8 Common Tenant Complaints and How to Resolve Them

Obie
Nov 17, 2021

At Obie, we want to help everyone achieve the dream of owning and renting property — whether that’s a young family renting out their first home, or a seasoned investor with a portfolio of properties.

That dream shouldn’t be complicated and stressful. And as a company streamlining the way landlord insurance is bought, we value partners who provide similar transparency. This is why we have partnered with Belong to help provide new landlords with rental property insurance. 

This partnership will connect those looking to move and rent their homes with a simplified way to get a landlord insurance quote. Instead of spending hours (or days!) shopping around for property management companies and insurance, this partnership provides the convenience and ease of getting both in one place. 

Who is Belong?

Belong is a full service end-to-end home management company backed by A-list investors such as Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), GGV Capital, and Battery Ventures to name a few. Their mission is to create authentic belonging experiences for those who own much-loved homes, and those longing for that feeling.

For the homeowner, Belong will handle everything for you. For starters, they are going to treat your home exceptionally well. Their in-house, full-time team of Pros will take care of all maintenance and reconditioning on your home, showing up on time, and doing work correctly the first time around.

They'll find really great Residents that will love your home almost as much as you do. And because Belong is building for the future, everything is handled right through their platform, from rent and maintenance requests to communications with your dedicated Concierge. 


What is property management?

Property management is all the maintenance and administrative work involved with renting out a property. From collecting rent to handling repairs, property management companies help landlords with a variety of services. Property management companies are ideal for landlords who live far away from their properties or those who would prefer to relax and collect passive income without being too involved.


Many property management companies offer basic services such as:

        • Tenant screening

        • Rent collection

        • Mortgage and utility payments

        • Repair and maintenance service

        • Navigating landlord-tenant relationships


Why Obie has partnered with Belong 

In addition to the property management services listed above, Belong offers even more services to take the hassle out of renting. These services include moving, cleaning, storage, and even furnishing your home to make it Instagrammable. Belong partnerships offer tons of discounts. Because Belong is truly a full service end-to-end home management company, it only makes sense that new landlords be able to find insurance for their properties while using Belong’s services.


Here is where Obie comes in. We want to eliminate as many hurdles as possible to getting affordable, straightforward rental property insurance. And by partnering with Belong, homeowners new to the landlord world can eliminate one more touchpoint in the rental process. 

“We were able to save my homeowner almost $4,000 by having him go through our partnership with Obie for his landlord's insurance. The first of many (hopefully) residents and homeowners we will be able to help get insured and save them money moving forward!" - Will Leavitt, Member Success Manager

Obie also works with Belong Home customers to help them understand the differences between Homeowners Insurance (HO3)  and Landlord Insurance (DP3) because the coverage and risks each policy protects against are different. Landlord insurance is designed to protect non-owner occupied properties - so DP3 policies usually cover the residence and other structures on the property. If you’re interested in learning more about the differences check out the video between Belong and Obie’s co-founder Aaron Letzeiser here. 

About Obie

Obie is reinventing the insurance process for landlords and rental property investors. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just starting out, Obie makes requesting a quote and getting coverage simple, affordable, and transparent. Obie simplifies the insurance experience by providing instant quotes. No back-and-forth with brokers or surprise costs at signing — the way insurance buying should be.

Get your Obie quote today.


At Obie, we want to reduce barriers to becoming a landlord, which is why we’ve created a streamlined insurance product that provides a coverage quote within minutes. And to further our mission, we are partnering with Doorvest — a full service real estate investing platform that helps everyday people buy and own rental homes completely online. 

Who is Doorvest?

Doorvest is an entirely-online platform for owning income-producing private real estate. They empower individuals to unlock homeownership, passive income, and equity by simplifying the process of buying and managing an affordable, high-yield rental home. It is the only platform that provides complete transparency via a comprehensive breakdown of monthly cash flow, property activity, legal documents, and reports through an investor dashboard. 

How does Doorvest work?

Doorvest enables customers to own a rental home and generate passive income without ever having to visit the home. Doorvest works with the individual to identify and understand their investing criteria, goes out and sources the home, renovates it, resells it outright to the customer making them 100% homeowners,, then takes over long term operations. 

Doorvest offers customers a Home Renovation Guarantee for all renovation-related repairs and maintenance on investment properties for one year in tandem with guaranteed resident placement for one year, meaning customers can anticipate all costs affiliated with their investment upfront. 

Why Obie partnered with Doorvest

Obie sees Doorvest as a future leader in the real estate industry. Doorvest expands access to real estate investing by using their technology to buy and manage high-yield investment homes for the independent investment community. Obie empowers Doorvest to focus on their core offerings, while eliminating the headache of procuring insurance on every property as they continue to scale.

“We feel confident using Obie for our coverage needs, as well as referring our clients to Obie because they are extremely responsive, offer many coverage options, and have significantly simplified our process when it comes to obtaining insurance.”

About Obie

Obie is reinventing the insurance process for landlords and rental property investors. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just starting out, Obie makes requesting a quote and getting coverage simple, affordable, and transparent. Obie simplifies the insurance experience by providing instant quotes. No back-and-forth with brokers or surprise costs at signing — the way insurance buying should be.




As a landlord, you want to keep your tenants happy. Happy tenants stay longer and (hopefully) treat your property with respect. Unhappy tenants cause a high tenant turnover, meaning more time and money on your end to find new tenants, and are more likely to cause damage to your property.

To keep tenants happy, you’ll need to address tenant complaints quickly and effectively. Unresolved issues can lead to some seriously angry tenants at best and a lawsuit against you at worst. As a good landlord, staying on top of tenant complaints and dealing with them in a quick, professional manner can go a long way to keeping tenants.

Wondering how to do this? That’s what we’ll cover in this post. We’ll go over the top common tenant complaints and ways to resolve them. Let’s get started with the first common complaint, maintenance issues.

8 Tenant Complaints to Address Now

1. Unaddressed maintenance problems

One of the most common tenant complaints is unresolved maintenance issues. Whether it’s a blown-over fence, flooded basement, an appliance that doesn’t work, or anything else, tenants expect you to fix the issue promptly. After all, they are paying for everything to be in working order.

The fix:

It’s important to respond to tenant maintenance requests as soon as possible. If it’s not something you can fix immediately, keep tenants updated on what you’re doing to fix it and how soon they can expect a fix.

You should also have a good maintenance recording and tracking system. That way your tenants have a convenient way to report a problem and you can respond as quickly as possible.

2. Rent Increases

Another common tenant complaint is rent increases. You need to increase rent periodically to keep up with inflation and the rental market. Not surprisingly, tenants hate paying more to rent your property. A rent increase, especially a high one, can lead to dissatisfied tenants.

The fix:

You should inform tenants of any rent increases way in advance. That way they aren’t surprised when it’s time for them to renew their lease. Be sure to explain any increases; a small bump in rent due to inflation is reasonable and means tenants aren’t actually paying more, which can resolve tenant frustration over rent increases.

3. Security deposit

Tenants might also be unhappy with your security deposit requirements. Maybe you require a full month’s rent as deposit or maybe you have strict cleaning requirements. Either way, no one wants to part with money they may or may not get back. If you do have to keep part of or all the deposit to address any tenant-caused issues, tenants may feel like you are overcharging them.

The fix:

To resolve this complaint, you should have clear wording in your lease about what damages will result in keeping the security deposit. You should also verbally explain this. That way, if you have to keep the deposit, there are no surprises as to why.

4. Communication

An unresponsive or hard-to-reach landlord is also a common tenant complaint. It can be frustrating for tenants to wait days or weeks to hear back from you – especially if they need help with an urgent issue.

The fix:

Give tenants an easy way to contact you, whether that’s your personal cell number or an email address you check daily. Make it your goal to respond within 24 hours and sooner if it’s an emergency. This ensures you’ll see any tenant communication and be able to respond quickly.

5. Lack of privacy

Tenants also often complain about a lack of privacy. You own your property and may want to check-in on it from time to time. But when tenants are renting it, you can’t come in whenever you’d like unannounced. If you are popping by with random inspections all the time, tenants feel their privacy is invaded. There’s another reason to avoid doing this — frequent inspections are illegal in many states.

The fix:

First, you should look at your local rent laws to see how often you can enter your property and how much notice you have to provide tenants. Then, you should reduce how often you inspect your property. Reducing inspections provides tenants privacy and makes sure you’re legally compliant. Your rental agreement should have an acceptable notice period for when you can enter the house or unit — a common example is giving tenants 24-hour notice before you schedule any inspection or routine work.

6. Safety concerns

Safety concerns are another common tenant complaint. Whether it’s a door that doesn’t lock, a run-down fence, a dangerous walkway, a high neighborhood crime rate, or any other issue, tenants may not feel safe on your property.

The fix:

If any locks or other safety measures are broken, you should promptly fix them. For a high crime neighborhood, you can invest in an alarm system, high-quality locks, security cameras, and other measures to make tenants feel safer on your property.

7. Loud neighbors

Along with safety concerns, tenants commonly complain about noisy neighbors. Your property’s neighbors might frequently throw loud parties, have loud music playing all night, or just generally be noisy all the time.Dealing with excessive noise can tank tenant happiness.

The fix:

If the loud neighbors are also your tenants, you can resolve the issue by talking with the tenant. You might have to evict the tenant or not renew their lease if they won’t change their behavior.

You have fewer options to deal with noisy neighbors who aren’t your tenants. You could try the old-fashioned way of walking over and talking with your neighbors. If they are renters, you may have to resort to contacting their rental company or the extreme last resort of filing a noise complaint to the police.

8. Pests

The last common tenant complaint is pests. Ants, roaches, rats, mice, and any other insect or rodent infestation can not only cause your tenants to be unhappy, but these unwanted pests could damage your property. Not addressing the infestation can pose serious health risks to your tenants and violate rent laws.

The fix:

While some creepy crawlies are a natural part of life, any infestation of rats, mice, termites, and other potentially hazardous creatures should be dealt with ASAP. To prevent future infestations, you should have a pest control service regularly treat your property.

Happy tenants, happy landlord

To be a successful landlord, you need to keep tenants happy by addressing any complaints. Happy tenants are more likely to renew their lease, or at the very least, leave you a positive review online. The key is communication. Address complaints as soon as they crop up. If that’s not possible, communicate with your tenants on what you plan to do regarding the situation.

However, before you even have tenants to keep happy, you’ll need to protect your property. The right landlord insurance can help you make sure that unexpected events (like fires, natural disasters, and frozen pipes) don’t put your property out of commission.

As a landlord, you don’t have time to go back and forth with traditional insurance. Or, wait weeks for a quote. That’s why Obie has a modern, transparent, and completely online approach to landlord insurance. You can get a quote in minutes and save an average of 25%.

Get your free Obie quote today.

As part of the goal to simplify the rental process, Obie has partnered with NestEgg. NestEgg is available for current landlords who are looking to achieve financial independence and passive income with one simple property management app. This partnership lets landlords manage their properties while saving time and money all in one place. 

Who is NestEgg?

NestEgg is a property management company that takes the stress out of being a landlord. Using smart technology backed by real human support, the NestEgg team provides automated rent collection, financing, maintenance support, and much more. 

NestEgg offers on-the-ground support including contractors, local leasing agents, yard care companies, onsite cleaners, and more. Each NestEgg landlord has a dedicated rental manager who handles the day-to-day responsibilities of being a landlord. And with three distinct pricing options, NestEgg landlords can be as hands-off or involved as they want.

Why Obie partnered with NestEgg

Obie’s integration in NestEgg’s platform creates a seamless insurance experience for NestEgg users. Traditionally, insurance has been a manual and time consuming process, but with Obie’s embedded solution, users can easily request and bind quotes without ever leaving the NestEgg platform. This partnership creates a new level of convenience for landlords while providing them the protection they need. 


"Our mission at NestEgg is to help smaller independent real estate investors reach financial independence faster. We partnered with Obie because they've built the first insurance solution uniquely focused on their needs and success." - NestEgg Team

About Obie

Obie is reinventing the insurance process for landlords and rental property investors. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just starting out, Obie makes requesting a quote and getting coverage simple, affordable, and transparent. Obie simplifies the insurance experience by providing instant quotes. No back-and-forth with brokers or surprise costs at signing — the way insurance buying should be.

It's every landlord's worst nightmare. Your tenants move out and instead of finding your property in good condition, you discover your tenants trashed your property.

Whether intentionally or through wear and tear, your tenants caused thousands of dollars of damages. You now have to deal with fixing up your property on top of finding new tenants.

Your first thought may be: Can landlord insurance help me pay for the repairs?

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately, many landlord insurance policies don’t cover tenant damages. The good news is there are other ways to pay for tenant damages. We’ll cover that and what tenant damages are (and aren’t) covered by landlord insurance in this post.

Let’s start with a look at the different types of tenant damages.

What tenant damages does landlord insurance cover?

Tenant damages fall into three main categories — accidental, intentional, and wear and tear. Landlord insurance usually only covers accidental damages. Here’s a closer look at each type of tenant damage.

Accidental tenant damage

If a tenant accidentally damages your property, such as starting a grease fire or causing pipes to freeze, landlord insurance will likely cover it.

What accidental tenant damage is covered depends on your landlord insurance policy.

Intentional tenant damage

Unlike accidental damage, intentional tenant damage is caused on purpose. From spray paint graffiti, to smashed walls, broken doors, and more, an angry tenant can cause a lot of damage to your property.

Many landlord policies don’t cover intentional tenant damages. If your tenant intentionally damages your property, you can potentially cover the damages with the security deposit. In extreme cases, you can also sue your tenant for the damage.

Wear and tear

Wear and tear damage is the most common type of tenant damage. Even the best tenants can cause damage to your floors, walls, appliances, counters, and more from everyday life. With the right tenants, you can minimize this damage. But, you probably can’t avoid it altogether.

Like maintenance issues, landlord insurance doesn’t cover wear and tear tenant damages. Instead, you can often use the security deposit to fix any of these damages.

What can you do about tenant damages?

If your property has intentional or wear and tear damage, you can’t pay for the damages with an insurance claim. This doesn't mean you have to pay for the damages out of pocket either.

Security deposit

Instead, you can first use the security deposit to repair tenant damages. If tenants only left wear and tear damage, hopefully the security deposit will cover everything. Before using the security deposit to pay for damages, be sure to check your local rent laws. Many states have strict laws and procedures landlords need to follow when keeping the security deposit.

Sue for damages

The security deposit may not completely cover intentional damages. There are two options if that’s the case. You can either pay for the rest of the damages yourself. Or, you can sue your tenant for the damages. This legal process can be time-consuming and expensive, so it should be a last resort.

Eviction

Most tenants who intentionally damage your property will take off after causing the damage. However, some will stay on your property to continue causing damage. If this is the case, you need to get the tenants out of your property.

You can’t just kick out tenants though, as this violates your lease and rental laws. Instead, you need to evict your tenants. This involves filing the right paperwork and going before a judge. If you need to evict your tenant, it’s a smart idea to work with a lawyer. That way, you can resolve the issue as quickly as possible –— without getting into legal trouble.

How can landlord insurance help with tenant damages?

Depending on your policy, landlord insurance will usually cover accidental tenant damage. But, if tenants cause so much intentional or wear and tear damage to your property that you can’t rent it out, landlord insurance could help.

If you have loss of rental income coverage, your landlord insurance could reimburse you for rent while you’re repairing your property. You’ll still have to pay for damages yourself or with a security deposit. But, you won’t have to worry about the lost rent during repairs.

Does landlord insurance cover tenant belongings?

Landlord insurance covers accidental damage and many natural disasters that can damage your property. So if your landlord insurance covers damage to the structure, does it cover tenant belongings that were also damaged?

Nope, it doesn’t. That’s why your tenants need renter’s insurance. Landlord insurance only covers the structure and your liability. Depending on your policy, you can also add coverage for other structures on your property and loss of rental income coverage. Because landlord insurance is designed to protect you, it doesn’t cover any tenant belongings.

How can you prevent tenant damages?

The best solution to tenant damages is preventing them in the first place.

To prevent intentional tenant damages, you need to meticulously screen potential tenants. This can help you weed out any tenants who have caused damage elsewhere. By thoroughly screening tenants, you can choose tenants who have a great rental history. This rigorous screening significantly decreases the risk of intentional tenant damages.

For wear and tear damages, you should inform tenants of repair costs. You can usually put the security deposit towards wear and tear damages. If it doesn’t completely cover the damage, you can bill tenants for the remaining cost. Tenants will be more motivated to take care of your property if they know how much they’ll have to pay for any damages.

