Throughout the summer months, it is common for property managers to see an uptick in damage to rental properties. Even with the best property managers and screening of tenants, damage to rental properties can become a headache for landlords. The best tenants can cause accidental damage, but landlord insurance can work to protect against some of the risks.
Generally, property damage can be broken down into three separate categories. The first is malicious damage, which refers to deliberate or purposeful damage done to the property. It could be broken windows or doors, wilfully damaging walls or fixtures, or graffiti.
Accidental damage refers to damage that happens by mistake – things like wine spills on carpets, or chips in countertops due to dropped items. It’s worth noting that accidental damage is different from general wear and tear, which occurs over time, whereas accidental damage is without warning.
The third category is deliberate damage, which is neither malicious nor accidental, and where a tenant has considered the action before taking it. It may include changes to the fixtures in the home, or damaging walls by hanging paintings with nails.
Pet damage is another category that many insurers include in their policies, as Eagle Protect does (with limits). It’s important to double-check with your policy or broker because not all insurers cover pet damage, which can include things like damage to carpets or door frames.
Tenant-related damage is not always covered under your traditional home and contents insurance. It’s always a good idea to check what is included in your policy and what isn’t, while landlord insurance policies will assist in ensuring you’re appropriately protected for a range of damage events that are unlikely included in the policy for the property itself.
Working with experienced real estate agents and property managers who can work with you to screen tenants can go a long way to preventing damage to your property. At the same time, comprehensive landlord insurance policies can cover both accidental and malicious damage, as well as pet damage (with limits).