How Much Renters Insurance Should A Landlord Require?

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ByMark Fitzpatrick
Edited byJonathan Ramos
ByMark Fitzpatrick
Edited byJonathan Ramos

Updated: May 22, 2024

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When requiring renters insurance, landlords should mandate a minimum of $20,000 in personal property coverage and $100,000 in liability coverage to ensure the tenant is adequately protected. Landlords should also require proof of insurance before signing a lease and provide tenants with information on obtaining renters insurance to make the process easier.

Having these minimum limits benefits both parties. The tenant gains protection for their personal belongings and liability, while the landlord reduces potential liability. For instance, if a tenant accidentally starts a fire, their renters insurance would cover the damages, not the landlord's policy.

Key Takeaways

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Landlords may establish renters insurance requirements; recommended starting points include $20,000 for personal property and $100,000 for liability coverage.

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Requiring renters insurance enhances landlord and tenant security, responsibility and peace of mind for both parties.

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Landlords can reduce liability risks by maintaining their property, screening tenants and investing in landlord insurance.

How Much Renters Insurance Should a Landlord Require?

When it comes to renters insurance, it's best to collaborate with your tenant. At a minimum, consider requiring $20,000 for personal property coverage and $100,000 for liability coverage. While this can ensure your tenant's belongings are protected in case of a fire, theft or other covered event, you can also increase limits based on your tenant's lifestyle and valuables. For instance, if your tenant owns $50,000 worth of items, consider requiring at least $50,000 in personal property coverage.

A high amount of liability coverage is also important — especially for landlords. If an accident occurs in your rental unit and your renter is at fault, it is their liability coverage that ensures they will cover medical expenses, legal costs and any damaged property.

Since landlords can require renters insurance, choosing appropriate limits is essential to protect your bottom line. The higher the tenant's coverage in their renters insurance, the lower the risk is for you as the landlord.

Understanding what renters insurance covers can give you an idea of coverage limits:

  • Personal Property Coverage: Renters insurance has personal property coverage, which shields tenants' belongings from unexpected events such as theft, fire or natural disasters. In the event of such perils, this coverage assists renters in recovering or replacing their possessions, minimizing financial strain.

  • Personal Liability Coverage: Liability coverage shields tenants from potential legal expenses if someone is injured while on the rental property, whether it's an accident or due to negligence. This coverage benefits tenants and mitigates potential legal disputes for landlords.

  • Loss Of Use Coverage: This coverage means that if a rental unit becomes uninhabitable due to a covered event, tenants will receive assistance with additional living expenses while they seek alternative accommodation. This not only ensures tenants have a place to stay but also provides a level of stability and security for landlords.

In conclusion, landlords should prioritize requiring tenants to have sufficient renters insurance coverage. This reduces the potential risk for landlords and safeguards tenants' interests during unforeseen events.

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You can request to be included as an interested party to see the details and coverages of your tenant’s renters insurance. You, as the landlord, will also receive updates about your tenant’s policy, whether it’s canceled, renewed or if the limits are increased.

Special Considerations for Additional Renters Insurance Coverage

Understanding your tenant’s lifestyle can give you insight into the minimum amount of renters insurance coverage to require. For instance, if your tenant frequently has guests over or owns a dog, you might require higher liability limits. Likewise, you might also want to increase personal property coverage limits if they own highly valuable items.

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    If your tenant owns a dog, there might be a higher risk of dog bites to guests or neighbors. Therefore, they might need to increase liability coverage in their policy.

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    If your tenant has a swimming pool, there might be a heightened risk of drowning or water damage, and they might need to increase their coverage limits.

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    If your tenant owns a trampoline, it could be dangerous. It might cause bodily injuries to the renters or their visitors, so it could be necessary to increase the amount of coverage.

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    If your tenant does extreme sports that involve practicing with fire or dangerous tools and equipment, you should require them to have all-around additional coverage.

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    If your tenant has a lot of expensive sports equipment, collector’s items, rare art pieces or costly jewelry, they should purchase higher personal property coverage limits or get scheduled personal property coverage to ensure valuables are covered.

