General Liability Insurance For Home Rental Businesses
All businesses, regardless of industry, face risks that should be covered by insurance. The most common and comprehensive type of policy business owners invest in is general liability insurance.
Some of the risks general liability insurance covers are:
- Bodily injury
- Property damage
- Medical payments
- Legal defense and judgment
- Personal and advertising injury
While businesses aren't legally required to carry general liability insurance, operating without it is extremely risky. If your business is sued, you could end up facing fees totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more). Having a sufficient general liability insurance policy in place to help compensate for these damages is the only way to prevent this type of event from devastating your business.
Learn more about the risks covered by general liability insurance.
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COMMON SITUATIONS THAT GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE MAY COVER FOR A HOME RENTAL BUSINESS
Example 1: You make a mistake while fixing some issues in one of your rental properties and cause a small fire that damages your renter’s furniture. Since they do not have renter’s insurance, they are suing you to replace all damaged items. General liability insurance will pay for legal representation and third-party damages awarded by the court.
Example 2: Your handyman hasn’t had time to fix the protruding bricks on your rental’s walkway and a visitor trips and falls as a result. His injury requires surgery and several weeks out of work. If a lawsuit arises from these injuries, your general liability policy will cover you, up to the limits of the policy.
Example 3: You have purchased a new rental in a neighborhood with a homeowners’ association. The HOA requires evidence of liability insurance for all rental properties. General liability insurance should cover this requirement.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of perils a general liability insurance policy will cover, and some conditions may result in a particular peril not being covered. It's always best to talk to your agent in-depth about the specifics of your policy to avoid blind spots in coverage.
Learn more about the risks covered by general liability insurance.
Cost Of General Liability Insurance
On average, home rental businesses in America spend between $350 - $700 per year for $1 million in general liability coverage.
Check out the chart below for a snapshot of average general liability insurance expenditure across a variety of industries:
Several factors will determine the price of your policy. These include your:
- Number of employees
- Per-occurrence limit
- General aggregate limit
You may be able to acquire general liability insurance at a discounted rate by purchasing it as part of a business owner's policy (BOP) rather than as a standalone policy. A BOP is a more comprehensive solution that includes multiple forms of coverage, such as business interruption and property insurance.
Other Types Of Coverage Home Rental Businesses Need
While general liability is the most important type of insurance to have, there are several other forms of coverage you should be aware of. Below are some other types of insurance all home rental businesses should obtain:
Rental properties require special coverage that is not included in your standard homeowners' policy. Landlord insurance offers coverage similar to both commercial property insurance and homeowners. It pays to repair or rebuild the damaged building, offers limited coverage for the personal property kept onsite, and offers fair rental value coverage while the landlord cannot collect rent after a covered loss.
Landlord insurance can be written for all types of rentals, including single-family dwellings, quads, triplexes, and duplexes.
Types Of Coverage Some Home Rental Businesses May Need
In addition to the policies outlined above, there are a few other types of coverage your home rental business may require depending on certain aspects of your operations. Some of these might not apply to you, so be sure to ask your agent which policies are right for your business.
Workers Compensation Insurance
If you employ a team to keep up with your rental properties, your state may require you to purchase workers compensation insurance. The policy extends coverage to employees involved in an on-the-job accident, including payment for medical bills and lost wages.
Workers compensation insurance is typically purchased as a standalone policy.
Commercial Umbrella Liability Insurance
Given today’s litigious society, landlords with significant assets should consider purchasing a commercial umbrella policy. If a substantial loss occurs, your underlying general liability limits could be reached, leaving you responsible for the difference. An umbrella policy takes over where the GL leaves off, keeping your personal and professional assets protected.
Additional Steps To Protect Your Business
Although it’s easy (and essential) to invest in business insurance, it should not be your frontline defense. Yes, insurance will compensate for your business’ financial losses after an incident occurs, but it’s much better to avoid losses altogether.
With this in mind, here are several things you can do to better protect your business:
- Use legally robust contracts and other business documents. (We offer free templates for some of the most common legal forms.)
- Set up a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation to protect your personal assets. (Visit our step-by-step guides to learn how to form an LLC or corporation in your state.)
- Stay up to date with business licensing.
- Streamline your business’ internal processes. This will remove unnecessary variables from common tasks and create a safe, consistent environment for conducting business.
- If your business is an LLC, look into LLC Insurance.
Steps After Getting Business Insurance
Depending on where you are in your business building process, here are some other actions you may need to take before getting started:
- If you’re just starting, finding the best name for your business is a great first step. Check out TRUiC’s Business Name Generator.
- After finding the perfect name, get a logo with our Logo Generator.
- Every business needs a website. Using a website builder like the GoDaddy Website Builder or Wix makes building a website simple and fast! Check out our review of the Best Website Builder.
Business Insurance is the Best Way to Protect Your Business
If you're starting a new business, then you need business insurance. It's as simple as that. The protection offered by an LLC will protect your personal assets, but your business's assets are still open to liability in the case of a lawsuit or other loss.
Be sure that everything you've built is safe by getting business insurance.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is included in a business owner’s policy?
A typical business owner’s policy includes general liability, business interruption, and commercial property insurance. However, BOPs are often customizable, so your agent may recommend adding professional liability, commercial auto, or other types of coverage to your package depending on your company’s needs.
What is the difference between business insurance and general liability insurance?
"Business insurance" is a generic term used to describe many different types of coverage a business may need. General liability insurance, on the other hand, is a specific type of coverage that business owners need to protect their assets.
Do I need insurance before I start a business?
You should invest in insurance coverage for your business before your first interaction with a customer. Although the cost of insurance may seem high for a brand new business, it’s best to be proactive when it comes to protecting your assets. After all, you can’t buy insurance to cover a loss that has already occurred.
Will insurance protect my business from everything?
Not necessarily. Certain exceptions may be written directly into your policy, and some perils may be entirely uninsurable. Be sure to discuss the scope of your policy in-depth with your agent to avoid being blindsided by holes in your coverage.