Finding the right landlord insurance

While landlord insurance doesn’t cover all tenant damages, it can protect you and your property from events like:

        • Fires

        • Water damage

        • Freezing pipes

        • Hail

        • Windstorms

        • And more

Plus, landlord insurance covers accidental damages and can help make up for lost rent from tenant damages. It's important to choose the right landlord insurance to get the correct coverage. Check out our guide to DP1 and DP3 policies to learn more about different types of landlord insurance.

Once you figure out what type of landlord insurance you might need, it’s time to get a quote. With Obie’s fast, transparent, and completely online process, you can get a quote in minutes.

Get your Obie quote today.

You love your home. You’ve probably put a lot of time, work, and money into it. But now it’s time to move on. Maybe you outgrew your home, need to relocate, or found a better property — whatever the case, you’re wondering what to do with this property.

The most obvious answer is to sell your home, right? You can’t live in two places at once and you might still have a mortgage on the first property. Selling your home means an instant lump sum of cash. No stressing out about two properties and no complicated taxes at the end of the year.

But you have another option: renting out your house. With renting, you could establish a stream of steady passive income, and your home will likely appreciate should you want to sell in the future.

So, how do you know if renting or selling is the right choice? We’ve broken it down for you in this article. Let’s start with a look at reasons to rent out your home.

Should I rent my home?

Selling is the more common of the routes, but renting can help you build an additional income stream and hold on to your home if you ever want to go back. Here are four factors to consider for renting out your home.

1. Rental profit

One of the best reasons to rent is for the extra income. When you rent your home, it should bring in enough to cover your mortgage, any upkeep costs (like maintenance, HOA, or management), and still turn a profit. If you can earn more from rental income than your total expenses cost you, you should consider renting out your house.

When considering profitability, you need to make sure your home is a good rental property. This means that it’s attractive to renters with in-demand finishes and amenities. You'll want to make sure your home is in a desirable location and that everything is in working order before renting — the more up-to-date your house is, the more rent you may be able to charge.

2. Selling return

You might also want to hang onto your home if it won’t sell for a lot. Depending on how much equity you have in your home and any selling fees, you might make little to nothing from selling your home.

Even if you make a decent profit from selling, you could stand to make more long-term from renting it out. In this case, it’s a smarter financial move to rent your home instead of selling it.

3. Future market

A buyer’s market probably isn’t the right time to sell. When the market favors buyers, you’ll get less for your home. Waiting out the market until it swings in favor of sellers could be a better idea.

And, if your home is in an up-and-coming area, you’ll make more from holding onto your home. You can likely charge more for rent every year. Plus, after waiting a few years, your home could be worth much more than it is today — making renting your home a better option.

4. Sentimental value

Another reason to rent out your home is if it has sentimental value. While you have to leave your home for now, you might hope to return some day. If you sell your home, there’s not much hope for ever getting it back.

For this reason, renting is best. Your rental income will pay for your mortgage and any upkeep. And when the time is right, you can come move back or pass the home to someone else in your family.

Should I sell my home?

Renting out your home is a great option for most people. However, there are some cases where selling is better. Here are four signs you should sell your home.

1.  Seller’s market

Selling could be the right option in a strong seller’s market. A seller’s market helps you get the most for your home, with fewer contingencies and concessions. This type of market is the best time to sell your home.

A lot of equity in your home could make it even more profitable to sell during a seller’s market. The more equity you have, the more you earn from selling your home. With a lot of equity, selling in a favorable market could make you more short term than renting.

2. Fewer expenses

Renting out your home can be a great way to generate more income. However, renting out a house also comes with all sorts of expenses. You’ll have to worry about extra taxes, maintenance, HOA fees, administration, property management fees, and more. If you don't have the time or money to deal with the administrative costs of renting, selling is a better option.

3. Managing tenants

Finding great tenants is key to successfully renting out your home. However, finding tenants involves marketing, tenant screening, applications, and more. After you find the right tenant, you then have to keep tenants from damaging your home, respond to any tenant maintenance requests or problems, and make sure you’re compliant with all landlord laws.

While you can hire a property management company to make managing tenants easier, it can be a lot of work for an unseasoned landlord. Don't have time to look into tenants? Consider selling.

4. Bad rental

You likely weren't thinking of rental potential when you bought your house. And that's okay. Some properties may not be great rentals. You may not have kept up with home maintenance, or maybe the property isn't in an ideal location. Either way, it may be more hassle than worthwhile to try renting out your home, and you may stand to lose money if your home sits unoccupied.

Like the idea of renting but your current property just isn’t right? Consider taking the profits from selling your “bad” rental and invest in something new.  

Should I sell or rent my home?

After considering these eight factors, you might still wonder whether to rent or sell.  

For many people, renting is a better option than selling. Renting can help you build an additional income stream and can be more profitable in the long run. Between rent and appreciation over time, you can often make more from renting than selling. You also get to hold onto your home if you’re sentimentally attached.

However, renting out a home isn’t for everyone. Your home may not be in shape to be a rental or maybe you owe too much on your mortgage that you couldn’t turn a profit. In that case, it’s better to sell and then invest in a different rental property.

If renting sounds like the right fit, you can check out our guide to becoming a landlord and top tips for first-time landlords to get started.

But before you start renting out your home, you'll need landlord insurance. Specifically designed for a property you don’t occupy, landlord insurance can help you protect your investment. And, this insurance could protect you from liability for tenant injuries.

The easiest way to get landlord insurance is with Obie. With our transparent, modern, and online approach, you can get a quote in minutes.

Get your free landlord insurance quote today to start renting out your home.

 

When you purchase a house, the paperwork is staggering. And when it comes time to pay, there seems to be an endless number of people on the receiving end of your checks. A financial institution, the government, realtors, the list goes on.

 

To make life easier, mortgagee billing exists. In this article, we define mortgagee billing and escrow accounts, explain how it all works for insurance, and show you how to switch insurance policies mid-term.

What is mortgagee billing?

Mortgagee billing refers to the situation in which a mortgage lender (usually a bank or credit union) pays for the homeowner’s, or borrower’s, insurance premium through an escrow account. You may also see this referred to as escrow billing.

What do I need to set up mortgagee billing?

In order to set up mortgagee billing with your insurance company you will need a few pieces of information.

        •The mortgagee clause

        •The loan number

        •Optional: An email or fax number so your insurance agent can send policy documents.

If you already have your policy set up on mortgagee billing, the mortgagee clause and loan number will be listed on your policy declarations page. If it is a new purchase, your lender will be able to provide that information. Be aware that the mortgagee address is usually a different address than where you send your checks.

What is an escrow account?

An escrow account is similar to a savings account, but it is managed by your lender (your mortgage provider). When you close on your new property, your lender will estimate how much you will owe for yearly property taxes and insurance. That total is divided up and added into your monthly mortgage payments. 

 

Note: This is an estimated total and you may owe more money at the end of the year. We always recommend having savings on-hand if you do receive a bill at the end of the year.

Why choose mortgagee billing?

In some cases, you may not have a choice as to whether you use mortgagee billing or not. If you are using a mortgage lender and have less than a 20% down payment, your lender will likely require you to use an escrow account.

Benefits of having an escrow account

Mortgagee billing makes life easier for all parties involved. Some benefits for you are:

        •An escrow account may help you budget your money. By paying monthly, you don’t need to make large annual payments for taxes and insurance.

        •The lender generally takes care of paying your hazard insurance and property taxes. Without an escrow account, you’d be on the hook for paying for these individually.

Mortgagee billing FAQs

Now you know what mortgagee billing is. And chances are, if you have a mortgage, you’ve been using mortgagee billing anyway. While you have little control over your property taxes, your landlord insurance is completely up to you (as long as you are sufficiently covered). You likely have some specific questions regarding insurance and your escrow account, so let’s dive in.

How does mortgagee billing work for my new purchase?

Congrats on the new property! For a new purchase, you’ll need to choose a new insurance carrier and send a declarations page to your lender.

 

During the closing process of your property, your carrier will inform the client and lender at the closing of the total premium. At the closing, it’s the title company who cuts the check and sends it to your carrier, usually by mail.

How can I switch carriers before my policy period ends?

Say you find a better policy, either because it’s more affordable or provides better coverage. You’re halfway through your current insurance policy, but don’t know how the cancellation and refund process works. 

 

The first step you’ll want to take is to reach out to your current insurance company. Let them know you’d like to cancel and ask if they have any specific steps you need to take to get a refund for your unused policy.

 

We highly recommend signing a new policy before canceling your old one or at least making sure you are canceling your old policy on the same date your new policy starts. Any lapse of coverage could result in you paying more to your lender, who may put forced placed insurance on your property during any lapse.

 

Once you cancel your old policy, your insurance company will typically send the refund of an unused premium directly to you. Since your lender pays for the premium up-front out of escrow, you’ll want to check with them regarding any outstanding balance on your escrow account. Since the lender pays for your new policy, they’ll want a refund to be reimbursed in your escrow account, otherwise you can expect a higher escrow payment next year.  

What happens if I don’t tell my lender?

If you are switching policies midterm, you will need to tell your lender. If you forget, your lender will assume you are not covered at all and will put forced-place insurance on your property.

 

While your new insurance company will send documentation to your new lender via mail or email. It is always important for you, the client, to inform the lender that you are switching insurance policies as they may have a specific website, email, or fax number you or your insurance company would need to send documents to to make sure the policy gets paid.

What is forced-place insurance?

Forced-place insurance is insurance your lender will automatically enroll you in if your current coverage lapses or if they deem the coverage to be inadequate. Forced-place insurance is usually much more expensive than a traditional policy so we recommend avoiding it at all costs.

If you are put on forced-place insurance even though you have other coverage, you can call your lender and let them know as soon as possible. They should backdate to when your new coverage started.

What if my loan gets sold?

This is a common situation. Lenders make money by selling your mortgage loan to other companies. If this happens, don’t panic. Your mortgage and insurance premiums will stay the same. Once your loan gets sold, your new lender should reach out to your insurance company.

Sometimes this doesn’t happen, or the new lender sends something to the client (you) to do, like forwarding over documentation or contacting your insurance provider. It’s important that you pay attention to anything your new lender sends you or asks of you.

What happens if my premium changes?

Your insurance premiums may change on an annual basis. If this happens, you may owe more money at the end of the year. Your lender will increase your escrow payment as needed to cover the additional cost – this applies to any increase in taxes too. And, in the case that you are overpaying, you’ll get a refund for any extra money in your escrow account.

It’s the end of my policy term. How do I renew?

If you are staying with your carrier, this one is easy. Your carrier is required by law to send a renewal notice to both you and your lender. Your carrier will bill your mortgage lender and the lender uses your escrow money to renew the policy. Then, the cycle of escrow continues where you make monthly payments that are used to pay off this premium over the course of a year.

Your one stop shop for landlord insurance

Still have questions as you look to close on your property or switch carriers? We’ve got your back. Obie offers a streamlined process to getting a new quote on your rental property. Our team is on-hand to answer your questions and help you save time on insurance shopping. Let us do the hard work for you. Start your Obie quote today or reach out to our team with questions.


It’s been raining for days. With the dreary weather, you want to stay inside where it’s dry. Only, your property isn’t completely dry. You or your tenants notice water on the walls, floors, or even the basement. Somehow, water is getting in — and causing potentially lasting damage to your property.

Sounds like a nightmare, right? Your roof isn’t leaky, and your siding is in good shape. How would water get in?

The culprit is likely right outside your door: Clogged gutters. Not cleaning your gutters regularly can lead to a host of problems, including water damage to your property.

Luckily, there are easy ways to spot clogged gutters and if noticed early on, are easily remedied. Don't let clogged gutters ruin your property. In this post, we’ll give you tips to fix even the most stubborn clogged gutters. To start, let’s take a look at what damage clogged gutters can cause.

What kind of damage can clogged gutters cause?

Gutters — almost every property has them. Yet gutter maintenance is probably not something you think about regularly. Compared with managing current tenants, finding new tenants, fixing any appliances or equipment that breaks, gutter maintenance can seem unimportant. You can always get to it later, right?

Wrong! Gutter cleaning isn’t something you should be skipping. In fact, it should be on your checklist of home maintenance chores to do twice a year. Clogged gutters can cause mold, foundation damage, basement flooding, roof leakage, wall and ceiling damage, and more. All of which can be expensive (not to mention time-consuming!) to fix.

The good news is that regular gutter cleaning can prevent these problems. Whether you DIY or hire a professional, keeping up with gutter maintenance can save you a big headache down the road.

What are the signs of clogged gutters?

You know that clogged gutters can lead to pretty serious problems for your property. But how do you know if you have clogged gutters? We’ve got you covered with the top nine signs your gutters are clogged.

1. Sagging, collapsing, or pulling away gutters

This seems obvious, but if your gutters are old and in rough shape, there's a good chance you may have a clog. Debris can weigh down your gutters and eventually, your gutters will sag or collapse under this weight. Before collapsing, your gutters might also start pulling away from your roof. If it looks bad, it probably is bad.

2. Water spilling over

Your gutters should direct rainwater to the downspout and away from your property. If you see water spilling over the sides of your gutters, there's likely debris built up inside, blocking the water from properly flowing.

3. Standing water or washed away dirt

Another exterior sign of clogged gutters is standing water and eroded dirt. If your gutters are working properly, you shouldn’t see any water around the foundation of your property. When it’s not raining, washed away dirt around your house can also be a sign your gutters are clogged.

4. Stained siding

Your siding can be stained for a variety of reasons. One common reason? You got it — clogged gutters. If your gutters are clogged, they can’t direct water away from the sides of your property. This leads to water stains on your siding.

5. Exterior mildew or rust

Along with stained siding, mildew or rust on the exterior of your home are signs of problematic gutters. Trapped or overflowing water inside your gutters contributes to the growth of mildew and mold. If you have vinyl or metal siding, you may also see rust spots. While rust is comparatively harmless if caught early, mildew and mold can lead to health problems for you and your tenant if left to spread.

6. Plant growth

Do you have a tree close to the side of your house? You could have more than a few pesky falling leaves to worry about. Tree and plant debris that get stuck in your gutters can actually lead to plant growth. Seeds get trapped in your gutters, and with the right amount of water and sunlight, they can start to sprout in your gutters. Keep the plants in your garden and clean your gutters.

7. Birds and other animals

That plant growth and debris can be quite inviting for little critters to nest in. If you notice excessive debris in your gutters, keep your eyes peeled for small nests. You could have birds or other wildlife living rent-free in your gutters.

8. Water in living spaces

You can also spot clogged gutters from inside your property. If you see water or dampness on your walls, ceilings, or floors, it’s a sign that your gutters are clogged.

Related reading: 11 Signs of Water Damage on Your Property

9. Water in your basement

One last way to spot clogged gutters is by looking at your basement. Water in your basement can be caused by many problems, but it's usually never a good sign. Clogged gutters could once again be at work here, allowing rainwater to hang out near your foundation and seep into your basement.

How can you fix clogged gutters?

You now know how to spot clogged gutters. But what happens if you find a clog? You can either unclog them yourself or hire a professional.

If you go the DIY route, it’s important to be safe. Cleaning your gutters usually involves getting on a ladder. Without the proper safety precautions, it’s easy to fall and be seriously injured. Before cleaning your gutters, you need to make sure you have a sturdy ladder and someone on-hand to hold the ladder or assist you.

Before you climb the ladder, you need to gather supplies. Sturdy gloves are a must to protect your hands from any sharp debris. You also need a bucket to collect whatever is clogging your gutters. And, you might need an extension tool to clean hard-to-reach spots.

Once you have your supplies, it’s time to clean your gutters. With your gloved hands (or a scoop!), you need to reach into your gutters and pull out any debris. You then put the debris in your bucket and repeat the process for all gutters around your property.

Sound time-consuming, tedious, and even a little gross? It can be, which is why DIY gutter cleaning isn’t for everyone. Hiring a professional can be more expensive. But, a professional can save you hours — which could be worth the cost. Plus, if you have a clog in harder-to-reach areas (like your downspout), you might need a professional anyway.

Whether you DIY or hire a professional, it’s important to clean your gutters as soon as possible after spotting a clog. That way, you can prevent any damage to your property.

Time to get cleaning

Cleaning your gutters is one of the less glamorous parts of being a landlord. As much as we hate pulling gunk out of gutters, clean gutters are key to preventing problems ranging from mold to foundation damage.

