by a covered loss (here’s what Insurance Information Institute says about the type of coverage you need for renting out your home)
  • Personal property coverage – meaning furniture, kitchen appliances, that are left on-site for the tenants’ use (excluding tenant’s personal property)
  • Personal liability coverage – it may provide coverage if you get sued after someone suffers from a bodily injury on your property. However, if your renter has a guest and they get hurt and file a lawsuit, any following costs like medical payments will probably be covered by liability coverage on your tenant’s policy
  • Loss of rent income (also known as rental reimbursement) – if your rental property can’t be rent out due to a covered peril, landlord policy may pay you your lost rental income (and if it’s not covered, you may supplement your insurance with this type of additional coverage)

Always make sure to ask your insurance agent about your policy limits and amount of coverage as property owners bear a lot of responsibility when it comes to their rental property. Also, it’s recommended to learn more about landlord and tenant laws applicable in your state

What Is Not Covered by Landlord Insurance?

Landlord insurance won’t protect you against every possible damage. Here’s what’s not covered:

  • The personal belongings of your tenants, so they need to purchase a separate renters insurance policy to be covered (you can include such a requirement in a tenancy agreement)
  • Damages due to wear and tear (like stained carpets), issues related to maintenance, replacing or repairing domestic appliances and devices if they break down (unless they suffered from a covered peril such as fire or hail—then you will receive a payout)
  • Malicious damage, such as vandalism – a landlord policy will likely not pay for the repairs in such cases. However, you can purchase optional riders to receive extra protection in the event of intentional damage
  • Some natural disasters, such as flooding and earthquake, for which you need separate policies
  • Water damage caused by flooding (meaning a natural disaster) or by negligence

When looking for landlord insurance quotes, make sure to check what’s covered by the insurance company and what can be added as an endorsement. Also, your landlord insurance has specific coverage values and it may not pay for the total loss of your property (e.g. in case of a kitchen fire that destroys it completely). That’s when the personal umbrella policy kicks in, offering wider coverage limits.

Does Landlord Insurance Cover Tenant Damage?

Yes and no. Landlord insurance usually covers dwelling which means unintentional and accidental damage caused by tenants to the structure of your property will be covered by your insurance provider. So if your tenant unintentionally starts a fire in your kitchen, it will fall into this category. But if they scuff the floors or steal something from you, it’s usually not covered by landlord policy (depending on the insurer).

If you’re eligible to receive reimbursement, you will get the amount that’s within your policy limits. And you will have to pay your deductible (an amount covered by a policyholder before insurance coverage pays out).

Also, you can ask for a security deposit which is a certain amount of money collected from your tenant in advance, intended to cover possible costs stemming from property damages.

The landlord insurance policy is helpful as it provides protection against many rental-related losses. However, it doesn’t cover each and every tenant damage so make sure to prepare yourself before letting your property. Require your renters to purchase their own renters insurance and ask your insurer about any additional coverages. After all, you want to have peace of mind and get the most out of your rental property!

Editorial content on Gabi.com is reviewed by a licensed insurance agent. It is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal or financial advice.
Written by
Jessie Jordan
Jessie is a Marketing Specialist at Gabi. As a licensed insurance agent, she has been helping Gabi customers buy and understand auto, home, renters, landlord, and umbrella insurance in a digestible way since she joined the Gabi team in 2020. Before joining Gabi she was a globally recognized Senior Account Executive for UPS- trusted with advising top brands on how to grow and streamline their business.
Reviewed by
Robbie Boddy
Robbie is the Vice President, Head of Sales & Customer Experience at Gabi. As a licensed insurance agent, he has more than 15 years of experience in the insurance industry, joining Gabi after working with Liberty Mutual as the Assistant Vice President and Site Leader, Direct Sales and Innovation. Robbie is a member of the Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters society and has a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Grand Canyon University.
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