The coverage you need to protect your largest investment.
Landlord insurance with simplified solutions.
As a landlord, whether you manage a single-family unit, an apartment complex, or an office building, you need landlord insurance that is unique to your specific needs and risk factors. We have the solutions for landlords with investments in properties both large and small.
Landlord insurance to protect your largest investment.
When you are looking for Landlord Insurance in Washington State, Idaho, Oregon, California, or anywhere in the United States, you can have confidence the agents of Duncan & Associates Insurance Brokers can help you find the coverage you need to protect your largest investment.
Specialized coverage options for landlords of every type.
We offer comprehensive insurance protection for single-family real estate investors, those who own apartment buildings, office buildings, retail centers, hotels or motels, warehouses, vacant property insurance, and more. All of these types of real estate can be written under similar policy forms options, including basic policy coverage form, broad policy coverage form, and special policy coverage form.
Commercial policy forms vs. personal policy forms.
Each of the three policy forms (basic, broad, and special) provide different levels of coverage and there are some differences when the form is written on a commercial policy form or a personal policy form. A personal basic policy coverage form (also referred to as a dwelling fire one) can be used for single-family residential units or a multifamily unit (up to four units, typically) when the real estate investor only owns a handful of rental properties.
Basic policy coverage form for landlords.
The basic policy coverage form is the least expensive option for rental properties, no matter if it is a personal coverage form or a commercial coverage policy form. However, real estate investors need to keep in mind that the basic policy coverage form only covers a limited number of claim events and may leave you in a position where it might be necessary for you to pay certain claims out of pocket.
What you need to know about landlord insurance and state laws.
While it is true that real estate investing over the long-term has proven to be one of the most successful investments, there are some areas of knowledge that you should be familiar with, including state laws and insurance options. Because state laws may change regarding tenants’ rights. What is currently allowed now may be disallowed at some point in the future. To learn more about laws that pertain to landlords and tenants’ rights in your state, search for your state’s legislature on any recent changes to the laws in regards to landlords and tenants’ rights.
Landlord insurance specific to Washington state.
While we do offer landlord insurance nationwide, we do have a focus in Washington. It’s important for real estate investors and landlords to ensure they are not breaking Washington state laws, because their insurance may not cover violations of state law. In addition, you need to keep in mind that if you are found to be in violation of state laws your tenants will have grounds for litigation (which may also not be covered by your insurance) and the state may be able to legally fine you or your company (which may not be covered by your insurance) for violations of various tenants’ laws written into the state constitution. For Washington state laws involving tenants and landlords, click here. Simply type in Landlord and you will find many different references to state law.
Washington state laws that all local landlords need to know.
We will list some of the current state laws for Washington State. Some have been shortened. A complete listing can be found by clicking this link: RCW 59.18.060. Keep in mind that your insurance may not cover you if you violate any of the below guidelines and are sued by tenants or government authorities.
Landlord — Duties.
The landlord will at all times during the tenancy keep the premises fit for human habitation, and shall in particular:
(1) Maintain the premises to substantially comply with any applicable code, statute, ordinance, or regulation governing their maintenance or operation, which the legislative body enacting the applicable code, statute, ordinance or regulation could enforce as to the premises rented if such condition endangers or impairs the health or safety of the tenant;
(2) Maintain the structural components including, but not limited to, the roofs, floors, walls, chimneys, fireplaces, foundations, and all other structural components, in reasonably good repair so as to be usable;
(3) Keep any shared or common areas reasonably clean, sanitary, and safe from defects increasing the hazards of fire or accident;
(4) Provide a reasonable program for the control of infestation by insects, rodents, and other pests at the initiation of the tenancy and, except in the case of a single-family residence, control infestation during tenancy except where such infestation is caused by the tenant;
(5) Except where the condition is attributable to normal wear and tear, make repairs and arrangements necessary to put and keep the premises in as good condition as it by law or rental agreement should have been, at the commencement of the tenancy;
(6) Provide reasonably adequate locks and furnish keys to the tenant;
(7) Maintain and safeguard with reasonable care any master key or duplicate keys to the dwelling unit;
(8) Maintain all electrical, plumbing, heating, and other facilities and appliances supplied by him or her in reasonably good working order;
(9) Maintain the dwelling unit in reasonably weathertight condition;
(10) Except in the case of a single-family residence, provide and maintain appropriate receptacles in common areas for the removal of ashes, rubbish, and garbage, incidental to the occupancy and arrange for the reasonable and regular removal of such waste;
(11) Provide facilities adequate to supply heat and water and hot water as reasonably required by the tenant;
(12)(a) Provide a written notice to all tenants disclosing fire safety and protection information. The landlord or his or her authorized agent must provide a written notice to the tenant that the dwelling unit is equipped with a smoke detection device as required in RCW 43.44.110.
(13) Provide tenants with information provided or approved by the department of health about the health hazards associated with exposure to indoor mold. Information may be provided in written format individually to each tenant, or may be posted in a visible, public location at the dwelling unit property.
The above summation of state laws landlords must follow is only a brief glance of state requirements. It is a good idea to be aware of all state law requirements. Otherwise, you could be facing financial trouble if you intentionally or accidentally violate state law.
The most common law to impact landlords.
The state law that mandates landlords to “[m]aintain the premises to substantially comply with any applicable code, statute, [or] ordinance” is one where landlords can get themselves into significant financial difficulties” tends to be the most common issue.
An example of how state law and landlord insurance go hand-in-hand.
In the event of a covered claim, let’s say a fire occurs with significant structural loss to the building itself. The landlord will be required to bring the building up to modern code. If it’s a relatively new building it is likely already up to code. What if the building is 60 years old, however? The landlord will be required to make sure all repairs and reconstruction uses up-to-date building codes. That doesn’t seem like a big deal until you come to realize that a particular coverage called ordinance and law coverage is not included unless you add it as an endorsement to your policy. That means extra costs you incur as the real estate investor will be borne entirely by yourself unless you purchased the ordinance and law coverage option.
Are water claims covered under the basic policy form?
If a water pipe breaks or the plumbing overflows, causing water damage in one of your rental units, will the basic policy coverage form pay for the damage? Unfortunately, the basic policy coverage form will not pay the damages for this type of claim because water claims are not a named peril. For a claim to be covered, no matter if it’s written on a personal form or commercial form, the claim event must be named or listed as a covered peril in the policy to extend protection for that water claim mentioned above. While it is true that the Basic Policy Coverage Form is the most affordable landlord insurance option, it likewise only covers a handful of claim events, and a water claim is not a covered claim event.
The exception to water claims being covered.
Imagine for a moment that a pipe breaks, spilling hundreds or thousands of gallons of water in your rental unit until discovered. How much damage could that cause? It could be tens of thousands of dollars. While it might be tempting to only purchase the basic policy coverage form because of its lower price, you can also endanger your personal finances if a certain type of claim occurs that is not named as a covered peril. You will also want to keep in mind that there may be some differences in coverage between the commercial policy form versus a personal policy form. The basic commercial policy may include water damage due to sprinkler leaks, whereas the personal policy would not cover water damage from a leaking sprinkler in your building.
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