If you can’t remember the last time you cleaned your gutters, don’t worry; you can start any time. And if you spot any of the signs of clogged gutters, you can try DIY gutter cleaning or hire a professional.

Another way to protect your property is with landlord insurance. From natural disasters, to fires, to any other unexpected event, landlord insurance can help you protect your investment. The easiest way to get landlord insurance is with Obie’s fast, modern, and transparent approach. You can even save up to 25% with Obie.

Get started protecting your property today with your free quote from Obie.

 

Picture this: You’ve successfully moved into your second house. You decided to keep your first house as a rental property — with the help of your new tenants, your property expenses are more than covered. You get to hold onto the property you put your sweat and tears into while earning passive income.

 

Sounds great, right? If only things could be as easy as a snap of your fingers. To get to the point of earning income through a rental property, you’ll need to learn how to successfully rent out a house. Renting out a house can be a long, stressful process if you don’t know what you’re doing. But with a little help from friends (us!), you can get the ball rolling sooner.

Your guide to renting out your house

1. Research, research, research.

Before spending any time or money on your property, make sure your property is rentable. Look into your local laws — do you need a rental license? Research zoning laws, tax laws, and landlord tenant laws. Check your homeowners association covenant for specific rules on renting. You may also want to look into property management companies, if you would prefer someone to manage your property for you.

 

Lastly, research rent rates in your neighborhood or area to see how much you should charge for rent. Look for properties with similar square footage, rooms, and location. While you’ll want to charge enough to cover your expenses, if you charge too much, it’ll turn away prospective tenants.

 

Tip: As part of your research, look into your rights and responsibilities as a landlord. Understand what you are responsible for vs what responsibilities your tenants have. This can prevent conflict down the road and help both parties coexist successfully.

2.  Prepare your property.

Next, you’ll want to make sure your property is a desirable place to live. Now is the time to go through your house thoroughly and look for any damages or repairs that need to be fixed. Legally, you need to adhere to safety standards in your state. This means having working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, as well as meeting other local safety and building codes. Make sure to address any safety hazards such as missing railings, loose steps, and broken appliances.

 

Take note of the condition of your home. You’ll want to either do a walkthrough with your new tenant open move-in or have them fill out a move-in checklist, but now is the time for you to note how your property currently looks. Take photos.

3. Draw up a lease.

Your rental lease agreement is the binding contract between you and your tenant. If you have a lease that’s too vague, you may be on the hook for certain damages. If your lease is too restricting, you may be infringing on your tenants’ rights.

 

One way to ensure your lease covers all rules, requirements, and disclosures, and without violating any local or federal laws, is to hire a lawyer to review the document. You can also go online and use a free template. Just remember that online templates may not cover everything you need.

4. Attract tenants.

Now that your property is in good shape and ready for showings, you’ll need to find tenants to move-in. Here you may want to list the help of a professional, such as a real estate agent, who can help with showings and open houses. You can also list your property on sites such as Craigslist, Zillow, or Trulia to draw in your own tenants.

5. Screen tenants.

Screening tenants can save you headaches later down the road. While certain laws are in place to prevent discrimination against race, sex, disability, religion and more, you can set rental criteria to make sure you rent to upstanding tenants.

 

Common criteria include a minimum credit score, sufficient income, positive references from previous landlords, a clean background check, and/or proof of steady income. 

 

You may disqualify a tenant who has a low credit score, history of evictions, criminal history, or who doesn’t fit your screening requirements. Other valid disqualifications include rejecting a smoker for your smoke-free property or refusing to rent to someone who has a pet if you choose to keep your property pet-free. 

6. Shop for landlord insurance. 

If you were previously living at your property, you likely have a homeowners policy. While this was great for your previous situation, you’ll want to update to an insurance policy specifically for landlords. Homeowners insurance may not cover your tenants or your property if damage is done while you are not living there.

 

As soon as you find a tenant to inhabit your property, you’ll want to set up a landlord insurance policy. Landlord insurance doesn’t have to be complex. Obie makes the process straightforward and easy — you can get a quote in minutes without having to speak to anyone. Get your quote today.

7. Start collecting rent.

At this point, you’ve successfully rented out your house. You’ve priced your rental just right to attract a trustworthy tenant, you’ve ensured your property is as safe as can be, and you’ve got your property insured against unforeseen events.

 

Now it’s time to start making that passive income. Collect a security deposit and place it in an escrow account, if applicable. Then, decide how you will collect rent. If you live close by and are planning on managing the property singlehandedly, you may prefer a direct check. Otherwise, you can use online rent collection tools for a quick and easy payment method.

 

As a landlord, you likely have more questions than “How do I rent out my house?” Check out our article, 11 Tips for First-Time Landlords, to learn more about being a landlord.

 


Drip drip drip. It’s that leaky faucet again. You’ve been meaning to get around to fixing it but haven’t had the time.

Besides, what’s the worst that could happen?

Unfortunately, even the smallest leak can lead to costly water damage, mold, and more. Good news: If it’s caught early, it can be easily fixed. To do that though, you need to know how to spot the signs of water damage on your property. We’ve rounded up 11 common signs of water damage to help you.

1. Dark or discolored spots

Notice any dark or discolored spots on your walls, ceilings, or floors? There’s a chance it could just be dirt, or it could be water damage.  

Start by looking around toilets, sinks, washing machines, and other sources of plumbing. Water may have seeped down to floors below so remember to look up at the ceiling too.

2. Paint problems

Another sign of water damage is paint problems on the interior or exterior of your property. You should check for any paint that’s bubbling, cracking, flaking, or otherwise damaged. This can indicate that water is sitting behind your walls, siding, or any other painted surface.

3. Warped flooring

Along with paint issues, problems with your flooring can also indicate water damage. Walk around barefoot. Water damage will cause carpets to feel damp, wood floors to warp, and vinyl flooring to buckle.

If you feel or see water damage to your floor, be sure to investigate. There’s a chance the subfloor is also damaged, which you’ll want to fix ASAP as it’s an important structural component.

4. Damp surfaces

While it’s normal for areas like bathrooms to be slightly humid after showers, most surfaces in your home shouldn’t be damp or moist. Feel your walls, especially around windows and pipes. If you feel any moisture where you wouldn’t expect it — you may have water damage.

5. Pooling water/ puddles

Pooling water and puddles are also indicators your property could have water damage. Unless you had a flood, or your toilet is overflowing, you shouldn’t have pools of water anywhere.

Clean up any pooling water as soon as you see it to prevent further damage. If the water keeps coming back, you likely have a leak somewhere. Check out your basement or crawl space, as it’s the most common area for pooling water.

6. Bad outside drainage

The outside of your property can also provide clues that you have water damage. Look at the grating and drainage of your property. If water flows towards or pools near your property, you could have water damage.

7. Clogged or broken gutters

Cleaning your gutters is like going to the dentist — you should be doing it twice a year for optimal results. If you put it off, you’re in for a bad surprise when you see water overflowing onto your roof or foundation. Leaves and debris need to be cleared out so rainwater can be redirected away from your property.  

If you’re diligent in your gutter cleaning, you should have no problem. Otherwise, check your gutters! They may need to be replaced to keep water flowing away from your house.

8. Roof damage

Your roof exists to protect your home from the elements. However, if it has missing shingles, is sagging, or even has a small hole, it's not keeping out water. Instead, your roof could be a source of water damage to your property. Part of this could be because of your gutters (see #7) or because of the age of your roof. Either way, you may want to call a roofing pro to check it out. 

9. Water sounds

Hear that dripping sound even when the faucet is off? Water damage isn’t always visible. If you hear constant sounds of running water (even when no water should be running), it’s time to check your pipes for any leaks and inspect your walls for any damage behind them.

10. Moldy/Musty smell

Not to be too obvious, but if it smells like mold — it probably is mold. Walk around and notice if there’s a particular area that smells musty. Maybe it’s down in the basement near a leaking water heater. Or perhaps it’s in the walls behind a sink. Mold can cause many health problems so if your water damage has progressed that far, it’s time to call in an expert.

11. Increased water bill

If your tenants are complaining about a high water bill, it might be time to investigate. Either they’re taking way too long of a shower, or you have a leak that’s causing your property to use up more water than usual.

Inspect your property for leaky pipes or fixtures — or hire a plumber if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. It may be a simple fix that will prevent headaches down the road.

How can I fix water damage?

Finding water damage can be alarming. The key is to catch the problem early on. Whether that’s a leaky pipe, roof damage, poor drainage, or any other cause, you need to stop the water before you can address any damage.

Then, you need to work on repair. Hopefully the damage hasn’t spread yet. Start by cleaning up any standing water and then assess the area. You may need to remove drywall or flooring — a task you can do on your own or hire out.

Any mold, even the smallest spot, will need to be treated ASAP. Otherwise your tenants’ health could be at risk. We prefer calling in the professionals for this job.

Does landlord insurance cover water damage?

Fixing water damage can be costly, especially if the damage has spread. But with the right landlord insurance, you could have help paying for repairs. Depending on your policy, you may be covered in the event of a burst pipe or ruptured water heater.

If you’re looking for the right landlord insurance, consider Obie. With Obie, you can get a transparent quote online in minutes. Plus, landlords save an average of 25% with Obie.

Get your landlord insurance quote today to protect your property from water damage and other damaging events.

You know you need landlord insurance. The only issue? Landlord insurance is confusing — especially trying to find the right policy. Two common policy options you’ve probably come across are dwelling policy 1 (DP1) and dwelling policy 3 (DP3).


But, what are the differences between those two policies? And how do you know which one is right for you and your property? We’re here to answer your questions. Let's start by taking a look at the differences between DP1 vs DP3.

What is DP1 insurance?

DP1 insurance offers the least coverage of the dwelling policies. It is a named peril policy, which means that it only covers the perils explicitly stated in the policy.

These perils typically include damage from:

       • Fire and smoke,

       • Lightning,

       • Explosion,

       • Wind and hail,

       • Riots, and

       • Volcanos.

DP1 insurance typically doesn’t protect against many common damage-causing events including:

       • Frozen pipes,

       • Roof damage from falling trees,

       • Theft, or

       • Water damage.

DP1 generally only covers the main structure. However, you can sometimes add surrounding building (also known as other structures on your policy) and personal property coverage to DP1 insurance. 

If your property is damaged by a covered peril, DP1 insurance will typically pay actual cash value (ACV) to repair the damage. ACV is the replacement cost minus any depreciation. 


So, for example, if your 10-year-old roof is damaged in a covered peril, DP1 insurance will pay you what your 10-year-old roof is worth today — not the cost of a new roof today. This depreciated value is often well below what it costs to fully repair the damage. With DP1 insurance, you may have to pay tens of thousands out-of-pocket to fix any damage.

What is DP3 insurance?

Whereas DP1 insurance offers the least coverage, DP3 insurance offers the most coverage. As such, DP3 insurance is the most popular landlord insurance. 


DP3 insurance is an open peril/risk policy. This means it covers all damage-causing events except those explicitly listed in the policy. Some common exclusions you might see are nuclear hazards, war, and mold. 


Along with being an open peril policy, DP3 insurance generally includes additional coverage like liability and personal item coverage. With liability coverage, you’re protected if a tenant injury occurs on your property. This coverage means you won’t be on the hook for the tenant’s medical or legal expenses. Many DP3 policies, but not all, will provide some coverage for your personal belongings at the home, such as appliances and lawn equipment.

With DP3 insurance, you can also add loss of rent coverage. A damaging event like a fire or natural disaster could make your property unlivable until it’s repaired. This means you can’t collect rent. If you have DP3 insurance with loss of rental income coverage, your insurance will pay you this lost rent if the damaging event is covered. 


For any covered damage, DP3 insurance pays the replacement cost value (RCV) in most cases (an exemption example is in the case of a roof older than 15 years; here, depreciation would be factored in). Instead of paying for the depreciated value, RCV pays the current market rate for materials needed to repair your property. With DP3 insurance, you could receive the full amount needed to make any repairs — potentially saving you tens of thousands in out-of-pocket costs. 

Do I need DP1 or DP3 insurance?

Now that you know some of the differences between the policies, you’re probably wondering which one is right for you. 

Reasons to choose DP1

If you’re on a very tight budget, DP1 insurance could work for you. Because it offers less coverage, DP1 premiums are generally lower than DP3 premiums. Just remember, cutting corners on cost now may backfire. If your property is damaged, you’ll end up paying more to repair it. 


DP1 insurance could also work for you if you have a vacant property or expect to be without tenants for at least a month. Since there’s no one living in the property to cause damage, you likely don’t need as much coverage. This can make DP1 insurance a good fit. 

Reasons to choose DP3

However, if you want the most protection for your property, DP3 insurance is the way to go. It provides protection for the most events. And, DP3 insurances provide additional coverage for liability, personal items, or even loss of rent. Overall, DP3 insurance will protect your property better than with DP1 insurance. 


You might also choose DP3 insurance if you want to reduce out-of-pocket costs. Your premiums will likely be higher with DP3 insurance, but the amount you have to pay if your property is damaged is often much lower. That’s because DP3 typically pays RCV for any damages. So, DP3 insurance is the right choice if you want to keep unexpected out-of-pocket costs to a minimum. 

Let's review: DP1 vs DP3

When choosing landlord insurance, you might be stumped on which dwelling policy to choose. DP1 insurance provides the least coverage and is cheaper.  DP3 insurance provides comprehensive coverage with the option to add additional coverage. However, DP3 premiums tend to be higher. 


We can't tell you which to choose, but we hope this article helps break down the differences in DP1 and DP3. Once you’ve figured out which dwelling policy is right for you, it’s time to get a quote. The easiest, fastest, and most transparent way to get your landlord insurance quote is with Obie. Completely online, Obie’s modern approach to landlord insurance saves landlords an average of 25% on insurance. 


Check out your Obie quote today.


As the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the nation, everything closed — leading to record high unemployment and economic turmoil. Many faced widespread job losses and an alarming number of tenants couldn't pay their rent. But, having renters out on the streets or in homeless shelters could accelerate the already rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus. Because of this, Congress, and later the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), decided evictions posed too large of a health risk and shouldn't continue.

More than a year later, the CDC has attempted to extend the eviction moratorium through October 3, 2021 for counties with high community transmission rates. Although the Supreme Court has ended the CDC moratorium, individual states have their own eviction protections still in place.

If you’re wondering what that means for you and your property, you’re in the right place. In this post, we’ll explain what a moratorium is, what you need to know about it, and what options you have if you’re struggling due to tenants not paying rent.

What Is the eviction moratorium?

The eviction moratorium is a COVID-19 pandemic measure put into place in March 2020 by the CARES Act. It prevents landlords from evicting tenants due to nonpayment of rent. While the original moratorium expired on July 24, 2020, it has been extended several times since by the CDC.

While the eviction moratorium protects many tenants from eviction for not paying rent, tenants must meet the following criteria to qualify for protection:

      • Earn less than $99,000 as a single person or $198,000 if married and filing jointly.

      • Have attempted to get rental assistance to pay their rent.

      • Are experiencing a large loss of household income due to things like losing a job, having work hours reduced, or having high medical expenses.

      • Must be paying as much rent as they can.

      • Need to show that they would be homeless if evicted or that they would have to move in with family or friends.

If a tenant can meet all those requirements, landlords cannot legally evict them under the moratorium. This stay on evictions is intended to give tenants time to recover financially. However, the eviction moratorium does not erase back rent. Tenants are still obligated to repay all missed rent once they cover financially.

Where does the eviction moratorium stand now?

Although the CDC attempted to prolong the national eviction moratorium in counties with high community transmission rates, the Supreme Court effectively ended this mandated moratorium as of August 26, 2021.

However, eviction moratoriums do still exist in some states with high transmission rates. States such as California, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, and New York are a few states who have protections in place for tenants. See an updated list of state eviction protections to view all states.

How does the eviction moratorium impact landlords?

While the eviction moratorium was designed with renters in mind, it significantly impacts landlords. During the eviction moratorium in 2020, renters fell behind an estimated $30-$70 billion in unpaid rent. As that figure is only for 2020, tenants are expected to be behind even further in 2021. Over six million households are currently struggling to pay rent.

This lack of rental income has caused several problems for landlords, especially small, mom-and-pop landlords. Without rental income, landlords may struggle to pay their mortgages and/or their property taxes. Plus, no rental income can make it impossible for landlords to maintain their property, leading to long-term property issues.

Although the eviction moratorium protects tenants from being homeless, it creates problems for landlords who are dependent on monthly rent.

