Rental Property Insurance

When you own rental property with it comes a certain amount of risk. There are ways to lessen the amount of risk your or your business faces by properly preparing your business and purchasing adequate insurance coverage.  Here are 3 types of insurance you or your business need to secure when you own rental property.

If you own Rental Property, you need to determine what kinds of insurance your business actually needs?


If you or your business own rental property, there are certain insurance coverages you need to secure. Find out the best info at My Insurance

Three Policies every rental property owner should have. 

General Liability Coverage

General Liability Insurance in most cases is the first type of insurance a business or investor purchases. General Liability and Workers’ Compensation Coverage are required by law in 48 out of 50 states. For this reason, most business owners start with these two coverages and later determine if they need additional insurance.  GL Insurance covers a property owner for any liability they might face to thirds parties.  Some liabilities you may face include when a tenant or visitor are injured due to the landlord’s negligence, when a property maintenance issue results in a tenants’ injury or personal property loss or when a tenant is injured as a result of the landlord’s failure to keep the premises safe and in good working order.  Now these are just a couple of the types of liability a property owner may face.  Other risks you or your business face include losses due to fire, storm, tenant or employee theft and even discrimination lawsuits filed by tenants or employees. A lawsuit does not have to be legitimate to cause you or your business to incur enormous legal costs. Having the proper insurance in place can limit the damages to you or your business if you do face a lawsuit.

Commercial Property Insurance

Commercial Property Insurance is frequently the second coverage a property owner will secure.  When looking to acquire a commercial insurance policy it is important to secure an accurate valuation of the property. A Commercial Property Insurance Policy are just a little bit different than a personal home owners policy in that they are sold on either a replacement cost or on an agreed upon value. For most businesses the replacement cost policy is almost always the best type of policy to secure. This type of policy will pay to not only rebuild the property but also to demolish and haul away any and all debris. This additional cost can be substantial.

Business Loss of Income

Business Loss of Income Coverage is the third and final type of insurance all rental property owners should purchase. A business loss of income insurance policy will cover you or your business for the income lost during the period when a rental property is uninhabitable.  For example, if your building is damaged by a hurricane; this coverage kicks in to cover missed rent payments you or your business would have collected while the property is being repaired. Frequently this coverage is paid based upon documented actual revenue, which is good for property owners because you have a lease stating how much revenue the property generates.  Depending upon the policy you can collect payments for lost rent for up to 12 months after a loss.


Difference between “actual cash value” and “replacement cost”

There are many ways your insurance company can go about calculating the amount you will get paid in the unfortunate circumstance that you have an insurance claim.  The two most common ways are referred to as ‘actual cash value’ and ‘replacement cost’.   The price you pay in premium is dramatically different between the two coverages and so is the amount the insurer will pay out when a claim does occur.

Actual Cash Value

Actual cash value refers to an insurance policy that covers your property and some possessions for and agreed upon fair market price at the time they are lost or stolen.  Since the items are damaged in the claim are used, “market value” means that depreciation will be factored in when your insurance company pays you for your claim.

Replacement Cost

Replacement cost refers to the amount it costs to replace what is destroyed.  This policy will pay out a substantially larger amount than an actual cash value policy. This is because a replacement cost policy will pay to tear down a piece of property, haul off the damaged material and repair or rebuild the property to its original state.  If the construction costs are higher now the policy will pay for the difference.

When a catastrophe happens, many business owners are happy they secured a replacement cost policy.  For some business owners, the difference between the two policies can be the difference between keeping the business open and being for to close the doors for good.  I strongly recommend you consider purchasing a replacement cost policy.  At the very least you should have an honest conversation with your insurance professional about what risks your business faces and how much risk you are comfortable taking on.

Now a replacement cost policy does come at a substantial cost.  The premium is substantially more for a replacement cost policy compared to an actual cash value policy.  For new businesses just getting on their feet, an actual cash value policy is the only option because of their financial situation.  This can also be the case for seasonal or cash strapped businesses.  If this is the case, do not just settle for a lesser policy.  Talk with your insurance professional about the difficulties you are facing to properly in sure your business.  Many times they can find find a different policy or a different payment method to benefit you unique needs.


