Tenant Injuries: Landlord Liability and Insurance FAQ

How can insurance help protect a rental property business?

A well-designed property insurance policy can protect a landlord's rental property from losses caused by many perils, including fire, storms, burglary, and vandalism. (Earthquake and flood insurance are typically insured under separate policies.)

A comprehensive general liability ("CGL") policy provides liability insurance, covering injuries or losses suffered by others as the result of defective conditions on the property. Equally important, liability insurance covers the cost (mostly lawyers' bills) of defending personal injury lawsuits.

Here are some tips on choosing insurance:

  • Purchase enough coverage to protect the value of the property and assets.
  • Be sure the policy covers not only physical injury but also libel, slander, discrimination, unlawful and retaliatory eviction, and invasion of privacy suffered by tenants and guests.
  • Carry liability insurance on all vehicles used for business purposes, including the manager's car or truck if it's used on the job.

If you need more information, The Legal Guide for Starting & Running a Small Business, by Fred S. Steingold (Nolo), contains a detailed discussion of small business law, including how to insure your rental property.

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