What if landlords go against the eviction moratorium?

Landlords who evict qualified tenants can face fines as high as $100,000. If the eviction results in a tenant's death, the maximum fine can jump to $250,000. Along with fines, landlords can also spend up to a year in jail for violating the moratorium.

Although the eviction moratorium prevents evictions for nonpayment of rent, it does allow landlords to evict tenants in certain situations. With a court order, landlords can evict tenants for any of the following reasons:

      • Conducting criminal activity on the property.

      • Endangering the health and safety of other tenants.

      • Damaging or posing an immediate risk of damage to the property.

      • Violating health and safety codes.

      • Breaking the lease in ways other than nonpayment of rent or late fees.

What can landlords do about missed rent?

If you're struggling due to tenants not paying rent, certain programs can help. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 created a $25 billion rental assistance relief fund. And, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 allotted a further $21.55 billion in emergency rental assistance for both landlords and tenants.

As a landlord, you can apply to this program to get 80% of the rent you're owed covered. In exchange for this rental assistance, you have to forgive the other 20% of what tenants owe. While this won't make up for all the rent owed, it can go a long way to help you pay for your mortgage, taxes, and other property expenses.

Tenants can also apply for rental assistance directly for up to 12 months. With this assistance, tenants can pay missed rent and utilities. By default, this rental assistance is paid directly to the person owed payment (such as the landlord). In the case that the landlord or utility providers don't want to accept direct payments, the assistance can be paid to the tenant.

Wrapping up

At the beginning of the pandemic, Congress enacted an eviction moratorium, which was later extended by the CDC and then on a state-by-state basis. This eviction moratorium prevents landlords from evicting tenants due to nonpayment of rent if tenants qualify for protection. If you are a landlord or tenant struggling due to missed rent, rental assistance established by two congressional acts can help.

With eviction moratoriums still in place in a few states, the last thing you need to worry about is how to pay for damages to your property. Whether it's a natural disaster, an accidental fire, or other damages, you need the peace of mind and protection the right landlord insurance coverage can provide.

With Obie, you can save an average of 25% on landlord insurance. Not to mention the time you save by using Obie's modern, transparent, and completely online process.

Get your landlord insurance quote today to protect your property.

Fall brings to mind cozy sweaters, colorful leaves, and cooler weather. And for many homeowners, it may be a reminder that winter is coming and homes need to be winterized in preparation.


As a landlord, you may not have winterizing as a top-of-mind activity, especially if your rental property is in a state not known for cold weather. However, with the weather being increasingly unpredictable due to climate change, it’s a good idea for anyone to prepare their home for cold snaps. 


Here, we’ve rounded up our top list of fall chores to help you prepare for winter. Get started early so your tenants aren’t left in the cold come winter.

8 fall chores to winterize your rental property

1. Clean out the gutters

If your home has gutters, there’s a good chance leaves and debris are collecting inside and blocking water from flowing down. Gutters should be cleaned twice a year, once in the fall and again in the spring.


There’s a reason gutter cleaning is a regularly outsourced job; chances are high that you have a local gutter cleaning company in your area. If you’re looking to save money, gutters can be cleaned out in a few hours with the help of a sturdy ladder, a small shovel, and a hose. 


Left uncleaned, gutters can cause a whole host of problems. Overflowing gutters can lead to flooding in basements, water damage to the roof, and damage to landscaping. If you’re going to start with a chore, this one should be high-priority.

2. Seal any cracks or holes

While you’re outside checking out your gutters, take a look at the exterior of your building. See any cracks between the siding, trim, windows, and doors? Caulk is an inexpensive way to close off these gaps and protect your house from cold air seeping in. You’ll stop moisture from coming in too, which can save you the worry of mold later down the road.


Sealing up holes will also prevent unwanted wildlife from sheltering in your home. Mice can fit through holes that are only millimeters wide, so be sure to not overlook even the smallest of gaps. We love our furry friends, but we’d prefer them not to be chewing through bags of food in the pantry.

3. Have your HVAC serviced

Servicing your HVAC system should be a must-do on any landlord’s maintenance list. Furnace filters should be changed about every three months, depending on usage and size of the filters. Letting your filters get too dirty can lead to a faster breakdown of your furnace and inefficiencies.


An HVAC technician will also check to make sure your furnace is running properly, that there are no leaks or problems with wiring, and that your thermostat is working efficiently. 


Tip: Companies are busier with emergency calls for broken furnaces later in the season. If you don’t want to be the emergency call, schedule your service before a cold snap hits.

4. Prepare your plumbing

There’s nothing worse than getting a call in the middle of the night from your tenants after a pipe has burst. Flooding, water damage, mold...the list of problems this can cause goes on. 


Be prepared early. If applicable, turn off your outdoor water supply or insulate it using pipe foam insulation. Disconnect any hoses and let the water fully drain out. Check the outside of your building for any cracks — cold air can seep in here and lower the indoor temperature, causing pipes to freeze and burst.


Tip: Tell your tenants to keep the thermostat at 55 degrees or higher, even if they are going out of town. This can prevent your indoor pipes from freezing while the unit is unoccupied. 

5. Clean your chimney

Chimney sweepers have evolved since Mary Poppins’ time. If you have a chimney in your property, it’s recommended you have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional once a year. Without this, flammable creosote may build up and cause an unwanted fire.


Think your tenant doesn’t use the fireplace? You may have some unpaying tenants you don’t know about — squirrels, birds, and other critters often seek refuge inside chimneys. Regularly attending to your chimney can clear these friends out and keep your flue clear. 

6. Buy a good deicer and other winter tools

Don’t leave your tenants to brave icy sidewalks on their own. Whether or not you have snow removal in your rental agreements, be a good landlord and keep a bag of a deicing agent such as salt or sand in any common outdoor spaces. 


Tip: Only use as much deicer as needed. Salt can damage wood, rust metal, and harm plants.


No one wants a tenant to slip and fall on their property. If you don’t provide snow removal services, consider keeping a shovel on-hand in a common area such as a basement or garage. 

7. Set up a schedule for snow removal

If you own a larger property, such as an apartment building, you may be legally required to clear snow from sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, and other common areas.


Hiring out snow removal reduces liability for people falling or hurting themselves on your property. For buildings with parking lots, it’s worth hiring a plowing service to clear the way for your tenants’ vehicles.


Tip: Snow removal companies book up — don’t wait until the first major snowfall to call. Start researching companies in the fall to sign a contract before winter.

8. Clean up your yard

In addition to hiring a snow removal company, consider a landscaping company to help clean up leaves, trim dead branches, and aerate your lawn. If you have a smaller yard, these are likely easier chores. Make sure to rake well — leaves left on the ground all winter will smother grass, leaving you with dead spots come spring.


Also keep an eye on any overhanging branches on your roof or garage. Heavy snow can snap these branches, causing damage to the exterior of your house. 

Winter is coming. Get ahead while you can

While winter weather has certainly been unpredictable these past few years, there’s one thing we know for sure: you can never be too over prepared when it comes to your investment property. Being proactive now saves time, money, and headaches later down the road. Follow this fall checklist for homeowners to reduce your chance of damage to your home or your tenants.


You can never be too careful though — and that’s where landlord insurance comes into play. Does your insurance cover everything you need it to? Try Obie, instant and modern insurance for landlords. No paperwork. No hassle. You’ll get a quote same-day. 


Get started with your Obie quote.


Do you regularly inspect your rental property? Sure, you invest in your property upfront. Buying it, updating it, advertising it, and more.

But, do you periodically check on your investment once renters move in? If you’re like many landlords, the answer is no.

However, without regular inspections, you’ll miss small problems until they become costly and difficult to fix. And, you have no idea how well tenants are taking care of your property. So, routine inspections are a must if you want to protect your investment.

How should you conduct regular inspections? That’s what we’ll cover in this post. But, first, let’s take a look at what exactly property inspections are.

What is a rental property inspection?

A rental property inspection is a survey of the condition of your property inside and out. By looking at things such as walls, floors, faucets, landscaping, and more, you can get an idea of how tenants are taking care of your property. 

Why are rental property inspections important?

Rental property inspections help you get in front of issues. For example, your tenants might notice a leaky faucet. But, they don’t think it’s a big deal. So, they don’t mention it to you until water damage signs are obvious. If you had inspected your property, you could have addressed the leaky faucet before it caused expensive water damage. 

And, property inspections also help you reduce your liability. By regularly inspecting your property, you can find any potential injury-causing problems. And, fix them quickly. This minimizes the risk of tenant injury and your liability. 

What types of rental property inspections are there?

There are 4 main types of rental property inspections:

Move-in inspection

A move-in inspection happens when a new tenant moves into your property. You walk through the property with the tenant and record its condition. That way, you know what damage was already there. And, what damage your tenant caused when they move out. 

Drive-by inspection

As the name suggests, you conduct this inspection by driving by your property. This is a quick way to check for exterior issues. And, check for any tenant problems – such as unauthorized roommates or pets. You should do drive-by inspections on different days and times. That way, you can catch a variety of problems. 

Routine inspections

Routine inspections involve going into your property to check for any issues. Generally, you walk through the interior and around the exterior with the tenant. You should check for any issues tenants miss – like leaky faucets that could be causing water damage. And, you should check for tenant damages – so they can fix them before moving out. Tenants can also bring any issues they’ve noticed to your attention during routine inspections.

Move-out inspection

When your tenants move out, you also need to do an inspection. You should compare the current condition of the property with your notes from the move-in inspection. While wear and tear is expected, you should check to make sure tenants haven’t damaged anything. If you do find tenant damages, you can usually pay for the repairs with the security deposit. 

How can I make sure my inspections are legal?

Although you own your property, you don’t have the right to access it whenever after you rent it out. Tenants have the legal right to privacy and quiet enjoyment of their home. So, you can’t spring random inspections on tenants. And, you can’t inspect so frequently that it makes it impossible for tenants to have quiet enjoyment.

To make sure your inspections are legal, you should give tenants at least 24-hour notice before entering the property. Some states require 48-hour notice or more. So, you should check your state laws to make sure you’re notifying tenants early enough.

You should also explain to tenants the purpose of the inspection. That way, tenants don’t feel like you’re arbitrarily showing up just to bug them. 

And, you shouldn’t inspect more than every three months. Otherwise, you could be preventing your tenants from quiet enjoyment of their home. While these tips are a starting point, always be sure to check your state laws before conducting routine inspections.

How often should I inspect my rental property?

There is no one-size-fits-all for how often you should inspect your property. However, a common routine inspection schedule is either quarterly or twice a year. You can also do seasonal inspections twice yearly to make sure your HVAC and other seasonal equipment is in good shape. 

What should I look for during a rental property inspection?

Here are the top areas you should check during your routine inspections:

Overall exterior condition

You should look at all aspects of the outside of your property. From roofing, to gutters, to siding, and more, you should check to make sure everything is in working order. You should also check on any trees and plants. Dead trees can be a hazard to your property. And, a weed-infested and messy yard can lead to neighbor complaints.

Overall interior condition

While you need to check specific aspects of the inside of your property, it’s also a good idea to access the overall condition. You should take notice of any odors, clutter, overflowing trash, and other signs your tenants may not be taking care of your property.

Floors and walls

You should inspect for any holes in the walls or unauthorized paint. For the floors, you should check the condition of any carpet, wood, or other flooring. Any tears in the carpet are easy to fix if you catch them early. The same is true for scruffs or scrapes on wood floors. If you notice any of these issues caused by tenants, you can ask them to change problematic behavior (like dragging furniture) to prevent further issues. 

Doors and windows

For doors and windows, you should check for any cracks, loose seals, or leaks. You should also make sure door and window locks are working properly. And, check to make sure tenants haven’t rekeyed any locks.

Water leaks, damage, and mold

It’s easy for tenants to miss water leaks, especially when they’re in out of the way places (like under the kitchen sink). Water leaks are much easier to fix than damage. So, you want to catch leaks before they lead to damage. 

You should also look for any mold. Even if you don’t find mold, you should make sure your property is as mold-proof as possible. This includes lower humidity, regular bathroom cleanings with mold killers, and even mold-resistant paint. That way, you can prevent the problem – instead of paying for costly mold remediation. 

Appliances

Another area you should inspect is appliances. You want to make sure they’re clean and in working order. This reduces the chance of any appliance fires or other dangerous malfunctions. 

Air filters

Clean air filters are essential to a properly functioning HVAC. Dirty air filters put more strain on your HVAC – shortening its lifespan. So, you might have to replace it sooner if your tenants aren’t changing air filters at least quarterly. During your inspection, you should check the air filters. And, discuss with tenants the importance of routinely changing their air filters.

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors save lives. So, it’s important to make sure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working during your inspection. Plus, even though tenants are responsible for changing detector batteries, you could face liability problems if tenants are injured due to detectors not working. 

Pests

Pests like termites, mice, ants, bees, scorpions, and more can all cause issues for your tenants and your property. So, you should regularly inspect your property for any pests. And, you should have your property routinely sprayed to prevent pests.

Unauthorized pets

Whether you allow some pets or none at all, you don’t want unauthorized pets on your property. However, most tenants won’t have unauthorized pets present for routine inspections. So, to catch any unauthorized pets, you should look for signs like pet toys, hair, or even chew marks. 

Smoking

The smell of smoke can be almost impossible to get rid of. You have to strip all paint and completely replace any carpet. So, if your lease prohibits smoking, be sure to check for any signs of smoking during your inspection. That way, you can catch and stop it early – minimizing damage.

Ask tenants

Your tenants live on your property every day. So, they’re a great resource for uncovering problems. During your inspection, be sure to ask tenants if they’ve noticed any problems. If they have, you should fix them promptly. That way, you can reduce any damage and minimize your liability. 

Schedule your inspection and protect your property

Property inspections can help you catch any problems before they become costly to resolve. Whether the issues are tenant caused or not, property inspections help you avoid any unwanted surprises. And, routine inspections can help you minimize the likelihood of tenant injury and your liability.

While property inspections can help you catch problems, there are some issues out of your control. Events like natural disasters, floods, and accidental fires can cause significant damage to your property. And, it’s hard to prepare for these problems. 

So, what can you do to protect your property from these types of events?

The right landlord insurance is your best bet. Landlord insurance can help you pay for repairs. And, some policies can even help replace lost rental income. 

Looking for great landlord insurance? Consider Obie. We take a modern approach to landlord insurance – with a fast, transparent, and online quote. And, you could save an average of 25%.

Get an instant landlord insurance quote online today to fully protect your property.

You get a call — your tenant is seriously injured. He was walking up the front steps of your rental when he fell, breaking his leg and pelvis. He needs surgery and will be out of work until it heals.

Of course, you feel bad. That step has always been uneven. And, you have to walk carefully over it not to fall. You hope your tenant recovers quickly and can get back to his life. But, that’s the end of it for you, right?

Unfortunately, no. You could be held liable for your tenant’s injury. So, your tenant could sue you to recoup medical costs and any other damages. This can range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. Not to mention the lawyer fees you have to pay to mount your defense.

If you didn’t know you could be held liable for tenants injuring themselves on your property, you’re not alone. In this post, we’ll cover when you could be liable for tenant injuries. And, steps to protect yourself from liability. Let’s get started by looking at when you might be liable:

What can landlords be held liable for?

The good news is that you aren’t liable for every tenant injury. You’re only liable for injuries caused/contributed to by something you did or didn’t do (like not fixing a broken step). Or, when you acted carelessly. 

Here’s a deeper look into some scenarios when you could be liable for tenant injuries:

Hidden danger

If you know of something that could injure your tenants but don’t tell them, you could be held liable. 

For example, your rental might have an uneven floor. The unevenness has caused you and previous tenants to trip frequently. But, you don’t mention it to the current tenants. If your tenants injure themselves because of that uneven floor, you could be held liable.

Failure to do legally obligated maintenance

Any maintenance you’re supposed to do (like maintaining common areas) but don’t could result in liability if your tenants are injured.

For example, you’re supposed to maintain common areas in multi-unit properties. But, if you fail to maintain a railing in the common area stairs, you could be liable if a tenant falls and is injured. 

Foreseeable accident

You could also be held liable if you fail to prevent a reasonably foreseeable accident. 

For example, if there’s a loose gutter you need to repair, you could be held liable if it falls and injures your tenant. It’s reasonably foreseeable that an unsecured gutter could fall and hurt someone. So, you could be held liable for not fixing the gutter or not putting signage warning tenants during repairs. 

