Whether you are a landlord of a small one to four family dwelling or a larger apartment complex, there is a very important insurance coverage you should probably consider and it doesn’t even cost that much; its called “Personal Injury Liability". Many insurance agents are not familiar with true landlord exposures and may not even offer this optional coverage to you. Personal Injury Liability on a landlord or business owner’s insurance policy covers “wrongful acts.” Wrongful acts sounds like a harsh term since most of the potential acts are usually committed in error (not intentionally) or not committed at all, but perceived to be by a tenant. These potential wrongful acts can be one or more of the following:
- Wrongful eviction
- False arrest
- Invasion of privacy, etc.
A personal injury liability endorsement on your home insurance policy (here in VA, MD, or DC) will add these coverage definitions to your existing landlord liability, which usually only covers basic scenarios such as trip and fall, or tenant property damage. Some insurance companies limit what is covered under wrongful acts, so be sure to check with your agent for coverage definitions by the insurance carrier you are written with when asking for this important coverage.
You should also try to reduce potential future claims of this sort by performing the following simple tasks:
- Do not deny a tenant a lease on the basis of race, color, religion, etc.
- Keep good records of all tenant leases and any interactions you have with them.
- Make notes of conversations and follow up with a confirmation letter on what was discussed and the date.
- Know your responsibilities as a landlord. Check the housing and urban development website portal for the State of NY
- Never enter a leased rental without ample prior notice, unless it is an emergency.
- Follow all eviction laws and guidelines.
When an eviction is necessary, document the reasoning, every step taken, and all relevant information for your legal protection. We can make this very easy via a simple call into your independent insurance service team here at TriState Insurance.