Benefits of Requiring Renters Insurance for Landlords

Requiring renters insurance offers several key benefits for landlords. It enhances property protection, reduces financial risks and promotes responsible tenant behavior. Aside from that, it gives both the tenant and the landlord peace of mind. Here are the advantages at a glance:

Property Protection

Renters insurance ensures that tenants' personal property is covered in case of damage or loss, reducing the likelihood of disputes with landlords over responsibility for such incidents.

Lower Financial Risk

When tenants have renters insurance, landlords can avoid financial burdens caused by tenant negligence or accidents. Your tenant’s liability coverage can pay to replace damaged personal belongings or costly medical expenses if they are held liable for an accident.

Responsible Tenant Behavior

Requiring renters insurance promotes tenant responsibility and accountability in the rental property, fostering a more respectful and careful tenancy.

Renters Insurance vs. Landlord Insurance

While landlords have the authority to require their tenants to have renters insurance, it's equally crucial for landlords themselves to secure landlord insurance. While these two types of insurance serve different purposes, they both play vital roles in safeguarding the interests of property owners.

Renters insurance primarily focuses on protecting tenants and their personal belongings, while landlord insurance is tailored to protect landlords from specific risks associated with rental properties.

Renters Insurance
Landlord Insurance

Property Structure Coverage

Does not cover the structure of the rental property.

Covers the structure of the building and associated outbuildings. It also covers repairing accidental damage caused by tenants.

Personal Property Coverage

Covers the tenants' possessions in the event of fire, theft, vandalism or other events covered by the agreement.

Does not cover the personal property inside the rental units, as these belong to the tenants. However, if you furnish the unit or keep landscaping equipment on the property, you can add those items to the policy for an extra fee.

Liability Coverage

Provides coverage for injuries that occur in the rental property resulting from the tenant's negligence and for damage they might cause to another property.

Provides coverage for injuries caused to tenants or property damage resulting from ownership, maintenance and use of their rental properties.

Loss-of-Use and Loss-of-Rent Coverage

Offers coverage for the tenant’s temporary home and additional expenses if the rented property becomes uninhabitable due to a covered event.

Offers coverage for loss of rental income if the property is uninhabitable due to a covered peril. Some policies also cover rent when tenants don’t pay.

Designed For

Designed for individuals who are renting a condo unit, apartment or any rented space.

Designed for properties that are rented out regularly.

Protecting Yourself From Liability as a Landlord

As a landlord, ensuring your property is well-maintained and safe is paramount to protect yourself from potential liability issues. Here are some essential tips to help you mitigate risks and safeguard your interests:

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    Conduct Regular Maintenance

    Conduct routine inspections and maintenance to address any potential hazards promptly. Regular upkeep reduces the likelihood of accidents and tenant injuries.

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    Implement Safe Property Conditions

    Make sure the property meets safety standards, including proper lighting, secure locks and functional smoke detectors. This proactive approach can prevent accidents and legal disputes.

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    Have Thorough Tenant Screening

    Screen prospective tenants carefully to minimize the risk of leasing to individuals with a history of property damage or legal issues.

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    Invest in Liability Insurance

    Invest in landlord liability insurance to provide additional protection in case of tenant accidents or disputes. This insurance can cover legal expenses and settlements if necessary.

By implementing these practical measures, landlords can significantly reduce their liability exposure and maintain a secure rental environment for themselves and their tenants.

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About Mark Fitzpatrick

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Mark Fitzpatrick has analyzed the property and casualty insurance market for over five years, conducting original research and creating personalized content for every kind of buyer. Currently, he leads P&C insurance content production at MoneyGeek. Fitzpatrick has been quoted in several insurance-related publications, including CNBC, NBC News and Mashable.

Fitzpatrick earned a master’s degree in economics and international relations from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree from Boston College. He is passionate about using his knowledge of economics and insurance to bring transparency around financial topics and help others feel confident in their money moves.