Failure to fix a problem

If your tenants inform you of a safety concern, you could be held liable for not fixing it. You could also be held liable for not fixing it promptly.  

For example, your tenant might inform you of growing damage to a support column in their parking area. If you do nothing to fix this problem, you could be held liable if the parking structure collapses and injures your tenant. You could also be held liable if you take too long to address the problem, during which time your tenant is injured.

Careless fix

Even if you do fix a problem, you could be held liable for tenant injury if you fix the problem carelessly.

For example, you might fix a broken stair. However, you fix it haphazardly, without making sure it can support the right amount of weight. If your tenant falls through that step and gets injured, you could be held liable for that injury. 

Crime

While you’re not liable for all crimes that happen on your property, you can be held liable in certain instances. If you don’t inform tenants of past criminal incidents or take measures to prevent them, you could be held liable for tenant injury. 

For example, your rental might have been broken into in the past. However, you don’t mention that to your tenants. And, you don’t increase security to keep it from happening again. If your tenant is injured due to a break-in, you could be held liable. 

Law violations 

If you violate safety laws on your property and your tenant is injured, you could be held liable.

For example, your rental may have wiring that’s not up to code. But, you don’t fix it. If tenants are injured in a fire sparked by unsafe wiring, you could be held liable for their injuries because you violated the law. 

This isn’t an exhaustive list of all scenarios when you could be held liable for tenant injury. You could be held liable for any situation you know of that could cause tenant injury. But, it does cover some of the most common liability cases. 

When aren’t landlords liable for tenant injuries?

While you can be held liable for many tenant injuries, you aren’t liable for every injury. One of the most common situations you won’t be liable for is when tenants cause their own injury.

If your tenant falls on your stairs, it might not be your fault. The tenant may have failed to tie his shoe. A court could find that the failure to tie the shoe was a larger cause of the accident than any unevenness on the stairs. In this case, you aren’t liable for tenant injury because it was his fault. 

How can landlords prevent liability issues?

You can’t eliminate all possible injury-causing situations. However, you can take steps to minimize the likelihood of tenant injury and your liability.

One way to minimize liability issues is to regularly inspect your property. With regular inspections, you can uncover issues. And, fix them before they can injure tenants.

Another way to prevent liability issues is to fix any problems you know of quickly. If a tenant informs you of a broken stair railing, you should fix it as soon as possible. You shouldn’t wait weeks or months to take action. Instead, you should fix it the next day to avoid potential liability. 

You should also conduct preventive maintenance. By regularly maintaining crucial systems (like HVAC) and structures (like stairs), you can keep your property in great shape. This helps you prevent any problems from happening – instead of just fixing them after the fact.

Taking these steps can help you reduce your liability for tenant injury.

How can landlords protect themselves from liability?

Minimizing injury-causing situations might not be enough. Even with the proper precautions, your tenants could get injured. And, you could be held liable.

So, what can you do to protect yourself if this happens?

The best way to minimize losses related to injury liability is to get landlord insurance. Your homeowner’s insurance policy likely doesn’t provide the right liability coverage. If you rely on homeowner’s insurance for your rental property, you could be on the hook for all tenant medical and legal expenses related to the injury.

You should make sure your landlord insurance policy comes with liability protection. The average landlord liability insurance usually provides $1,000,000 in liability coverage. If you have a lot of rentals, you might want to look into more liability coverage. 

Don’t have landlord insurance?

Protect yourself and your investment today by getting your Obie landlord insurance quote. It’s fast and easy to get your quote. And you can save up to 25% on landlord insurance. 


Do you really need landlord insurance?


You already have a homeowners policy that’s worked great for your home.


So, it should provide enough coverage for your rental, right?


Unfortunately, it won’t.


A homeowner’s policy won’t cover a home you don’t live in. If you only have a homeowners policy to protect your rental property, you will have to pay for any damages that would normally be covered by a home policy.

In this post, we’ll cover the difference between homeowners and landlord insurance. And, how to know which is right for you. To start, let’s look at the similarities of both policies.

How are landlord and homeowners insurance similar?

For this comparison, we’re going to look at HO3 (homeowner) and DP3 (landlord) policies. HO3 is the most common homeowners insurance policy. It is an open peril/risk policy. So, your property is protected from most damage, except for any perils explicitly excluded in your policy.


DP3 is also an open peril/risk policy. Some common exclusions for DP3 policies are earth movement, flood, power failure, mold, neglect, and government action. But, always refer to your exclusions specific policy for all exclusions. 


Both HO3 and DP3 policies cover the residence. And, they can cover any other structures on the property. Plus, both policies can cover personal items, loss of use, and personal liability.

Now that you know how they’re similar, let’s move on to how they differ.


How are homeowners and landlord insurance different?

Both HO3 and DP3 policies offer similar coverage. However, what coverage is standard and what risks each policy protects against are different. Here’s a look at these differences:

Coverage Homeowners (HO3) Landlord (DP3)
A - Building Covers the building and all attached structures Covers the building and all attached structures
B - Other Structures Covers other buildings on the property not attached to the main structure. May need to be endorsed* Covers other buildings on the property not attached to the main structure.
C - Personal Property Household belongings like furniture and clothing. Some items like electronics may have limited coverage May need to be endorsed* Some policies may include coverage for appliances or a lawnmower, for example. Tenants should have renters insurance policy to cover their items and liability.
D - Loss of Use Coverage for living elsewhere when home is not livable. May need to be endorsed* Called Loss of Rents. Recover lost rent while property is not rentable due to a covered claim.
E - Personal Liability Covers accidental property damage or bodily injury that you are liable for. $1,000,000 in liability coverage is common for a landlord. Tenants should have renters insurance for extra liability protection.
F - Medical Payments Covers guests’ medical bills if they are injured on property. Not included.

*Ask your insurance provider or review your policy documents to confirm your coverage and limits.


Landlord insurance is designed to protect a property you don’t live in. So, DP3 policies usually cover the residence and can cover other structures on the property.


Unlike HO3 policies, DP3 policies generally don’t cover personal property. However, DP3 policies can cover items you leave on the property – like appliances or a lawnmower. So, your tenants need rental insurance to cover their items.


Landlord insurance can also offer loss of rent coverage. If tenants can’t live on your property due to a covered claim, this insurance could cover your lost rent. That way, you don’t have to worry about making up for rent while doing repairs.


Another difference between HO3 and DP3 policies is liability protection. HO3 policies generally have standard liability protection. But, it doesn’t extend to business activities – like renting out your property.

With DP3, you need to add liability protection. This protection covers business-related liability. For landlords, $1,000.000 in liability coverage is recommended. This protects you if tenants injure themselves on your property due to your negligence. So, you’re not on the hook for their medical and legal expenses.

One last difference between HO3 and DP3 policies is cost. Landlord insurance generally costs 15-20% more than homeowners insurance. That’s because insuring renters is more risky. Renters cause more damage and claims than homeowners, which is most costly for your insurance company.

Is landlord insurance right for me?

If you’re renting a property, landlord insurance is probably the right choice. HO3 and DP3 policies have similar core offerings. A major difference is that HO3 policies cover a home you live in. And, DP3 policies cover a home you rent out.

So, if you rent out your property, a homeowners policy likely won’t cover it. That means you need landlord insurance to be protected in the event of damage to your property. Or, if you’re liable for tenant injuries.

The exception to this is if you rent out part of your primary residence. If you rent out a room or your basement, landlord insurance usually won’t cover you. In that case, you should get a comprehensive homeowners policy instead.

Protect yourself and your investment today by getting your landlord insurance quote from Obie.







So, you want to be a landlord? You want to rent out your property to earn extra income and build wealth. Plus, it’s pretty easy to rent out a home, right?

You just need to post an ad and great tenants will find you. Or so you think.

Unfortunately, renting out your property is a bit more complicated. Good tenants can be hard to find. And, keeping your property in good physical, financial, and legal shape can be challenging. Especially for a first-time landlord. 

However, with a solid plan and the right tips, you can be a successful landlord. That’s why we created this post. In it, you’ll learn the top tips to help you thrive as a landlord. Let’s start with the first tip – screen your tenants.

1. Rigorously screen tenants

Having good tenants is essential to having a successful rental property. Good tenants pay rent on time. And, they take care of your property. Bad tenants, however, rarely pay rent on time (or at all). And, they can cause extensive damage to your property. This could end up costing you more than you make from your rental. 

So, how can you make sure you have good tenants?

You should conduct a background and credit check. And, you should look for tenants with steady income, no history of evictions, a good credit score, references from past landlords, and a history of making payments on time (to name a few). 

2. Don’t be friends with your tenants

If you screen your tenants properly, you’ll end up with good people as your tenants. As cool as your tenants may be, you shouldn’t befriend them.

 

You’re in a business relationship with your tenants. At the beginning of every month, you need to collect money from them. It’s harder to collect rent from or charge late fees to friends. Or, if the worst happens, evict them. 

So, it’s important to be approachable and friendly, while maintaining a professional relationship. 

3. Charge the right rate

If you price your rental too high, no one will rent it. But, if you price it too low, you’ll lose money each month. Plus, having your property priced correctly can help you get tenants quickly. 

When setting your rate, you should look at other similar properties nearby. This can give you a base rental price. Then, you can adjust it up or down based on interior finishings, amenities, neighborhood desirability, and more. 

It’s important to make sure your rental rate covers your expenses. Like mortgage, maintenance, and HOA. And, you should aim to make a profit on top of covering your expenses. Pricing your property right can help you do that and attract great tenants. 

4. Make smart updates

To get the most for your property, it needs to be in good shape. Not outdated or dirty. So, you should think about sprucing up your rental with things like a fresh coat of paint, durable and stylish flooring, and midrange appliances (if needed). 

However, you should avoid any over-the-top upgrades. Renters won’t pay significantly more for top-of-the-line appliances, quartz counters, or spa bathrooms. So, you won’t get a good return on investment for lavish projects. 

5. Make it easy to pay rent

Making sure your tenants pay rent is your top priority. If tenants have to jump through hoops to pay rent, they’re less likely to pay rent on time – or at all.

So, it should be easy for tenants to pay rent. Technology is a great way to make paying rent easy. One option is an online rent portal. You could also have an app tenants can use to pay rent. Whatever tech you choose should make it effortless for tenants to pay rent. 

6. Know rent laws

The last thing you want is to get in legal trouble over your rental property. So, you need to know federal, state, and local rent laws. That way, you know how you might have to accommodate tenants. And, what rights tenants may have once they move in that could be detrimental to you. 

7. Have a good lease

Your lease is a legally binding agreement on rules you and your tenant have to follow. If you have a weak lease, your tenant could get away with paying rent late, damaging your property, and more. 

A good lease should have the rental term, rental amount, payment schedule, rental insurance requirements, repair and maintenance policies, maximum number of occupants, and rules and regulations (to name a few).

8. Keep records

Renting property is a business. As such, you need to keep detailed records of your income and expenses. Otherwise, you won’t know if your property is profitable. And, you’ll lack the documentation you need at tax time. 

You should also keep records of leases, tenant documents, interactions with tenants, and more. That way, you have records in case of a problem down the road. Or, if tenants need their rental records. 

9. Save rental income

When you first start renting your property, it’s tempting to spend rental income. After you pay your mortgage, your rental profit is fair game, right?

Not exactly. It’s a smart idea to save excess rental income in an emergency fund. That way, if you find yourself without tenants unexpectedly, you can still pay your mortgage. You should save 3-6 months mortgage and expenses to make sure you’ve covered. 

10. Have a good team

Running a rental property is so much more than just finding tenants. You need to make sure you’re legally protected. And, you need to have your finances in order. Plus, you need to fix things that go wrong on your property and do regular maintenance. 

You can’t do everything your property needs yourself. So, you need a great team to help. Your team should have an accountant, handyman, rental/eviction attorney, real estate agent, appraiser, and insurance provider (among others). That way, when something goes wrong, you have a team of professionals to help you get through it. 

11. Get landlord insurance

Often overlooked, landlord insurance is crucial to your success as a landlord. If a natural disaster strikes, a fire burns down your property, or any other event damages your rental, you could have to pay for the repairs yourself. 

You could also be on the hook for repairs if you have a homeowner’s insurance policy instead of a landlord insurance policy. 

However, if you have landlord insurance, you could get help paying for repairs. And, landlord insurance could protect you from liability if tenants injure themselves on your property. Plus, landlord insurance could compensate you for missed rent while making repairs. 

With all the time and resources you put into being a landlord, it only makes sense to protect your investment. 

Wrapping it up

Being a first-time landlord is exciting. It offers you an additional revenue stream. And, helps you get the most out of your property.

But, it can also be challenging to ensure your property is profitable. You need great tenants, the right rental rate, an awesome team, and more. Following the tips in this article can help you reach profitability quicker. And, with less stress. 

One way to make being a landlord less stressful is by choosing the right landlord insurance provider. The traditional landlord insurance process is time-consuming and tedious. Instead, choose the modern approach. That’s what we do at Obie. You can get a quote in minutes. And, the process is online and transparent. 

Plus, with Obie, you could save an average of 25% on landlord insurance.

Protect your rental property by getting your quote from Obie today.

It is an important day for the Obie team. Today we are announcing an $10.7M Series A led by Michael Brown and Battery Ventures who are joined by a host of new and previous investors including Thomvest Ventures, Funders Club, Second Century Ventures, and Metaprop.


We are a company started by two brothers – first real estate investors and now insurance junkies. We saw chronic problems throughout the real estate insurance market so we’re reinventing the process from the bottom up. We are starting at the intersection of insurance and technology which allows us to address the insurance needs of independent investors and landlords that have largely been ignored by insurance carriers despite the majority of real estate investment being in small unit count and small square foot properties.


Whether you are a landlord with one rental or an investor with over 2,500 units, the process to obtain insurance is dysfunctional. We knew this process needed to change. That notion, and a love for building products that make people happy, became our mission.


We are proud to be reinventing the insurance experience by providing a simple, affordable, and transparent insurance process for landlords and real estate investors. We are using technology to make the process faster and more efficient, and humans to help make the experience more friendly and enjoyable. Whether you are a seasoned investor or just getting started, Obie is right for you. We treat all our customers how we would want to be treated, a philosophy that has allowed us to offer the best insurance and cover over $3.5 billion in rental property within the past 24 months. 


Building something from the ground up is incredibly hard; building something that challenges the status quo is even harder.  


We have been building a team that is diverse in knowledge and experience and half of our team are landlords themselves - we understand the problems first-hand and are committed to finding a solution. We could not do any of this without our team members, both past and present. This announcement is dedicated to each one of you: 


Aaron, Adam, Andrew, Audrey, Brian, Bryan, Brandon, Curtis, David, Dominic, Danielle, Evan, Erin, Giancarlo, Geo, Huy, Joe, JB, John, Jonathan, Kara, Laura, Leslie, Matt, Nem, Nikita, Pablo A. and Pablo B., Richard, Ryan, Steve, Tim, Thomas, and Zack.


Thank you for your hard work. You have made it possible to get this far.


Interested in joining the team? We are hiring! We have a few openings for some impressive people that want to join us for this journey.


Want to learn more about Obie? Get a quote.


Please send any press inquiries to press@obierisk.com


It’s the middle of the night. Your tenants are sound asleep. Outside, a storm is raging. Lighting flashes every few seconds.

After a loud clap of thunder, a stray bolt of lightning hits your property – catching it on fire. Your tenants make it out safely. However, your property isn’t as lucky — it has extensive fire damage.  And, until you repair it, your tenants can’t live there.

But, how are you going to pay for repairs? And, how are you going to make up for lost rental revenue during repairs?

If you have the right landlord insurance policy, you don’t have to worry. The replacement value of your property could be covered. And, some policies will also cover lost rental revenue. All you have to pay is a deductible. 

However, if you have a standard homeowner’s insurance policy, everything won’t be covered. As such, you’ll be on the hook for tens of thousands to repair your property. 

To fully protect your property, you need a landlord insurance policy. Don’t know how to choose the right one? We’ve got you covered. In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about landlord insurance. To start, let’s look at what exactly landlord insurance is. 

What is landlord insurance?

Landlord insurance (also known as a dwelling fire policy) provides financial protection if your property is damaged or becomes unlivable after events like fires. 

Unlike homeowner’s policies, landlord insurance typically doesn’t cover all contents of your property. Some contents like fixtures could be covered. Instead, it covers the dwelling itself, surrounding structures, and anything you leave there to help maintain the property (like a lawnmower). 

