Dwelling Coverage

Rental property covered under personal insurance is habitational property owned by an individual, not a corporation, partnership or LLC, and rented to others. The structure may consist of up to four units and the owner may occupy one of the units in a multi-unit structure.  These structures are covered by an insurance policy called a Dwelling Fire Policy.

Property exposures start with wiring, heating, and plumbing. The unit should comply with all governmental codes on smoke and fire detection, fire extinguishers, and carbon monoxide detectors. The age and condition of the building, the type of separation or firewalls that exist between units are important. If a one-family residence is converted to a multi-family structure, the conversion should be professionally done with appropriate permits and inspections. Personal property exposure depends on the items supplied by the landlord. These items are subject to theft from outsiders as well as tenants, so: the fewer such items, the better the risk.

Premises liability exposure is limited but still exists. The landlord must provide a secure dwelling. Therefore, tracking keys is very important. All heating units and wiring must be up to code. Carpeting, steps and other potential trip/fall hazards should be minimized. Sidewalks and driveways should be free from defects. A service activity log to document the landlord’s response to tenants’ needs should exist. Because discrimination suits are now being lodged against landlords, a stated procedure should be in place to prevent discrimination. Clear guidelines for tenant acceptability are important. Lead exposure must be considered if the dwelling was built prior to 1980. Window sills are a particular concern.