Becoming a landlord can be a profitable way to make use of an uninhabited property. Still, there are many responsibilities and expenses involved. As a landlord, you are responsible for the upkeep and safety of the building and surrounding landscape. Your property is also subject to unique situations that lead to significant financial losses. The right insurance policy can protect you against these potential losses, but it’s typically more expensive than homeowner’s insurance. These tips can help you save money on your landlord insurance.
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Choose Investment Properties Carefully
When you seek a rental property, the condition of the building will impact the insurance coverage you need. Finding affordable insurance on a building that is up-to-date is considerably easier than insuring a fixer-upper. Even the location of your rental property could lead to cheaper insurance. For instance, living near a body of water could lead to higher insurance due to the potential risks related to flooding and natural disasters. A home in a high-theft area could also lead to increased premiums. Conversely, a low crime area or a property located near emergency services or a fire hydrant could lead to lower insurance costs.
Look for these details in your rental property before purchase.
- A roof that is less than 20 years old
- Well maintained interior and exterior of the home
- HVAC updates within the last decade
- Electrical updated within the last 20 years
- Plumbing system that is up to code requirements
Work With an Independent Insurance Agent
An independent insurance agent has a relationship with a variety of companies to help you find the policy that fits your lifestyle at a price you can afford. Working with an independent insurance agency can provide you with the benefits of local knowledge and a wider variety of choices. Your independent agent will ask questions to learn important details about your property so you can find the coverage you need. This provides you with the opportunity to find the most affordable insurance coverage available.
Install Safety Features for Better Landlord Insurance
A safe home reduces certain risks and can lead to insurance discounts. Safety features can reduce risks of theft, fire, damage due to natural disasters, and even damages due to age. Consider installing these safety features in your rental homes.
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Home security system
- Deadbolt locks
- Sprinkler system
- Storm shutters
- Reinforced roofing
- Updated HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems
- Fire extinguishers
Learn About Tax Deductions
As a landlord, you earn income from your rental properties. Reporting this income to the IRS also makes many of your rental expenses tax-deductible. These deductible expenses may include mortgage interest, property tax, operating expenses, repairs, maintenance, and insurance. Talk to your insurance provider about your policy and follow up with your tax advisor on how to apply these deductions. Rental insurance is typically tax-deductible even if you’re not required to have it in your local area.
Perform Regular Maintenance for Better Landlord Insurance
Regular maintenance not only keeps your property in great shape and your tenants happy, but it also helps you avoid many of the damages that can occur. Small maintenance investments pay off by eliminating the need for large expensed in the future. Routinely performing these tasks can help you maintain the property to avoid unnecessary insurance claims and higher premiums.
- Monthly carbon monoxide and smoke detector check
- Routine plumbing inspection
- Monthly pest inspection
- Seasonal energy efficiency test to ensure insulation and door/window seals are intact
- Yard maintenance
- Quarterly air filter changes
Screen Tenants Carefully
Being a landlord puts you in a unique situation. You must be able to entrust your valuable property to complete strangers while you aren’t there. Sadly, some tenants will take advantage of your generosity by refusing to pay rent and even damaging your property. When you interview a potential tenant, it’s vital to conduct a thorough screening process. Begin with a professional rental application, then take the time to actually meet your tenants in person. Conduct a complete credit check and ask for references from previous landlords. Actually following up and contacting those references could be the most important step in the screening process.
Seek Insurance Discounts
Your insurance company might have a variety of discounts available for landlords. Still, you may not learn about these potential benefits unless you discuss all the details of your situation with your independent agent. To determine which discounts will apply to you, begin by taking notes about your property. Do your research to learn which features could lead to insurance discounts. The age of your home and safety features are important, but even the location and renovations could become part of the equation. Here are a few insurance discounts you might be able to get from your insurance provider.
- Bundling Discounts: If you purchase all of your insurance policies from the same provider, you can get bundling or multi-policy discounts. You likely need insurance for your home and your personal vehicle. You may even need policies for multiple rental properties. No matter what your personal and business insurance needs are, taking care of them all with the same company can lead to discounts.
- Safety Discounts: If your property has special safety features, it has a lower risk threshold. For instance, burglar alarms and security cameras make the home less susceptible to crimes like home invasion and theft. Sprinklers, fire and carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers lower risks of fire damage. Ask your agent about additional safety features that can lead to discounts.
- Loyalty Discounts: Your insurance company is happy to have your business. When you work with the same company year after year, the company may recognize your loyalty in the form of discounts.
Learn More About Landlord Insurance
Landlord insurance is an important part of providing a safe home for your tenants. While getting the right policy can be expensive, making careful choices will help you save money. If you’re seeking landlord insurance for your rental properties in Massachusetts, get in touch with LoPriore Insurance today. Our agents are standing by to answer you questions, provide a quick quote, or help you get the landlord insurance policy that fits your lifestyle.