Real estate investors that do well are smart folks, but it can be hard for smart people to admit they aren’t experts at everything. Many of us have successful careers outside of investing. Maybe you’re a CPA, or a neurosurgeon, or an attorney like myself. But smart people like ourselves need to be mindful that we are also wise. Wisdom is knowing that there are things you don’t know.
And what do the wise among us do when we don’t know something? We ask questions! Insurance is vital, and typically legally required, for your investment properties. While insurance alone is not advisable for asset protection purposes, we highly recommend insuring your properties To help you be better prepared and informed about your options, here are some questions you should ask your insurance agent regarding your rental properties.
Question 1: What Types of Policies Are Available to Me?
Typically, you’ll find policies along a spectrum of Basic, Broad, and Special. The first is exactly what it sounds like: the bare minimum. Special is the opposite end of the extreme, and the most comprehensive you’ll find. A good starting point is to write down what you know you will need from your coverage, and work from there.
Question 2: Can You Please Explain My Policy and What it Covers?
This is fairly straightforward. You may also take this opportunity to ask what other types of insurance the home already has (fire, etc.) to get the best idea of your needs.
There’s a second part to this question: you will also want to ask what your policy does NOT cover. Some policies cover slip-and-fall accidents, and some don’t. Many investors need this coverage, especially those who flip or rehab homes. Think about it: with all the contractors, laborers, and both prospective and future tenants coming through the property, you can’t risk not having your backside covered. Asking what isn’t covered will help you make the most informed decision possible.
One major concern you should your policy is whether it covers loss of rent. Landlords can face this in situations as extreme as natural disasters (just ask the landlords who had to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy) or as mundane as a few teenagers armed with spray paint defacing your property. Assess your risk for this alongside your agent, but investors who can afford it should take advantage of rental loss coverage.
Question 3: What Information Do You Need From Me For an Accurate Quote?
This may seem obvious, but the details of your situation will help the agent get you the most appropriate and accurate quote for your needs. Here are some typical things you will have to provide:
- Identifying information.
- Credit History/Report.
- Special Circumstances. These include details about you and your property. If you aren’t certain of the home’s condition, or what remodeling you may need to do, your agent can help. Agents can even assist you in unearthing records of previous repairs to the home–a move that will save you time and money if you plan to force appreciation on your rental property.
Question Four: What is My Property’s True Replacement Cost?
TRC is different from the value of your home, but critical for insurance purposes. It’s usually measured in square footage, and a good agent will work with you to determine your need. Feel free to shop around with various agents to ensure you’re getting the best, honest deal.
Final Notes: The More You Know, The Better Off You’ll Be
You want an agent who is both transparent and able to answer all of these questions. You can start by researching reputable agents online. If an agent won’t answer these questions, that’s a giant red flag. Move on.
Still stuck? We can help you find an agent and learn what else you can do to protect your investment. Contact Royal Legal Solutions.and get help today. That’s certainly the wise move!