While not in every landlord insurance policy, you should make sure your policy specifically covers lost rent due to damage to your property. This lost rent coverage doesn’t cover vacancies unrelated to property damage. And, some landlord insurance policies also offer liability protection. If someone gets injured on your property, this liability coverage protects you from having to pay for their expenses out of pocket.

What does landlord insurance cover?

A landlord insurance policy covers your property – not the contents. But, what exactly does this coverage include?

It depends on the policy you choose. There are 3 common landlord insurance policies:

DP1

DP (dwelling policy)1 insurance has the least coverage of the 3 types. This insurance only covers 10 perils – which are events that could cause damage. If your property is damaged by a peril that’s not included, the policy doesn’t help you pay for repairs. 

If one of those events happens, the policy will pay you the actual cash value (ACV) to repair the damage. ACV is the replacement cost minus any depreciation. 

There can be tens of thousands of dollars difference between depreciated materials and new materials. As such, you have to pay more out of pocket to fully repair your property. 

DP3

DP3 offers the most comprehensive coverage. It’s also the most popular landlord insurance type. Instead of only covering specified perils, DP3 is an open peril/risk policy. So, it covers a wide variety of damage causes. 

Unlike DP1 policies, DP3 policies may pay out replacement cost value (RCV). So, if your property is damaged by a covered event, your insurance may pay out the full cost to restore your property to its undamaged condition. Not the depreciated value of the materials. This can save you tens of thousands of dollars if your property is ever damaged. 

And, DP3 insurance can also cover loss of rent. If you can’t pay your mortgage without rental income, you should consider having loss of rent coverage. That way, you don’t risk losing your property if damage occurs. 

And, DP3 policies generally include liability protection. If a tenant injured themselves on your property, you could have to pay for their medical expenses. With DP3, your insurance will cover any medical expenses related to liability. 

Landlord Business Owner Policy (BOP)

Business owner policies are typically for small, low-risk businesses – like real estate investments. 

A Landlord BOP combines business property and liability coverage into one policy. So, it can cover damage to your property. And, it can protect you in the case of liability from things like tenant injuries on your property.

This policy can also include loss of income protection. If tenants can’t live in your property while you’re repairing covered damage, a landlord business owner policy could compensate you for this missed rent.

Optional Coverage

Along with the main landlord insurance types, you can also opt for supplemental coverage for events not covered by your policy. Some examples include vandalism and burglary coverage and building code protection. If any of these events happen, you’ll be protected if you choose optional coverage. 

What isn’t covered by landlord insurance?

What’s covered is determined by the policy type you choose. But, there are a few things that aren’t covered by landlord insurance.

Maintenance problems

Your landlord insurance won’t cover all appliance breakdowns or equipment (like your furnace) malfunctions. Some mechanical problems and equipment breakdowns could be covered. But, you may have to pay out of pocket to fix maintenance or equipment issues. 

Tenant contents

Landlord insurance protects your property, mainly the dwelling itself. It doesn’t include any protection for tenant items – like their furniture or other personal belongings. So, it’s always a good idea to encourage tenants to have a rental policy. That way, both you and your tenant are protected in the event of damage.

Shared property

If you live on the property and rent out part of it, a landlord policy likely won’t cover anything. It’s best to get a comprehensive homeowner’s policy if you own a shared property. 

Do I really need landlord insurance coverage? How is it different from homeowner’s insurance?

At first glance, homeowner’s and landlord insurance can seem nearly identical. But, landlord insurance offers a few important benefits that make it essential for every landlord.

Liability coverage

Many homeowner’s policies offer personal liability coverage. However, this liability protection doesn’t extend to business activities – like renting out property. So, if you rely on a homeowner’s policy, you could be on the hook for tenant medical expenses if they’re injured. 

Landlord insurance provides business liability protection. So, you’re covered if any injuries happen on your property. 

Additional coverage

Homeowner’s policies focus on covering the structure and its contents. 

Instead, you need specialized coverage like lost rental income or ordinance and law coverage. If you rely only on a homeowner’s policy, you’ll have to make up for the lost rent on your own. Or, pay for building code updates during repairs yourself. So, having a landlord insurance policy ensures you’re better covered.

What's not covered

Some homeowner’s policies won’t cover a property you don’t live in. So, you might think your rental property is covered by your homeowner’s policy. But, when you need to file a claim, you’ll find that the property isn’t covered because you don’t live there.

To avoid paying for repairs entirely out of pocket, you need a landlord-specific policy. Since these policies are made for landlords, you can rest easy knowing you’re covered.

What’s the cost of landlord insurance?

Landlord insurance usually costs between 15-20% more than homeowner’s insurance. That’s because insuring renters is a higher risk. Since they don’t own the property, renters aren’t as careful. This results in more damage and claims – which costs the insurance company more. 

In recent years, the average homeowner’s insurance policy costs $1,249 a year. So, at a 20% increase, the average landlord insurance policy costs $1,499 yearly. Things like age, location, and rental type (short vs. long-term) play a role in how much your landlord insurance will cost. 

While landlord insurance is more expensive, there are ways you can lower your premium. One way to do that is with security and smart home features. They provide an early warning for problems like break-ins, flooding, and more. Having these features means any problems will be less severe – lowering your insurance risk and premium.

Getting your landlord insurance quote

You know you need landlord insurance. But, where do you start? With a quote of course!

The traditional process for getting your quote can be time-consuming. You go back and forth with your broker trying to find the right policy. But, brokers can be slow to respond. So, you have to wait and wait and wait for your quote.

And, when you get your quote, you have no idea why it costs what it does. Comparison shopping for landlord insurance can make the process even more time-consuming and frustrating. So, it hardly seems worth it. But, you have no idea if you’re overpaying.

Don’t go through the lengthy and difficult traditional landlord insurance process. Instead, take the modern approach. That’s what we specialize in at Obie. With our innovative approach, you can get a quote in minutes. And, the whole process is online and transparent. 

The best part? Landlords save an average of 25% on insurance with Obie. 

If you want the right coverage at an awesome price, get started by getting your quote from Obie today. 


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of challenges for tenants and landlords alike. With an eviction moratorium in place for most of 2020 and still in some states in 2021, landlords have faced pressure to keep tenants on, regardless of their ability to pay rent.

This loss of rental income may be a burden to landlords dependent on rent to pay their mortgage, property taxes, and general expenses. If you are a landlord who has suffered a loss of rental income, keep reading to find out if your landlord insurance can cover you.

Does insurance cover loss of rental income?

The short answer is yes, but only if you have the right type of insurance. While homeowners insurance will provide some liability and property damage coverage in case of an event such as a fire, landlord insurance adds extra coverage to protect landlords from risks associated with renting a property. This includes coverage for loss of rental income. 


Commercial property owners might have rental loss insurance as part of a commercial real estate policy or business interruption insurance, which covers income loss due to an unexpected event. 

Which policies typically cover loss of rental income

Landlord insurance, also called rental property insurance, covers risks associated with renting your home, apartment, or condominium to tenants for long periods of time. Coverage typically includes loss of rental income for landlords along with property damage and liability costs. A landlord insurance policy is often recommended for homeowners who rent a property for at least six months.

Loss of rental income protects landlords against the risk that a property will be unable to be rented out due to damage caused by an event covered by insurance, such as fire, lightning, wind, or hail. This rental reimbursement will ensure you do not lose the income you would have collected from rent.

A property owner’s commercial real estate insurance also may include rental loss insurance. This coverage often covers one month of rental income, but extended coverage can be added. Rental loss insurance also could be included in business interruption insurance. 

How to claim loss of rental income

Rental income losses can be reported on the Internal Revenue Service tax form 1040 Schedule E. For tax purposes, rental property losses often are considered passive losses. A passive activity loss (PAL) allows owners to deduct losses if they collect income from other sources, such as positive income from another rental property. If your rental income does not cover your losses in the tax year, you typically can carry the excess forward into future tax years.

If you are in the property management business working in activities related to that business at least half of your annual working hours, rental property income may be considered active income for taxes. A real estate professional also can deduct rental income losses. If you actively participated in a rental real estate activity, you may be able to deduct up to $25,000 of loss incurred from a rental property. Check the IRS guidelines on the rules for more information.

Note that the IRS requires taxpayers to turn a profit from a business in at least three of five consecutive years. If you claim a loss for three out of five years, the IRS will classify your business as a hobby, meaning you cannot claim related expenses on your taxes.

Get insured to claim loss of rental income

Landlord insurance and rental property insurance policies often include coverage to protect you and your business from a potential loss of income due to unexpected events. Policies can vary, so it is important to check with your insurer to confirm that the coverage includes what you need.

Looking for a new landlord insurance? Try Obie, a tech-enabled insurance with competitive rates and instant quotes. No hassle. No paperwork. See how you can get instant coverage with Obie. Start your quote now.

Natural disasters are a nightmare for your property. From brutal winter storms to hurricanes, wildfires, tornados, and more, natural disasters can cause havoc on your property.

After a disaster, cleanup isn’t the only thing you have to worry about. While you’re busy trying to repair broken pipes or patch your roof, scammers are looking to make a quick buck at your expense. 

If you’re not careful, these fraudsters could clean you out, rather than helping you clean up. So, how can you avoid these natural disaster scams? That’s what we’re going to cover in this post. Before we get into how to avoid fraud, let’s take a look at common natural disaster scams.

Common types of natural disaster scams

Not all disaster fraud is the same. So, you need to watch out for multiple different types of scams. Here are some of the most common:

Insurance

These scammers will approach you claiming to be contractors who can get to work immediately. If you sign their form, they can work directly with your insurer. Because of this, they claim they can waive insurance deductibles and offer discounted rates. 

In reality, these scammers want you to sign an assignment of benefits. This insurance document allows them to collect payments from your insurer. After they get the money, they’ll disappear. All without doing any work. 

Contractor 

Along with posing as contractors to get you to sign an assignment of benefits, scammers pose as contractors to get your money. They’ll go door to door offering to do repairs quickly, cheaply, or both. Then, they’ll demand prepayment. 

Once they get your money, these fake contractors will take off. You’ll be out the entire cost of a repair – without getting any work done. 

Posing as FEMA

Another way fraudsters might target you is by posing as Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) agents. A FEMA home inspection is the first step to getting federal aid for damages. 

Scammers use this to their advantage to collect your personal info. They’ll claim they need your social security number, bank account, or other information to process your claim. And, they might even demand payment right then for an inspection. 

In reality, FEMA agents will never ask for this information. All they need is a FEMA identification number – which you can easily register for online. 

Charity

Even if you aren’t hard hit by a natural disaster, you could still be targeted by scams. Fraudsters will set up fake charities claiming to help storm victims. But, the money you donate to these fake charities won’t help anyone. Instead, scammers will keep your donation as a profit.  

Signs of insurance scams

Along with knowing the common types of scams, you should also know the red flags to watch out for. If you encounter any of these red flags, you might be in danger of getting scammed. 

Demanding prepayment 

One common red flag is contractors or other service providers demanding prepayment. Before even beginning work, these scammers want you to pay them in full. That way, they can take off without having to do the work.

Pressure to sign a contract

Another warning sign is pressure to sign a contract. Before they can help you, fraudsters say they need you to sign a contract. But, this contract is likely to be something harmful – like an assignment of benefits.

Insisting on an assignment of benefits

Similar to pressure to sign a contract, fake contractors may pressure you to sign an assignment of benefits. That way, they can get paid directly from your insurer before taking off. 

Repair upsells 

Scammers may also inflate the number of repairs you need. So, you’ll pay them for work you don’t need. Since those repairs are unneeded, they won’t do much of the work you pay them for.  

Offering steep discounts

Claiming to have materials left over, fraudsters will tell you they can do the work much cheaper than others. However, these scammers never intend to do any work. Instead, they’ll take your money and run. 

Out of state plates

One last way to spot a scammer is by checking their license plates. Many fraudsters travel from out of state to take advantage of the disaster in other states. Since it’s hard to get a license in multiple states, you should be wary of out-of-state service providers. 

How to avoid scams and fraud

Now that you know scam types and red flags, here are some steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of natural disaster fraud. 

Skip door to door salespeople 

One way to avoid being scammed is to avoid companies that go door to door. Many reputable contractors won’t go door to door to get customers. This is usually a sales technique reserved for fake contractors, electricians, and other repair people. 

Instead, you should look for reputable companies online. Or, get recommendations from friends or family who are happy with the work done. 

Confirm identities 

You should also confirm that people are who they say they are. Scammers will often pose as government workers to get you to trust them. 

So, if a FEMA agent or other government employee approaches you, you should ask to see identification. Then, you should call the organization they claim to work for. If they can’t produce an ID or don’t check out with their organization, they’re likely trying to scam you. 

Talk to your insurance company

Your insurance company is a reliable resource to assess what repairs you actually need. Scammers will often try to upsell you. But, your insurance company will tell you what you need fixed. That way, you can avoid spending unnecessarily. 

And, your insurance company can recommend reliable contractors and other repair providers. Using their recommendations is one way to ensure you’re not scammed. 

Get multiple estimates

Another way to avoid fraud is to get multiple estimates for any work you need done. High-pressure sales tactics are a favorite of scammers. But, if you’re determined to get multiple estimates, it’s unlikely you’ll fall for their scam.

And, getting multiple estimates can help you get the best price possible.

When you get multiple estimates, you should research each company. Make sure each company has a reputable website and verified positive reviews before deciding to go with one. This reduces the chance that you’ll end up with a fraudster. 

Verify insurance

To avoid getting scammed, it’s also important to make sure your contractor or other service provider has the right insurance. So, you need to verify that they’re licensed, bonded, and insured. This helps protect you if anything goes wrong while they’re making repairs. 

If you want to further protect yourself, you can consider asking to be a named insured while they work on your property. This means you’ll be covered by their policy if something goes wrong. Another option is adding additional limits and coverage. That way, you’re not liable if there’s a problem. 

Withhold the final payment

You should only make the final payment when you’re happy with the work. Once you pay the contractor, they have little incentive to correct any problems with their work. So, you’ll be stuck with shoddy repairs. Or, in the case of fraudsters, no repairs. 

Don’t give away personal information

One last way to avoid fraud and scams is to protect your personal information. Contractors, FEMA agents, and other disaster professionals shouldn’t need your social security number. Or, your banking information. Scammers will use this information to clean out your account, take out loans in your name, and more. 

So, if anyone demands your personal information, you shouldn’t give it to them. And, you should look for another contractor or other repair service provider. That way, you avoid getting scammed. Plus, you’ll get reputable repairs done. 

Stay vigilant

After a natural disaster, you have so much to worry about. Making repairs, cleaning up debris, and more can all be costly and time-consuming. 

Unfortunately, that’s not all you have to worry about. Natural disasters are a great opportunity for scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting landlords. 

But, by knowing the types of scams, red flags to look out for, and steps you can take to avoid fraud, you can stay safe from natural disaster scams. 

Another way you can protect yourself if a natural disaster hits is by having the right coverage. As a landlord, you need a policy crafted for your specific needs. Not just an extension of your homeowner’s policy. 

If you want insurance designed for you as a landlord, that’s also fast and easy to get, consider Obie. With a speedy and transparent quote, you can be protected in the event of a natural disaster in no time at all.

Get your quote today


What is an umbrella insurance policy?

An umbrella insurance policy can provide the extra amount of liability coverage needed to cover unexpected expenses. It is used to supplement other policies’ liability coverage, including renters’, auto, and home insurance. The umbrella policy will kick in once basic liability coverage is exceeded.  

What is covered under an umbrella insurance policy?

Umbrella policies will cover excess liability costs up to the policy limit. An umbrella policy is typically used when you are sued and found at fault for an accident, such as someone getting injured at your home. Most coverage includes property damage and bodily injury liability claims. The umbrella policy also may cover expenses you are found responsible for such as others’ medical bills or funeral costs; property damage; your legal defense bills; and, if you are a landlord, injuries suffered by a tenant. It also typically covers loss of wages if a person cannot work due to injuries for which you are found liable. 

Does umbrella insurance cover lawsuits?

Umbrella insurance policies ensure protection against potential lawsuits. The insurance will protect your assets if you are found liable for property damage or bodily injuries. It also will cover costs for your legal defense if you are not found liable. 

What does an umbrella insurance policy not cover?

An umbrella policy usually does not cover costs for your own injuries or property damage; intentional or criminal acts; or liability relating to agreed-upon contracts.

Who needs an umbrella insurance policy?