HVAC Contractors

Heating and Air Conditioning Contractors ( HVAC Contractors ) are those business that provide services for and repair heating and air conditioning units.  They provide these services for both commercial and residential clients.  They have to be knowledgeable about both duct and vent work, the different types of fuel sources for heating equipment, which can be natural or LP gas, electric, steam, solid fuel, coal, or fuel oil.  Many contractors also install, service, and repair air conditioners. While air conditioning units are normally electric-powered, they are charged with different coolants, some of which may be hazardous.

All of these different types of work bring their own unique risks to the contractor. For this reason, it is very important for you to have an extended conversation with your insurance agent about all of the types of work you do and do not participate in.  It is equally important to inform your agent if there are certain types of work you do not partake in. There are more than one classification code for this industry and the types of risks you take on can dramatically impact what you pay in premium for a number of commercial insurance policies.  Below are 6 policies most HVAC Contractors need to secure in order to protect their business properly.

•   General Liability

•   Property Insurance

•   Hired and Non-Owned Auto (full commercial auto if vehicles owned)

•   Inland Marine

•   Business Income with Extra Expense

•   Workers’ Compensation

General Liability Insurance

General Liability Exposures at the contractor’s office or shop are generally limited due to lack of public access to the premises. Retail sales increase the possibility of customers slipping, falling, or tripping if customers visit office to view products.

Property Insurance

Property exposures at the heating contractor’s own location are generally limited to those of an office, shop, and storage of materials, equipment, and vehicles. Operations may also include retail sales. The fire exposure is generally light unless repair operations involving welding take place on premises. Welding involves the use of tanks of gases that must be stored and handled properly to avoid loss. The absence of basic controls such as chained storage in a cool area and the separation of welding from other operations may reflect a greater risk.

Commercial Auto

Automobile exposures are generally limited to transporting workers, equipment and supplies to and from job sites for HVAC Contractors. Hazards depend on the type and use of vehicles and radius of operation with the main hazards being upsets. Vehicles may have special modifications or built-in equipment such as lifts and hoists. Large heating systems may be awkward and require special handling and tie-down procedures. Age, training, experience, and drivers’ records, as well as the age, condition and maintenance of the vehicles are all important items to consider. If employees utilize their own personal vehicles for work related tasks then Hired and Non-Owned Coverage should be purchased.

Inland Marine Coverage

Inland marine exposures include contractors’ tools and equipment, including ladders and scaffolding, hoists, and portable welders, the transport of materials, and installation floater. Goods in transit consists of tools and equipment as well as products purchased by the customer for installation at the job site. HVAC units can be of high value and susceptible to damage in transit; they frequently require expertise in loading to prevent load shift or overturn.

Workers’ compensation

Workers compensation exposures vary based on the size and nature of the job. Both residential and commercial work involves lifting, work with hand tools, wiring, and piping. Cuts from the fabrication and installation of sheet metal for ducts and vents are common. Lifting injuries such as hernias, strains and sprains plus back injuries may occur. Electrical burns are common; electrocution can occur from the use of high-voltage lines. Any time work is done above ground, injury or death from falls and being struck by falling objects can occur. Slips and falls, foreign object in eyes, major and minor burns, and inhalation of fumes are all potential hazards.

Ordinance or Law

Ordinance or Law is a frequently misunderstood part of a Commercial Property Insurance Policy. It stems from the fact that when a property is damaged, usually by a fire, the commercial insurance policy will pay to return the building to the state it was before the building was damaged. The policy does not pay to rebuild the building up to new standards. Ordinance or Law comes in to place because, if there are new laws or local codes in place that the building was not up to par with, the policy will not pay to cover those additional costs. Also, Commercial Property Insurance will not pay for demolition and removal costs. If those costs are more than the value of the building, the business is liable for those additional costs.

