Homeowners Insurance/Landlord insurance/Umbrella insurance

10 Replies

First post on bigger pockets! I’m under contract on my first 3 family home and I’m exploring insurance options. I’m hoping someone (anyone) can shine some light on the differences between Homeowners, landlord, umbrella insurance. Do I need all 3? Any experience or thoughts are welcomed.

Thank You

Hey Chris,

The first question would be: will you be living in one of the units?  If so, then you would want to purchase a homeowner's policy.  Even though there will be two other tenants, you still want coverage for your personal property.  Also, insurance companies rate homeowner's differently from landlord policies due to the fact that you live there.  If you won't be occupying a unit and at least one of the units is occupied by a tenant, you will want to purchase a landlord dwelling policy (there are other options besides a landlord policy but I won't get into that here).  Most companies have different levels of liability coverage that are included on the homeowner's / landlord dwelling policy.  $100K, $300K, $500K, and sometimes $1M are the options.  In my opinion, the minimum you should purchase on a 3-family property is $500K in liability coverage.  When it comes to the umbrella, it just depends.  I tell my clients to determine how much they have in personal assets - if they have more than $500K in personal assets, I always recommend an additional $1M umbrella.  This would give you $1.5M in liability coverage for the property.  Since it's your first, that may be too much or maybe it's not enough.  It depends on how much you stand to lose if someone were to sue you for personal injury.

- Casey Burkhead

Christopher Below is some info that I posted in the past. It may be helpful: I can give you some general info on insuring the property: Here are some things to look for from an Insurance prospective: 1.Any in-ground tanks (active or inactive) 2.Any Knob & Tube or Aluminum Wiring 3.If built before 1978, does the building have Lead Safe certifications 4.Any wood stoves or secondary heating units. If so, were permits pulled & were they installed by a professional 5.Are any of the homes rented to students 6.Is there a flat roof 7.are there asbestos shingles 8. Do any of the tenants have Dogs (Breed restrictions are individual to each company). These may not prevent you from getting insurance but they may limit the number of companies willing to insure it. That may increase your cost or limit the coverage you can get. The Year that the following were updated (either partially or fully) would be good to know: - Heating systems - Roof - Plumbing - electrical Some companies will not write properties with systems that have not been updated. As long as you are living there, the proper policy for a 1-4 family is a "Homeowners" policy. If the property is solely tenant occupied you will be looking for a Dwelling/Fire Policy (may be called a Landlord policy or similar name) or a commercial policy such as a Business Qwners or Package policy. Most homeowners or dwelling/fire policies include: 1. Dwelling (Building coverage) The limit should be based on the Replacement Cost of the building (cost to rebuild with the same kind and quality excluding the foundation) 2. Contents (Personal Property): most homeowners policies give a set % of the Building limit for Contents. Dwelling/Fire policies require that you request a limit for contents. 3. Detached Structures: for other buildings on the property (ie. sheds & detached garages) Again, there is normally an included limit of 10% of the building limit. That can be increased if needed. 4. Loss of Use / Loss of Rents: Normally, there is a 20% included limit. Loss of use is for your additional expenses if you can not live there due to a covered claim (ie. Fire). The Loss of Rents is for the loss of Rental income if the tenants can not occupy the house after a covered loss. 5. Personal Liability: For claims due to Bodily Injury or Property Damage that you become Liable for and which is covered under the policy. Companies normally offer limits up to $500,000 but some offer $1,000,000. Buy the max. 6. Medical Payments: Provides coverage for an injury suffered on the premises. Does not require proof that you were at fault. Used to keep small loses into becoming lawsuits. Normally offered up to $5,000 but check to see if higher limits are available. 7. Deductible: This is not a coverage but rather your portion of a claim. Most better policies will not have a deductible for either the Liability or Medical payments coverage. It will apply to the other 4 coverages. You can select the amount of the deductible, usually ranges from $500 to $5,000. The higher the deductible the lower your overall premium but get quotes on all the deductibles you are interested in. Sometimes the incremental savings from $1,000 to $2,500 or from $2,500 to $5,000 are too small to make the higher deductible worthwhile. ***depending on how far the house is from the coast, you may also be required to have a separate Wind or Hurricane deductible. Most times, the deductible will be 2% to 5% of the building value. That is a significant amount (on a $500,000 building that comes to $10,000 for 2% or $25,000 for 5%). A policy with a higher premium may be a better deal if it does not have a wind deductible. There are many endorsements that are available on the homeowners policy. Without knowing the details I can not suggest which would be right to add on. Several you should pay attention to are: - Ordinance & Law: Provides additional building coverage to deal with rebuilding cost Increases due to changes in Zoning or Building laws - Personal Injury Liability: Libel, defamation of character, wrongful imprisonment, etc. (normally recommended, especially if you are a landlord) - Water Backup: For water damage due to the backup of Sewers or Drains. - Personal Articles: Coverage for belongings that have a special or collectors value such as Jewelry, Furs, Fine Arts, Collectibles, etc... Your age should not be a factor on the pricing but, depending on the company these other factors may get you credits: - Insurance Score (company pulls certain info out of your credit report). It is not your credit score but generally better credit will result in a better score - Time at your job - Education level - time at current residence Good Luck & feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
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@Christopher R.

If you're looking for asset protection, you might want to consider more than just insurance. Perhaps maybe an LLC or another pass-through entity. This is a good BP article about the difference between insurance and asset protection. After that, read over what a pass-through entity is and why it is something that can be of great help to you. Also, this article is great for demonstrating what it takes to protect your RE investments. Hope this helps.

Best of luck.

@Christopher R. I just refinanced my 4-plex. The lender required me to quit claim out of my LLC which I use for asset protection. The problem is that the new lender will not allow me to quit claim the property back to my LLC now that the loan is done.

So I have to rely on insurance only which is terrifying to me.

Moral of the story is check

with your lenders to ensure you can hold the property in your LLC. Or you could be left in a lurch like me.