What is Landlord Contents Insurance?

Mary McMahon

Landlord contents insurance is an insurance product for property owners who want coverage for fixtures, appliances, furnishings, and other contents in a rental. The insurance covers the property owned by the landlord only and tenants who want coverage for their property will need to purchase a separate insurance policy. There are a number of ways people can obtain contents insurance, and landlords can talk to their insurance agents if they think it will be useful.

Landlord contents insurance may offer coverage for fixtures, appliances, furnishings and other contents of a rental property.
Landlord contents insurance may offer coverage for fixtures, appliances, furnishings and other contents of a rental property.

Landlords are generally required to maintain property insurance for fires, floods, and other hazards. This only covers the structure itself, not anything inside. Some policies can be written to include contents insurance or landlord contents insurance can be obtained as a rider. It is also possible to buy a separate policy. The named perils on the policy should be evaluated carefully to see if they meet the needs; some may exclude negligence or accidents on the part of the tenant, for example, while others will replace contents no matter what.

Cigarette smoke can damage furniture.
Cigarette smoke can damage furniture.

Things covered by landlord contents insurance can include appliances like stoves and water heaters, curtains, furniture in furnished homes, and rugs. Normally these are not covered by insurance. Some landlords choose to rely on the security deposit to replace these items if necessary, but sometimes tenants are not responsible for serious damage and landlords will need to pay out of pocket. In addition, costs can rack up quickly and may completely eat through the security deposit without replacing all damaged items. Landlord contents insurance will reduce out-of-pocket expenses significantly.

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People with furnished units are most likely to benefit from having landlord contents insurance. Furnishings can be costly to replace if they are damaged, soiled with cigarette smoke, or stolen. Having insurance allows landlords to replace furnishings as needed between tenants, and will also cover replacing furniture after fires, floods, and other major incidents.

Landlords may want to advise their tenants to purchase contents insurance of their own if they are concerned about damages, theft, or destruction of their personal property. There may be circumstances where a landlord is liable and could be sued for replacement costs, as if a landlord maintains a known safety hazard and the contents of a home are damaged because of it. More commonly, however, destruction of contents in a catastrophe is not the responsibility of the landlord and compensation is not available through the landlord's insurance. People with valuable possessions like computers or home music studios can purchase insurance policies for replacement in the event of an incident.

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