Find the answers to your most difficult Ordinance or Law questions at

According to the Insurance and Risk Management Institute, Ordinance or Law is “coverage for loss caused by enforcement of ordinances or laws regulating construction and repair of damaged buildings”.  Many times this issue does not get discussed in-depth when businesses purchase a policy. This is simply because your agent cannot explain every exclusion or technicality that could come up in every policy a business purchases. It is crucial for you as a business owner to carefully read over your policy and be prepared to ask questions of your independent insurance agent. That is after all why you choose them and not another agency. Many times I find that conversation is why a small business chooses to pay more in premium with one agency simply because an agent takes the time to explain a policy to the business owners’ satisfaction.  This is something to consider when you are a business owner purchasing insurance. Like most things in life, if something is the cheapest there usually is a reason for it being so cheap. It is not cheaper because it is a more comprehensive coverage. It is not cheaper because it is the best way to protect your business.  Determining how important protecting your business is to you as a business owner is something your insurance agent should be able to help you with. The amount of risk you are willing to take is unique and the agent can help you find the right type and amount of coverage for your needs.

Ordinance or Law comes in to play frequently when older buildings are grandfathered in. When they are grandfathered in, they frequently do not have to keep up with the new ordinances or local codes. When damage occurs usually the grandfathered in privilege goes with it.  In most cases if more than 50% of the building is damaged it must be demolished.  When the property must be demolished and rebuilt the grandfathered privilege goes with it as well.  At that point, the building needs to be rebuilt or remodeled up to current regulations. The commercial property policy pays to bring the building back to the state that it was before the damage occurred. It does not pay for the additional costs that are now required of the premises. Usually these upgrades involve upgraded electrical; heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC). Plumbing is a frequent problem as well.

Standard commercial property insurance policies do not cover the loss of the undamaged portion of the building. If your building is damaged 40% than the policy pays 40% of what the property value is. If you receive 40% of the property value, but it is now more expensive to build the property because of new regulations than this is not covered by the policy. On top of this, when a building is damaged more than 50% the cost to tear down the building and remove the rummage is not covered by a commercial insurance policy. Coverage for these types of losses is available by an endorsement.

Normal Commercial Property Policies include a provision granting a limited amount of building ordinance coverage. Most often this is 10%.  This amount can be increased by endorsement. These issues are the perfect reason for business owners to not rush through the purchasing process when quoting commercial insurance. When agents are asking questions and explaining extra coverages to you, trust me, they are not doing it simply to sell you additional coverage. They are attempting to have this conversation because they also frequently encounter business owners who have not purchased this coverage and have experienced a claim that is not covered by their policy. One of the best things any business owner can do is find an insurance agent the know and trust, than speak with them long and honestly about the risks their business faces. Than also speak candidly with them about how much risk you want to protect your business from.


What is Inland Marine Insurance?

Also referred to as “Equipment Coverage”, Inland Marine Coverage is coverage specifically for property that is likely to be moved or in transit. It is a highly specialized type of property that requires a unique valuation. This can include products that you are having shipped across the country, but it can also apply to a tractor. This type of coverage is essential for many business owners and the best way to determine if you need it is to have a strong trusting relationship with your insurance agent and tell them everything about your daily operations.

Inland Marine CoverageNow many business owners have an initial reaction to being offered inland marine coverage. That reaction frequently is that this coverage does not apply to my business. In many cases a business owner feels their insurance agent is just trying to tack on an extra coverage. A coverage that they do not really need and in some cases, they might be correct. Again, if you have an insurance agent that you trust they should be able to explain this coverage and help you determine if it is right for you. Any agent worth their weight will not be mentioning a coverage that has no benefit to you the business owner. You might have a difference of opinion about what the risk is, but an agent should never recommend something you do not need.

