Homeowners insurance for 2 buildings on 1 parcel. Two policies?

8 Replies

Do I need two separate insurance policies?

I have a 3 unit multi-family rental in Michigan. 2 units are in a duplex, and the other unit is separate (it looks like

a single family home next door, but is actually on the same parcel of land). I bought the property for $110,000

and am trying to get my insurance straightened out. The duplex has a separate mailing address than the other

unit, but they are both on 1 parcel of land, under 1 mortgage, and the two buildings are not

taxed separately. The insurance company seemed a little confused on the situation, and ended up

saying I need two separate quotes because they have 2 different mailing addresses.

I do not want to have to pay two separate policies. I guess another option would be to separate the lot

into two parcels and sell off one of them as long as the lots would meet all of the zoning

requirements. Thoughts?

I do have flood insurance, but looking at the documents, it only has 1 of the addresses listed. I am nervous that if

anything were to happen to the address not listed, I would not be covered.

@Joseph Weiss

Hey Joseph, 

A good rule of thumb is if it's under the same roof you can usually keep it under one policy *for homeowners.* That being said since the single family home is a complete other structure, away from the duplex you would need 2 separate homeowners policy. Now if these 3 units are under 1 company than you can most likely get a property policy that includes both of the homes under 1 policy. Hope this helps. 


Ricardo A.

Originally posted by @Casey J Burkhead :

Hi @Joseph Weiss ,

Are the two buildings on the same or separate deeds?

The two buildings are on the same deed. One of them is a 902 address, the other is 906. 906 does not appear in any document (closing disclosure, mortgage docs, nothing). 

Originally posted by @Joseph Weiss :
Originally posted by @Casey J Burkhead:

Hi @Joseph Weiss ,

Are the two buildings on the same or separate deeds?

The two buildings are on the same deed. One of them is a 902 address, the other is 906. 906 does not appear in any document (closing disclosure, mortgage docs, nothing). 

As long as they are on the same deed, you should be able to get one policy with some tweaks in coverage.  If you aren't already, I'd check with an independent agent who has access to multiple companies.


I have a couple similar situations.  The one like yours, is two single family houses on the same deed.  In that case we wrote a homeowners one the one the insured occupied and a dwelling fire policy for the rented one.  Since they are both with the same company, they wrote the dwelling fire without Liability (covered under the homeowners).   Since both are rentals you may be able to get a company to write both on the same Dwelling Fire Policy if they allow it or two separate dwelling Fire Policies with only one having the Liability.  

The situation that would worry me if I was your agent would be if the two houses were insured with different companies each with Liability.  The worry would not be because of coverage but rather who would pay.

Hey @Joseph Weiss I run into this situation regularly here in Cleveland. Most insurance companies will make you insure each property separately. This is because you need replacement cost on each property. If one catches fire the chances of loosing both are high if wind blows it will ruin both roofs, ect. I have scene policies that greatly increase the separate structure coverage percentage when the duplex is covered for 300k+ and the single family home is only 7-800sqr ft. It is hard to find a carrier that will cover both homes and not require two policies.

best of luck please let us know how it goes.

@Joseph Weiss here's 1 more insurance agents opinion.

This is very common situation in pre 1920 properties throughout the Midwest.

1 policy is the way to go. 10+ insurance companies in MI that will do this.

Imagine you have a tenant walking from building 1 to building 2, then slips and falls, and files a liability claim.

Policy 1 says he was closer to building 2, and Policy #2 says they were closer to building #1.

Now chances are you will have the same insurance company on both, but if you don't, because you found a cheaper policy for the single family, you have just created a big problem where both companies are denying the claim.

Some carriers will cover the location on a single policy while others will do it on two policies - neither is wrong.
I wouldn’t focus so much on 1 vs 2 policies as much as making sure you have the proper coverage for both houses and how that fits your budget.

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