liability insuranceNavigating your way through the complexities of property insurance can be dizzying, and even the most seasoned property managers can fail to grasp all of the factors involved in choosing the right plan for their properties. Every state has unique insurance requirements for owners and renters and it’s important to understand these differences, but don’t overlook the more obvious questions: Who is going to pay for insurance? How can you protect your owner’s investments, your renter’s well-being, and your bottom line? Here’s how you can turn an insurance debate into a win-win-win resolution.

Protect Your Owners

According to a recent survey from, it’s reported that six in ten home or apartment renters don’t have insurance, placing no liability on the renter’s treatment of the home. In the instance of an accident in an uncovered residence, all cost for damage is incurred on you and your owners. That could mean thousands of dollars in costs for something as little as an overflowing bathtub.

The first and most important step to protecting everyone involved is to require insurance in all of your lease agreements to new renters. Insurance can take multiple forms in varying costs, so it’s essential to know exactly what your options are when presenting them upon lease signing.

Protect Your Renters

When insurance is required as a condition in the lease, the task of purchasing that insurance falls to the renter. With little incentive to do so immediately, the risk of an uninsured unit weighs directly on you. Why do renters wait so long? For many, this additional cost can be difficult to incur, especially on their own. This puts property managers in a difficult spot; on one hand they have a duty to protect the integrity of their owner’s property. On the other hand, affordability can be a major concern, and some may have concerns that this could result in losing a solid prospective renter.

Renters insurance can protect the property as well as the renters personal belongings. These plans can be purchased through a regular insurance provider (check with your car insurance provider), and the cost can vary greatly depending on the insurance company and the contents of the home. If cost is a major roadblock preventing your renters from purchasing a plan, there are also plans that can be provisioned through property managers that protect only the renter’s liability to the landlord for damage to the building only. These types of agreements can be added to the lease as an automatic charge upon signing, and can be as little as ten dollars a month.

“According to a recent survey from, it’s reported that six in ten home or apartment renters don’t have insurance.”

Protect Your Business

Ultimately, the relationship between you, your owners, and your renters will be much less strenuous when all parties benefit from a mutual sense of protection. With current renter’s or tenant liability insurance plans, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are protected from costly damages and potential lawsuits.

You can also build a better relationship with your renters by lowering the cost of their monthly insurance bills! As a property manager, you can make renters insurance cheaper by adding the following safety features to your units:

  • Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
  • Security Systems
  • Deadbolt Locks for Entry Doors
  • Exterior Motion-Activated Lighting
  • Property Security (gated parking, 24-hour concierge, patrolmen)

As always, we recommend that you meet with your legal counsel before making any changes to your lease.

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 11.11.10 AM

If you feel like it’s time for a change in your insurance policies, you can also check out our free guide “Insurance Tips for Property Managers,” which will walk you through the differences and various advantages of Renter’s insurance and Tenant Liability Insurance.