The best way for an insurance agent to stay in business is to keep you the customer happy. Keeping you happy occurs by saving you money on your policy up front, but also in making sure you are fully covered when incidents do occur. This is where you may differ in opinion about the risks your business faces and about the amount of risk you as a business owner are willing to take. It is the job of the insurance agent to make you aware of these risks and offer the products for you to protect your business to the fullest.

Now I speak about this relationship with your agent, because Inland Marine Coverage is a specialized product in the insurance industry. It is very important for some business owners to have, but many business owners do not carry it and many do not understand how going without it puts their business at risks. First take the example of a construction business who has just a general liability and workers compensation policy. This is typically the bare minimum to get your business up and running. If your construction business is operating away from your business residence than all of your tools are not covered under your either of the policies you have in place. If you were to severely damage a tractor or some other type of expensive equipment than you are responsible for any repairs that might occur. Say you have an expensive piece of machinery that you cannot operate without. If you do not have cash on hand to repair or replace that piece of equipment what is your business going to do? If you have an Inland Marine Policy in place than you can replace that piece of equipment through your insurance policy.

Again having a good relationship with your agent and speaking honestly with them about your daily operations can go a long way towards determining whether you need Inland Marine Coverage. Having open and honest discussions with your agent allow you to determine what risks you have and how much risk you are willing to take as a business owner. The amount of risk a business owner is willing to take is different for every business. Your agent works with all types of business owners on a daily basis. If you are the type of owner who is willing to take on more risk, you should make that known to your agent. At the same time you should partner with an agent you trust and listen to them when they recommend some type of coverage. If they are the type of agent you should be doing business with than they will not be recommending something that is not in your best interest.

Do I really need Inland Marine Insurance?

Inland marine insurance is a specialized form or property insurance. It is often referred to as equipment coverage or Floaters by many business owners and insurance agents. The primary distinction between inland marine and other property insurance is the fact that inland marine is specifically for property that is likely to be moved or in transit, or it is a highly specialized type of property that required a unique valuation.

inland marine insurance

Originally, inland marine insurance policies were referred to as Floaters because they were primarily policies written to cover cargo in transit on large marine vessels. Inland marine coverage has expanded in the U.S. to include most types of property that has an element of transportation. Today, inland marine insurance covers a wide range of property and equipment.  When the property being insured does not fit within a traditional property insurance policy and is not always stationary in a reasonably fixed location it will automatically be eligible for an inland marine quote. While inland marine insurance is slightly more expensive than other property coverage, it also provides additional protection from theft or damage to the property while it is away from the primary business location.

The most common types of inland marine coverage includes construction equipment, transportation cargo, mobile medical equipment, cameras and movie equipment, musical instruments, fine arts and solar panels. Traditional property insurance is not designed to cover claims associated with these types of property. It is not uncommon for a business to purchase both property coverage and inland marine coverage together as part of a Business Owners Package (BOP).

Even though most homeowners policies provide some coverage for personal property such as fine arts, jewelry, guns, antiques, and musical instruments, these policies typically have lower insurance limits and provide less coverage in terms of causes of loss. In some instances, individuals or home based businesses find some of their property can’t be covered properly by their homeowners insurance. This is another situation where an inland marine policy could provide additional coverage.

Personal inland marine coverage is also offered in rare circumstances. It is very similar to a commercial inland marine policy, but the main difference is the named insured (i.e. the person or business buying the policy). Personal inland marine polices are commonly written for individuals who want broader insurance coverage for select property, or want higher limits of coverage than a homeowners policy will provide.

Commercial inland marine insurance represents approximately 2% of all insurance premium written in the United States. This is not a large amount, but when your business needs it it is a great thing to have. Claims on this type of coverage are much more common than many business owners assume. Most business owners and insurance managers could benefit from having a long discussion about what business equipment commonly leaves the primary insured location. In most cases it is only insured if it is located at primary insured location. Once it leaves the premises it must be insured under an inland marine policy. In many cases business owners have turned in property claims on equipment they store or use offsite, only to find their business property coverage does not cover the claim.  This is frequently when business owners understand the value of their inland marine coverage. Unfortunately many times it is too late.