Category Archives: Three-Decker Apartment Building Insurance

How To Lower Your Insurance Risks

Are You a Landlord?

How To Lower Your Insurance Risks

Owning an apartment building can be an exciting venture and wise investment. But it does come with its share of responsibilities.

Make Sure You’re Covered

As a landlord, you can be vulnerable to liability claims by tenants and / or contractors doing work on your property. And it isn’t just things like property damage or bodily injury, either. Of course, you want to make sure your property is as safe as possible to reduce the likelihood that someone could slip and fall. In past blogs, we’ve talked about making sure you have coverage for theft, vandalism, storms, fire, acts of nature, flooding—all necessary coverages.

But there are other liability issues you may not have thought of.

For instance, Advertising Liability encompasses things like libel and slander. In this age of social media, be especially careful about what you post. If you make a reference to a competitor in a negative way or repost an unflattering image of someone without their permission, you could be at risk. You also need to be careful of any advertising that misrepresents your property.

What Things Can You Be Held Liable For?

Here are just a few of the things that you, as a landlord, could be held liable for:

  • If your negligence caused an injury.
  • If asbestos is discovered, and you didn’t take steps to contain it, and a tenant becomes sick.
  • If old plumbing isn’t replaced, and a leak damages a tenant’s property.
  • If there is a break-in because of little or no security—broken locks, poor lighting, etc.

How Landlords Can Save on Liability Costs

There are several things that you, as a landlord, can do to ensure that you lower your risk of liability claims. First, make sure that all electrical and gas appliances and lines are in good working condition. Fix any plumbing leaks and do a thorough inspection of pipes. This is not only to prevent flooding, but also mold, which can result from trapped moisture. Do a thorough maintenance check before a tenant moves in and include all of these things, as well as anything that could be a potential fire hazard.

For security purposes, provide a good amount of outdoor lighting at night. Install peep holes in every door. Have all sidewalks and parking lot area cleared of snow and ice after a storm.

As a protection for yourself, keep all communications with tenants in writing. If something is ever disputed and you have to go to court, you’ll have it all on paper. Also, never enter a tenant’s apartment unless it’s an emergency, such as a fire. And don’t discriminate against a potential tenant based on things like race or religion, etc.

Last But Not Least. . .

Check what discounts may be available for making enhancements to your property. Don’t make the mistake of reducing your coverage to save a few bucks. In the long run, it’s better to have a higher deductible, so you’ll get a lower premium.

Zawada Insurance Agency is your go-to place for home, auto and other types of insurance. Please contact Zawada Insurance Agency for details.

Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. is a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.

Building Owners Beware

What to Know about Multi-Family, Duplex and Three-Decker Apartment Building Insurance

If you own a residential building—multi-family, duplex and three-decker apartments—there are usually three consideration you have:

  • Do I have the right type of insurance?
  • Do I have enough coverage?
  • Am I using the right insurance company?

The right type of insurance is crucial. And many factors will affect it. Insurance that includes liability protection, for instance, is more necessary if you have many tenants. More tenants increases the risk that someone may sue you if they fall or get hurt on your property. You’ll also want extra liability if you have potentially dangerous structures on your property, including swimming pools, fitness centers or playgrounds.

All-Risk Insurance is Better Than “Named Peril” Insurance

Why? Because all-risk protects all losses unless it is a named exclusion in your policy. Consider this: if there’s a fire or flood that damages your building, what if your tenants have to temporarily move out while repairs are being made? Who pays for the cost of that? It’s better to be safe and covered. Exclusions, however, may be losses caused by wear and tear, so be sure you keep up the maintenance on your building.

On the flip side, named peril insurance only covers losses that are specifically named in your policy. Insurance companies may take advantage of this and tell you that something doesn’t exactly fit what is named in your policy. Why give them a loophole like that?

What is “Enough Coverage?”

Of course, every situation is different. But it’s important to know that you can get expanded all-risk insurance for personal items. If you live in an owner-owned duplex, you’ll want to make sure your personal belongings will be safe. Also, if your property is located in a flood zone, you can get a separate flood policy.  There are specialty risk policies you can add to your coverage. These may include unexpected disasters.

Don’t make the mistake of focusing only on getting the lowest premium to save money. For apartment owners, this is a mistake. You want to make sure there are no gaps that could be costly later. That’s why it’s always a good idea to consult with professionals.

At the same time, it’s important to check the deductibles to make sure you can afford it. Always go with replacement costs rather than the cost to buy the damaged items. (It’s important to check if there are any restrictions on this.)

As an apartment owner, remember that your property will take longer to sell and will be slow to appreciate in value, because of physical wear and tear caused by your tenants.

Which Insurance Company is Best?

This is a question that’s best answered by the professionals at Zawada Insurance Company. We’ll meet with you to discuss your specific needs, and help guide you through the process of what policies make the most sense for you. We’ll make sure you understand all of the coverages that are available to you, and we’ll find the best company to meet your needs.

For home, auto, commercial and other insurance, please contact Zawada Insurance Agency for details.

Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. is a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.