If you are sued, your current and future assets, such as properties, stocks, bonds, savings, and retirement funds, could be at risk. If you want to mitigate risk and boost the protection of your assets, you should consider an umbrella insurance policy. 

When is umbrella insurance necessary?

Umbrella insurance supplements your standard insurance policies. The coverage protects your assets in many instances when you could be found liable for damages or injuries. Policies can vary, but examples of what might be covered include:

Your dog bites another dog or person and causes bodily injury;
Your teenage son or daughter drives, gets into a serious car accident and damages exceed your automobile insurance policy;
Someone drinks too much alcohol at your house then drives and gets into an accident; or
Your child’s friend is injured while using your backyard playground equipment.

Landlords might purchase an umbrella insurance policy to protect against the risk that a tenant or guest is injured at their property due to negligence, such as a wobbly handrail. An umbrella policy also may cover issues typical insurance policies do not cover, such as defending yourself and paying damages in cases of slander, libel, or false arrest. Further, an umbrella policy typically will cover liability claims for “pain and suffering,” which is often costly and associated with the psychological ramifications resulting from an incident in which you are found liable.

Is it worth having an umbrella policy?

An umbrella policy can be a relatively low-cost way to shield your assets from unexpected liability expenses and lawsuits. Legal defense costs alone can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars. The first $1 million of personal excess liability coverage costs about $150 to $300 per year, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Umbrella liability coverage can be a good way for anyone to protect against claims that put your finances at risk. People with more assets tend to buy umbrella policies more often.

When deciding whether to purchase an umbrella policy, you should also consider your lifestyle and how likely it is that you might be found at fault for someone’s injuries. For example, if you are a landlord, own a dog, hunt, or have a swimming pool, an umbrella policy might be a good investment. An umbrella insurance policy is designed to cover costs and protect your assets if you are sued by a third party and found at fault. It covers a wide variety of claims and can be a reassuring layer of protection to preserve your current and future assets.


Standard homeowners insurance policies may cover damage, liability, and sometimes theft of building supplies for properties under construction. But other types of insurance can be purchased to supplement a typical homeowners policy.

How to insure a building under construction

When building or remodeling a property, it is a good idea to close any gaps in a standard homeowners insurance policy by purchasing additional insurance. Parties such as property owners, developers, contractors, lenders, or architects might carry insurance related to a specific construction project.

Types of insurance policies for buildings under construction

There are various types of insurance policies that can be purchased to cover properties under construction. These range from protection against theft; coverage for third-party claims of damage tied to the construction project; and coverage to protect materials in transit.

What is builder’s risk insurance?

Builder’s risk insurance, also referred to as a course of construction insurance, covers properties under construction or renovation. Contractors, the property owner, or developer often carry builder’s risk insurance policies once a project is underway. This policy provides protection in case of theft or vandalism of tools or construction equipment.

Some policies also cover building materials and equipment being stored off-site. Standard coverage typically includes the cost to repair or replace building materials damaged due to fire, weather, or vandalism. The policy may provide coverage for costs associated with delays in construction due to property damage, such as lost sales or real estate taxes.

A builder’s risk policy can be customized for each project. For instance, coverage can include specific items, such as scaffolding or debris removal and disposal.

What is contractor insurance?

Contractors can choose from a variety of business insurance policies to protect them against risks associated with their projects. Among these policies are a general liability policy, workers’ compensation, builder’s risk, and commercial property. A contractor can select the policies that best suit a particular project.

A contractor typically carries a general liability policy. This covers third-party claims such as bodily injury, medical payments, or property damage related to the contractor’s work. Claims related to slander or libel also may be included in the coverage. The insurance also can cover lost, damaged, or stolen tools/equipment/damage done to the equipment being installed inside a home.

Additionally, pollution liability insurance coverage can be purchased to protect contractors found responsible for creating pollution at the construction site. Some states require contractors to show proof of a minimum amount of liability coverage before being assigned a project. Many states also require a contractor to carry worker’s compensation insurance to cover costs associated with employees with job-related injuries or illness. Workers’ compensation covers expenses such as medical bills, lost wages, and legal fees.

What is construction insurance?

Construction insurance is the general term for various insurance policies that provide protection during construction projects. 

Choosing the right building under construction insurance policy for you 

While contractors typically purchase general liability and worker’s compensation insurance, construction policies can be tailored to fit individual projects. Factors determining the type of policy required include whether an individual or business is purchasing the insurance; the person’s role in the project – such as property owner or contractor; and the type of property being insured. There are a variety of insurance options to protect property owners, developers, and contractors from risks associated with construction projects. The level and details of the coverage will vary by project. Learn more about Building Under Construction insurance and more related topics in our insurance term glossary.

Learn what earthquake insurance coverage includes and what types of plans are typically available. While not every earthquake will harm your home or business, it is a good idea to plan for potential property damage from the sudden shaking of the ground by purchasing earthquake insurance

How does earthquake insurance work?

Earthquake insurance is typically excluded from standard homeowners and renters policies. It can be purchased as an add-on to homeowners or renters insurance or as a separate policy.

It typically will cover costs up to the same amount as your homeowners’ insurance coverage amount, minus the deductible, which is usually 10 percent to 20 percent of the coverage limit.

Can you write off earthquake insurance?
Earthquake insurance premiums typically cannot be written off on income taxes.

Does FEMA cover earthquake insurance?

Earthquake insurance cannot be purchased from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Private insurance companies offer earthquake insurance as an add-on to homeowners or renters policies or it can be purchased separately.

What does earthquake insurance coverage include?

Coverage varies by policy, but earthquake insurance usually covers the cost to repair damage to your house and personal belongings inside your home resulting from an earthquake. It also will cover additional living expenses if you need to relocate while the area is evacuated or the home is being repaired.

What does earthquake insurance not cover?

Note that earthquake coverage usually excludes damage or losses from a flood or tidal wave, even if it results from an earthquake. Policies should be read closely to determine whether additional flood insurance should be purchased. Further, an earthquake policy might not include coverage for structures on your property -- such as a detached garage -- landscaping, or a pool. 

What is typically included for CRE earthquake insurance?

Commercial real estate earthquake insurance typically covers damage to your building and business property such as inventory and equipment. It also might cover the loss of income caused by the earthquake.

Coverage will begin when the damage exceeds your policy’s deductible, which is the amount you pay out-of-pocket before insurance pays. Deductibles are determined in part by a property’s age, location, and condition.

Earthquake coverage is not usually part of a general business insurance policy and must be purchased separately. Some building upgrades may be required before earthquake insurance is provided. For instance, a property might need to be bolted to its foundation. 

Is earthquake insurance worth it?

Earthquakes can strike suddenly and cause extensive damage. People in 42 states are at risk of an earthquake occurring, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Since standard homeowners and business insurance policies do not include earthquake insurance, you should consider purchasing earthquake coverage to protect your assets. 

Natural disaster insurance

A natural disaster can include events such as a hurricane, tornado, wildfire, flood, ice storm, windstorm, hail, or earthquake. 


Make sure to discuss what is covered under your policy with your insurance agent. Insurance coverage for these types of events will vary by policy, but flood and earthquake coverage is generally not covered by a homeowners policy. Also, check to see how high deductibles are and what coverage is excluded from your policy. 

What to do if your home or business is destroyed by an earthquake

Funding from federal and state programs may be available if an earthquake destroys your home or business, but it will depend on the situation and on the program’s eligibility criteria.

Generally, following an earthquake, you should notify your insurer of the property damage. You also should survey your home or business and document the damage. Take photos or videos to secure a visual record for any insurance claims. Your insurance company also might want to send an inspector to note the damage. You also might consider hiring an independent inspector to assess the damage and costs.

Utility companies also should be contacted so they can turn off water, gas, phone, and electricity lines at the property.

What happens if you don’t have earthquake insurance?

Earthquake insurance is not required by law, but you should consider purchasing insurance to protect your assets. Repairing or rebuilding a property damaged by an earthquake likely will be more expensive than purchasing insurance protection.


Earthquake insurance is not covered in standard homeowners or business policies, so it is a good idea to consider purchasing additional insurance to best protect your assets.

Learn more about earthquake insurance policies as well as other important landlord insurance terms in our dedicated insurance glossary.

Large losses following Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 spurred many insurers to change how wind and hail coverage is stipulated in homeowners insurance policies. Rather than a standard dollar wind and hail deductible, many policies now make hurricane or wind and hail damage a percentage deductible.

Understanding wind and hail deductibles

Wind and hail coverage is often part of a standard homeowners policy but may be written as a percentage deductible. Wind and hail coverage also is typically standard in all-peril insurance deductibles.

What is a percentage deductible?

With a percentage deductible, the insured pays a specified percentage of the total before coverage is triggered. For example, if a home was insured for $400,000 with a 2 percent deductible, the policyholder would pay $8,000 out of pocket before being reimbursed. Other policies might include a flat-rate deductible, such as $1,000 or $2,000.

Who needs a wind and hail policy?

Wind and hail policies are especially important in areas at high-risk for strong windstorms and hail. This includes Florida, Ohio, and states within the so-called Tornado Alley, such as Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota. Some states make windstorm and hurricane coverage mandatory for property owners. A mortgage lender also may require homeowners to purchase wind and hail insurance.

Some insurers in coastal states or counties where wind and hail storms are more common do not offer wind and hail policies. Homeowners in those locations may be able to purchase coverage through a plan set up by the state.

What does my wind and hail policy cover?

Wind and hail insurance will cover your home and personal property damaged by major wind events or hail storms. Damage caused by rain entering your home also may be covered if it was due to wind or hail creating an opening in the structure.

What is a fair wind and hail deductible?

The premium paid for wind and hail insurance will depend on the level of risk associated with the property. Factors determining the policy price include location, age, and condition of the property and the amount of coverage needed. Typically, wind and hail deductibles are 1 to 5 percent of the policyholder’s home insurance coverage.

Determining the amount of your wind and hail deductible

Homeowners should seek a deductible in line with their budget. Coastal areas or areas that typically experience wind and hail likely will have more expensive policies. An insurer might offer policyholders the option to pay a higher premium for a fixed-rate deductible rather than a percentage deductible.

How to choose a wind and hail policy

Insurers in areas where wind and hail storms are common might have a hail and wind exclusion. This means cosmetic damage to exterior surfaces such as the roof or windows would not be covered if they still function properly. Consider whether that option is suitable for you or look for a policy that offers more coverage.

How to determine if you’re getting a fair deal

Insurance companies will determine what is covered under wind and hail policies. It is a good idea to read policies closely and compare different plans and premiums before choosing the best option for your property and your budget.

Wind and hail policies are an important part of homeowners insurance. Make sure your property is covered and that the standard or percentage deductible is affordable and properly protects your assets.

Learn more about wind and hail policies as well as other important CRE insurance terms in our dedicated insurance glossary.

Property insurance policies typically will stipulate whether your coverage is based on replacement cost value or the actual cash value. Selecting the right amount of coverage can safeguard your property against unexpected events, such as a fire.

What is replacement cost value?

Replacement cost insurance is the amount it would cost to rebuild your damaged or destroyed home to its previous design or to purchase new items to replace ones that were damaged or stolen.

What is the actual cash value?

The actual cash value covers the amount an item is worth at the time it is lost, including depreciation.

Comparing replacement cost value

Most homeowners’ insurance policies automatically will insure the property at replacement cost value. It will cover the actual cost to replace items or rebuild your exact or similar home in today’s market. Factors insurers use to determine the value include the age and square footage of the property and renovations made.

Actual cash value vs. replacement cost

Replacement cost value is the more expensive insurance option because it pays for the full amount it would cost to replace the damaged or destroyed items with new ones. Covering 100 percent of a property’s replacement cost will protect you in case of a total loss. Insurance should be recalculated following upgrades or improvements to the house. The replacement cost value also may increase if the cost of labor and materials in the area rise. 

Actual cash value is less costly coverage for homeowners’ policies. This coverage pays the cost for damaged or destroyed items as they were at the time they were lost, which is typically less expensive than buying a new item. For example, a three-year-old couch is worth less than a brand new couch.

Some items, such as jewelry, art, or a vintage car, might gain value as they age. These items might need to be insured separately to be certain they are covered for the appropriate amount.

No matter which policy you choose, remember insurance will cover only what it costs to replace a comparable item. Policies will not pay for an upgrade to a pricier option – such as an inexpensive loveseat to a designer sectional sofa.

Market value vs. replacement cost 

Replacement cost is the price to rebuild a property using the same materials, the same quality of construction and in the same location. It includes the structure along with fixtures, systems, and finishes.

Some insurers offer policies using functional replacement cost, which means less costly materials that perform the same function as the original structure will be used.

Market value is the price that would be paid for your house in the current market. Land value is included in the market value but is not covered under replacement cost value in a homeowners’ policy.

The market value — which is partly determined by the property’s location, local crime statistics and proximity to good schools — may be less than the cost of materials and labor required to replace a home. If a property is insured to market value, a homeowner might have to pay out-of-pocket for some of the replacement cost. 

The benefits of replacement cost value

Insuring a property for 100 percent of its estimated replacement cost provides the most protection. It will cover all costs to replace or rebuild damaged or destroyed property with a new one.

Full replacement cost value also will limit the amount a property owner will pay out-of-pocket for expenses.

Property covered in full will allow you to return to the quality of life you had before your property was damaged or destroyed.

Insurance is a key part of protecting your assets. Considering all your insurance options is the best way to decide which coverage will best fit your budget and needs. Learn more about insurance for landlord and investors, check out our Essential Guide to Landlord Insurance.


The commercial real estate insurance industry is expected to undergo rate hikes in 2020, in part due to a rise in catastrophic events such as floods and fires spurred on by climate change.

Will property insurance rates rise in 2020?

Property insurance prices for the fourth quarter 2019 and early 2020 were projected to rise between 10 percent and 20 percent for non-CAT (catastrophic event) insurance accounts and 30 percent to 60 percent on accounts with CAT potential and poor loss history, according to a report by New York-based insurance brokerage and consulting firm USI Insurance Services.

Rates by year-end 2019 were already on an upward slope. Commercial property and casualty (P&C) rates rose by 5.25 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to Dallas-based online insurance exchange MarketScout Corp. Business interruption insurance -- often secured by businesses looking to recover loss of income due to a covered unforeseen event, such as a fire -- also rose 5 percent in the quarter.

Additionally, commercial insurance prices overall jumped 11 percent globally in the same period, according to a report by Marsh’s Global Insurance Market Index, an insurance brokerage and risk adviser.

What should insurers be doing about flood insurance in 2020?

Offering affordable flood insurance for homeowners in flood zones has been difficult due to climate change causing increased risk. For the past four years, the United States withstood active Atlantic hurricane seasons. Flood insurance is not typically covered under homeowners or commercial property insurance. Policies previously were mainly provided by the National Flood Insurance Program, but private insurance companies in the U.S. in recent years bolstered their presence in the market. Direct flood insurance premiums by private insurers rose 70 percent between 2016 and 2018, to $644 million, according to a report by research and consulting firm Deloitte.

Even with insurers increased presence in the sector, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)  estimates that only about three percent of U.S. homeowners are covered. More insurers may enter the field, looking to attract the millions of people still lacking flood insurance. Insurers aiming to offer flood insurance should look to meet new federal standards that allow lenders to accept qualified private insurance policies for properties in specified flood hazard areas, Deloitte reported. To do this, insurers will have to have a better system to assess individual risks.

What should insurers expect for P&C insurance in 2020?

P&C insurers are expected to lift their premium volume by raising rates. This is being done after insurance companies faced growing liability and catastrophe losses. In 2018, the U.S. P&C insurance sector saw net income hit $60 billion, following a 10.8 percent boost in net premiums written and nearly breaking even on underwriting, according to Deloitte. The first half of 2019 was strong as well. Nonlife insurance premiums are projected to grow by about 3 percent in 2020.

How should insurers bridge the talent gap in 2020?

A lack of interest in the insurance industry among Millenials combined with retiring baby boomers is expected to leave the industry with 400,000 job openings by year-end 2020, Deloitte research indicates. To keep knowledgeable workers in the industry, baby boomers might be trained on some newer technology being used by insurance companies and offered part-time hours. But insurers also are being encouraged to recruit younger workers by touting the increased use of technology, such as artificial intelligence, being used in the industry and the need for workers with updated skills.

What should insurers be doing about the cloud in 2020?

