apartment building owner signing insurance form

Insurance for apartment building owners – Guide

Owning an apartment building comes with its own set of risks and responsibilities. What would you do if a natural disaster struck your property? How about if a tenant sues you for negligence?

Apartment building owner insurance is an essential aspect of property management as it protects against various risks and liabilities associated with property ownership.

Types of property insurance for apartment building owners

Let's begin by addressing the primary question: What kind of insurance is necessary for your apartment building? A standard homeowners insurance policy won't suffice, especially if your building has four or more units.

Given that your apartment building operates as a business and comes with increased liability, it's important to consider several types of coverage, including:

  • General Liability Insurance
  • Commercial Property Insurance
  • Business Income Insurance
  • Umbrella Insurance
  • Ordinance and Law Endorsement

Let’s break down each of them in detail so you can better decide which insurance for your apartment building is the best.

General Liability Insurance

For an owner of apartment buildings, liability insurance is paramount. Inadequate coverage could result in substantial lawsuits and medical bills. General liability insurance protects you when someone sues you for negligence after getting injured on your property. It can also cover if a tenant or prospective tenant sues you for discrimination.

Commercial Property Insurance

When it comes to insurance, most people immediately think of property coverage for the physical structure. Commercial insurance for apartment building owners protects the following perils:

Fire and smoke damage

  • Windstorms
  • Vandalism
  • Lightning
  • Vehicle and aircraft damage
  • Explosions and riots

This insurance also covers additional structures on your property, such as garages, storage buildings, swimming pools, fences, and signs.

Federal Emergency Management Agency reports say that 25% of businesses don’t reopen after facing a natural disaster. Therefore, depending on the location, you can add endorsements for high-risk perils like earthquake or mold coverage.

This additional insurance coverage is popular for properties near fault lines or bodies of water. Some endorsements, like flood coverage, might be necessary if you have a mortgage.

Business Income Insurance

You can also get business income insurance (BIC) or interruption coverage. Given that your income is linked to your apartment, any unexpected events affecting your tenants or building could result in financial loss.

Business income insurance for apartment building o-wners compensates for the time it takes to repair damages, such as those caused by smoke, fire, or burst pipes.

Umbrella Insurance

Umbrella apartment building insurance coverage is specifically for liability and non-property. Even the most diligent landlords might find themselves in court, making umbrella insurance a valuable addition.

It covers situations like tenants or squatters injuring themselves on your property and suing you. Also, it supports where you, as the landlord, are faced with tenant lawsuits and legal fees.

Hire a reliable insurance agent who can help you determine the appropriate amount of additional coverage. Umbrella policies can range from $1 million to $15 million, making them particularly useful for owners of larger complexes.

Ordinance and Law Endorsement

You can add the ordinance and law endorsement to your property insurance for an apartment building, which covers the additional costs of repairing your building following a covered loss. For older apartment buildings, this endorsement is a valuable investment.
The ordinance and law coverage consists of three components:

Coverage A: undamaged portion of the building.

In certain situations, building codes might mandate the replacement of more of your building than the portion that was damaged. For instance, if a windstorm damages 30% of your roof, you might find yourself needing to replace the entire roof. While general property insurance would only cover the 30% that was damaged, Coverage A will reimburse the whole cost of the roof replacement.

Coverage B: Demolition

Based on the previous example, the costs associated with demolishing the entire roof wouldn't be included in a standard policy. However, this specific coverage would compensate you for the complete demolition expenses of the roof.

Coverage C: Increased costs of construction

This policy would reimburse you for the expenses incurred while upgrading your property according to the local laws and building codes.

For example, if your property sustained damage due to an earthquake, you might need to reconstruct it to meet the latest earthquake building standards. Instead of bearing these costs yourself, this coverage would come into effect.

Business Owners Policy
For owners of smaller buildings, a Business Owners Policy (BOP) might be the most suitable option. A BOP combines three essential coverages into one policy:

  • Property damage and peril
  • General liability
  • Business interruption

This insurance is specifically designed for small to medium businesses. However, it might not be adequate for owners of large apartment complexes or multiple properties.

However, it's important to note that a BOP doesn’t cover the following:

  • Worker's compensation
  • Professional liability
  • Employment practices liability
  • Endorsements such as flood and earthquake insurance

Always consult an insurance agent to determine if you require additional coverage, even if you are a small landlord.

What factors affect the cost of insurance for apartment building owners?

Insuring an apartment building isn't a one-size-fits-all endeavor. The expenses associated with insurance coverage for an apartment building can fluctuate. An apartment building insurance company examines the following metrics while evaluating the cost of insurance:

Location of the Property: The geographical situation of the property also determines the insurance premium. Locations prone to natural disasters or high crime rates might incur higher insurance costs.

Age of the Property: The age of the apartment building is a significant determinant. Older structures might demand higher insurance premiums due to potential risks associated with aging infrastructure.

Number of Units: The number of units within the building directly impacts the overall insurance expense. More units typically translate to a higher premium.

Condition and age of roof and Mechanical Systems: The integrity and maintenance of the roof and mechanical systems greatly influence insurance costs. Well-maintained, newer systems may lead to more affordable premiums.

Type of building materials used in construction: The construction materials utilized in the apartment building are pivotal. Certain materials may be more susceptible to damage, affecting the insurance rates.

Security features and fire protection systems: Security measures and robust fire protection systems can lower insurance costs by reducing the risks associated with theft and fire incidents.

How to reduce the insurance cost of apartment buildings?

Reducing insurance costs as an apartment building owner requires taking proactive measures and adhering to best practices:

Maintain up-to-date property: Regular maintenance and prompt repairs of potential hazards such as faulty appliances and environmental risks reduce the cost of insurance.

Upgrade safety equipment: Installation of modern safety equipment, including functional smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and security cameras, reduces insurance costs by protecting against potential risks.

Adhere to landlord laws: Compliance with landlord-tenant laws and regulations minimizes legal disputes, financial losses, and insurance costs.

Follow building codes and regulations: Adherence to building codes, hiring licensed and bonded contractors, and obtaining the requisite permits reduces insurance costs.

By integrating these risk reduction strategies, apartment building owners can safeguard their properties and reduce insurance costs.

Secure your apartment building with Our e360 insurance services

We understand the importance of safeguarding your home. With E360 Insurance, you can rest easy knowing that unexpected events like fire, theft, or accidents are all covered. Request a Quote or Call +18888626750