Insurance is a data-heavy industry. Many insurers have taken advantage of new technologies to store data in the cloud. But cloud-service providers also can include features such as core system applications and advanced analytics. Insurers should start planning to migrate more of their business into the cloud to gain additional options toward using advanced technologies, including machine learning and AI, reports Deloitte.

How will coronavirus affect CRE insurance in 2020?

The insurance industry likely will be impacted by claims stemming from business losses due to the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic is affecting the global economy with many event cancellations and travel restrictions. Much of the impact in the insurance industry will hit trade credit insurers. Trade credit insurance is a type of P&C insurance. It covers the risk that a seller’s customers cannot pay for goods or services bought on credit. Trade credit insurance specialist Atradius last month said it expected corporate insolvencies to grow to 2.4 percent in 2020, up from 1.4 percent in 2019. This is largely due to the coronavirus outbreak, the company reported.

Other types of insurance that may be impacted by coronavirus or other infectious disease-related losses include business interruption insurance. Many businesses had to comply with government-ordered closures amid the outbreak, causing loss of income. Policies typically cover business interruption due to physical loss or damage to property and exclude pandemics. U.S. lawmakers are pressuring insurers to cover claims from businesses that closed due to the pandemic.

Liability insurers also may see more claims from businesses whose infected customers allege they were negligent in protecting against the virus. Coverage for coronavirus-related claims will vary by policy.

Cover Your CRE Investment

Are you protecting your CRE investment? If not, it's time to consider a new insurance plan that will protect you from damage and liability. Check out Obie — a quick and easy way to get a new quote. Start your quote today.


Commercial and residential real estate owners, investors, and tenants typically look to secure property insurance to mitigate their risks should unforeseen events occur, such as weather-related incidents, theft, or vandalism. While residential properties often are insured for loss, damage, and liability, commercial real estate insurance also might cover costs such as loss of inventory and equipment due to a covered unexpected circumstance. Commercial property insurance premiums can vary widely, so looking at what goes into pricing a policy is important.

To see if your commercial property insurance is really costing you, get an updated landlord insurance quote that is easy, fast, and personalized for your property. Just provide a few basic details for your property and see what kinds of rates you should expect!

What factors impact the price of commercial property insurance?

 Insurance premiums take into account factors such as the construction and age of the building, the location and how it is being used.

Construction and age of property: Building materials impact insurance prices, as some materials are more susceptible to damage. For instance, a wood building may sustain more damage from a fire or high winds than a brick building, which could make wood buildings costlier to insure. Older buildings without modernized infrastructure, such as electrical wiring, also might carry a higher insurance price tag.

Location and Safety Equipment: Properties located in urban areas near firehouses and fire hydrants — or which have sprinklers installed within the building — may receive a lower insurance rate.

Other risks associated with the property’s location also are taken into consideration when determining insurance rates. For instance, commercial property in a high-crime or earthquake-prone area could cause insurance rates to be higher.

Further, neighboring properties can influence a commercial property insurance estimate. If the property sits near a business that uses hazardous materials, the risk is higher than the site being insured could sustain damage, causing insurance rates to rise. 

Tenant: What the site is used for also impacts the insurance premium. Some businesses are viewed as higher risk than others and insurance companies will charge accordingly. For instance, commercial real estate used for a restaurant is often more costly to insure than a law office due to potential kitchen hazards.

How are commercial property insurance premiums calculated? 

In general, commercial property insurance rates are calculated by determining the value of the building and its contents and multiplying that value by its risk factors. To determine the value of a property, insurance companies typically evaluate either the replacement cost or the actual cash value. The replacement cost is the amount of money needed to replace damaged or destroyed buildings, equipment, and furnishings. The actual cash value is the replacement value of the property less depreciation for age and wear and tear. Actual cash value insurance policies are often less expensive than replacement cost plans, but replacement cost plans provide more compensation.

What is covered under commercial property insurance?

Commercial property insurance can cover a range of potential risks associated with owning or leasing a property. These include replacement costs or repairs to a property; items within a building, such as furniture and inventory; and signs for the business. It also can include insurance to cover items owned by someone other than the property owner or lessee that are housed at the property.

What is not covered under commercial property insurance?

Commercial property insurance covers many potential losses. But depending on the policy a business chooses, additional insurance may be required to cover incidents such as loss of income if a business is interrupted due to an unexpected event, such as a fire. Commercial property insurance also might not cover areas such as theft by an employee.

How much does commercial property insurance cost? 

There are many variables that determine the cost of commercial property insurance. The average business pays between $1,000 and $3,000 annually per million dollars of coverage, according to HowMuch.net, a financial information website. The average commercial property insurance cost for businesses is $742 per year, according to the website’s research.

How much insurance do I need for a commercial property?

The amount of necessary commercial real estate property insurance coverage varies. It depends on what a tenant or owner wants to be covered — plans can be customized for each business. Purchasing insurance can be expensive, deterring some people from purchasing a higher-priced policy. The plan should fit in the budget but also provide the necessary coverage to mitigate risks.

Home-based businesses also should consider purchasing commercial property insurance. The plans can cover costs for equipment and data lost due to unforeseen events that are part of the policy.

Commercial property insurance can provide peace of mind to real estate owners and tenants by reducing the risks associated with unexpected circumstances, such as a fire. Knowing what parts of the business and property are necessary to cover and what insurance companies consider when calculating premium costs should be taken into account before choosing a plan.

When it comes to choosing a plan, let Obie do the work. Answer a few simple questions and you'll get a quote same-day. No paperwork. No hassle. Start your quote today.

In my former life in private equity and real estate, underwriting assets was a key component of my day. Insurance is a fickle mistress and the ebbs and flows of insurance premiums can have a fundamental impact on the performance of your assets as well as the types of debt products that may be available to you when acquiring a new deal or going through refinancing.

What you don’t know can hurt you. Overpricing or underpricing an asset during acquisition are both horrible situations to be in when going hard on a deal. This presumption of accuracy can be dangerous when you are evaluating a big-ticket line item like insurance.

Understanding commercial real estate insurance costs

It’s important that, as an owner, you make sure you understand the historical costs of insurance, who your seller is, why the premium is priced the way it is, and who your lender is. These factors are all incredibly important to understand your insurance expense assumptions.

Getting an indication is key to understanding how much you will pay for your premium. It’s easy to take a look at the trailing 12 and assume that you will get the same or a better rate than the previous owner or even if they will give your asset a blanket price per door or price per sqft.

This is why it’s important you understand the previous loan type against the loan you plan to get. For example, a multifamily Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae loan often requires special coverage that you may or may not see with other lenders. These include special types of flood coverage or terrorism insurance which will often drive up your rate.

Insurance considerations

Things to consider (topics we will discuss in this series in the coming weeks):

  1. Do you need special coverages or is your asset in a risk zone or has the risk changed since the last pricing of the premium?
  2. What do your loan covenants require of you for insurance limits?
  3. Is your lender requiring you to obtain insurance based on the purchase price or replacement costs?
  4. What is the current state of the market and how much should you expect your premium to rise annually?

Are your proforma year over year growth rates in line with the true historical growth rates of the insurance industry and will that affect your DSCR, Cash on Cash, and IRR?

  1. How much will your premium rise with a claim and did the previous owner have a claim? 
  2. Do you have loss runs and why are they important?
  3. How often do claims events occur?

Risk tolerance and insurance pricing

Carrier risk tolerance changes over time and markets harden and soften with the change in risk. Insurance pricing adjusts accordingly.

Remember: not all policies are created equal. We will cover how to mitigate risks in underwriting insurance costs in your proforma and help to provide some context on pricing.

If you're looking for an instant quote, check out Obie — a quick, seamless process to getting your rental property insurance quote. No paperwork. No hassle. Get your quote today.

CHICAGO, IL – Obie, a cloud-based commercial real estate platform, announces it raised $2.8M in venture capital from investors including Y Combinator, MetaProp, FundersClub, Liquid 2, Soma Capital, JD Ross (Opendoor), Matt MacInnis (Inkling), and Justin Alanis (Rentlytics), among others. The seed round closed in the fall of 2019. The company plans to use the funds to support continued growth, strengthen the feature set on the platform, and build out the staff and infrastructure required to meet the demands of a growing user base.

Additionally, the startup publicly released their free cloud-based insurance and portfolio management platform for small-to-medium size commercial real estate funds and managers.

In an antiquated industry, the Obie platform gives owners a place to consolidate all of the information about their assets and, at the same time, invite and collaborate with any of the key stakeholders like property managers, leasing brokers, or LPs who need access to that data on a daily basis. The result is a dramatic increase in efficiency for their customers.

Obie is 100% free to customers because it uses the underlying data to streamline the sale of products their customers are required to buy anyway, starting with commercial property insurance.

“The silent majority of commercial real estate owners and funds in the US have largely been ignored by advances in technology. I spent countless hours in my previous life on time-consuming tasks that could easily be automated and consolidated in one place,” says Ryan Letzeiser, CEO of Obie, who founded the company with his brother, serial entrepreneur Aaron Letzeiser, after almost a decade working in real estate private equity.

By combining the portfolio management data with the insurance process, Obie has been able to save customers 15% or more on insurance premiums and in many cases, within 72 hours or less—compared to the industry average of 2-3 weeks. When every dollar saved while operating an investment property instantly increases the value of the asset, cutting insurance premiums by 10-15% can sometimes add millions to the value of a portfolio overnight.

"Commercial real estate is plagued with frustrating processes and frequent delays because of how disconnected the parties are. If you bring the people and data together on one platform, you can streamline almost every aspect of owning or acquiring a property." says, JD Ross, Co-Founder of Opendoor and an investor in Obie. "At Opendoor we recognized the power of streamlining residential real estate on a vertically integrated platform. I think Obie can have a similar impact in the commercial market."

In the last year, Obie has seen explosive growth while operating as an invite-only platform:

  1. An average of 35% month-over-month growth, with a yearly total growth of over 2,000%
  2. Over $2M in gross annual insurance premiums closed—up over 100% alone since Y Combinator’s demo day in August
  3. Brokered insurance for over $1B worth of real estate
  4. An average insurance premiums savings of 18% (compared to customers’ previous policies) in 72 hours or less, as opposed to the industry average of 2-3 weeks
  5. Over 100M sq. ft. of property now managed on the Obie platform

“When I was a landlord, procuring property and casualty insurance was an inefficient, opaque, and time-consuming process. Obie’s platform brings a refreshing data-driven approach to the process that provides unprecedented speed and efficiency to the process. MetaProp has been looking at this space for a long time, and are very excited to back this talented team”, says Zach Aarons, Co-Founder and General Partner at MetaProp.

About Obie

Obie is building the next generation commercial real estate platform, consolidating and democratizing technology while connecting the community to intelligent and seamless insurance and portfolio management tools. This is a huge, important part of our economy yet Commercial Real Estate operates in the same way it has for decades — through opaque systems. That’s why Obie is re-engineering the CRE asset lifecycle from the ground up. We’re using technology to make it faster and more efficient, and humans to help make it friendly and enjoyable.

About MetaProp VC

MetaProp is a New York-based venture capital firm focused on the real estate technology (“PropTech”) industry. Founded in 2015, MetaProp’s investment team has invested in 115+ technology companies across the real estate value chain. The firm manages multiple investment funds for both financial and strategic real estate investors representing a pilot- and test-ready sandbox of 15+ billion square feet across every real estate asset type and global market. The firm’s investment activities are complemented by pioneering community leadership including the PropTech Place innovation hub, MetaProp Accelerator at Columbia University programs, global events NYC Real Estate Tech Week and MIPIM PropTech NYC, and publications Global PropTech Confidence Index and PropTech 101.

What Is Commercial Real Estate Insurance?

Commercial real estate (CRE) insurance coverage is a way for investors to mitigate the risk that comes along with owning a property.

Commercial real estate encompasses office, retail, multifamily, and industrial properties. There are many types of commercial real estate insurance to purchase to safeguard these assets. Each type of insurance protects owners for different occurrences, such as fire, explosion, natural disaster, vandalism, and debris removal.

Most real estate investors typically carry at least commercial property insurance and liability insurance. Owners can choose from various policies. Prices vary according to criteria such as the type of property, location, and business conducted there.

Commercial Property Insurance

Commercial property insurance protects a business from losing assets to issues such as fire, burst pipes, theft, and vandalism. It typically does not automatically cover loss due to a natural disaster including earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods. Coverage can be added for damage due to those circumstances. 

With commercial property insurance, real estate investors can protect their property, including its contents and exterior furnishings. Policies can be customized to include varying items and circumstances attached to the claim, such as theft.

Items covered in your insurance policy could include furniture, equipment, computers, and documents. It also will protect outdoor signs, fencing, and landscaping.

Liability Insurance

Liability insurance covers potential lawsuits from a third party who is injured on or does property damage to your property. The policy can help pay for legal defense and settlements. Liability coverage might be more expensive for property such as apartment buildings or retail space where many people visit. Lower-trafficked properties such as warehouses likely carry more affordable policies. Coverage could include slip and fall incidents to claims of wrongful eviction.

Loss of Rental Income

Insurance is available for landlords who lose income due to circumstances such as property repair. It typically does not cover damage due to owner negligence — a repair that was not made that is now causing a larger issue, for example.

Some business income insurance will help pay for the need to temporarily relocate an office property that is being repaired due to damage such as a fire.

Protecting your investment is important. Investors also should consider having risk management procedures in place. This includes keeping accurate records of your property, such as improvements made.

Properly maintaining your property also is key. It should be safe and secure with all fire safety equipment, including sprinklers, fire and carbon monoxide detectors. Doors and windows should be sturdy and lockable.

With many types of commercial real estate insurance available, investors should choose which coverage best suits their needs to help protect their assets. Learn more about landlord insurance or get a quote for your property today.


Investing in commercial real estate carries a certain amount of risk. Risk management is a way to identify and control those risks.

Keeping accurate records is an important part of risk management and there are options, including commercial property management software, which can help organize and manage that information.

What is Risk Management?

Without protecting your assets, there is a risk of having to pay out large sums of money for property damage or injuries that took place on your property.

Risk management starts at the time of investment. Real estate investors cannot know what might happen in the future that would impact an investment. But commercial real estate investors can access data to determine whether a property would fit into its portfolio by looking at detailed property information.

Factors to consider might include location, age, and the quality of a property. The type of asset, such as an office building, retail mall, or warehouse, and predicting the consumer or tenant demand also are considerations. Analyzing the market also is key before making an investment. Fundamental market information such as competition, vacancy and rent rates should be examined.

Investors also should research local, national, and international events and decide whether they might have a long-term effect on the commercial real estate market.

Once acquired, commercial real estate (CRE) professionals must record and maintain many property facts when preparing risk management strategies.

Keep Records

When planning risk management strategies, it is important to keep accurate information about a property. This information could be provided to a property insurance company if necessary. These details should include a history of past claims and renovations made on the property.

Have A Risk Management Plan

Real estate comprises fixed long-term assets but properties sit in an ever-changing dynamic environment. Owners should have a plan in place for all types of potential issues, including natural disasters such as a tornado, flood, or earthquake.

Maintain Properties

Properties should be up to date with fire-safety tools such as smoke detectors and sprinklers. The property also should be secure and safe, including having adequate lighting and security cameras. Further, keep in mind that property upgrades sometimes can translate to insurance savings.

Insurance Coverage

Real estate owners likely will want to purchase insurance to ensure coverage if something goes wrong. This could include coverage for property, liability, and loss of rental income along with other options, depending on the type of property or business it is.

Commercial Property Management Software

To handle all of these steps and be prepared for any potential issues, CRE professionals can consider using commercial property management software to help maintain information helpful for risk management.

Some real estate platforms will keep track of valuable data to aid in risk management. These include emergency planning and incident tracking.

Tools also can reduce a property’s exposure to risk by keeping tabs on a building’s safety. By doing this, expenses for insurance and liability protection can be reduced.

Real estate asset management software also can establish and manage risk ledgers, insurance certificates, and incidence reporting. Emergency preparation plans also can be part of commercial property management systems.

Further, some companies offer real estate management software that can be used to keep records and documents in one place so they can be easily accessed when necessary.

Risk management is an important part of real estate investment. Doing due diligence and then properly caring for the property, including keeping it updated with safety and security tools, are just part of the process. Commercial real estate professionals can also use commercial property management software to help organize property information, plan and prepare for any issues that may arise.

As much as you can mitigate risk on your property, you will still need insurance. Check out Obie — a quick, easy way to get your rental insurance quote. No paperwork. No hassle. And you can save up to 25% by switching. Get your quote today.

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