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What type of insurance does a property management company need?


A man considers plans for a building behind him to ensure he has correct property management insurance

Claims and suits against property managers are on the rise. Staying out of court is getting harder and defense costs can run to $100,000 or more.

But lawsuits don’t just hurt financially, do they? They damage your reputation. And as a property manager, your reputation is your most priceless asset.

You know you need protection. But with so many different kinds of property management insurance out there, it can be hard to figure out exactly what you need.

It takes time, too. And that’s better spent on your business.

So here’s a quick rundown of what you need, why you need it, and tips for getting the right insurance plan:

General liability insurance for property managers

If you visit clients, or they visit you, you need general liability insurance. It’s coverage for claims against your business if someone gets hurt, or their property is damaged, and it’s your fault.

Think about it. All it takes is spilling your coffee over a landlord’s new laptop, or a prospective renter tripping over a computer cable in your office to find yourself facing a claim. Or worse, a lawsuit.

General liability insurance can cover repairs and replacements, medical bills, legal costs and compensation.

And if that’s not enough to convince you it’s coverage worth having, it’s a reputation restorer, too.

Say you’re overheard making a not-so-nice remark about a renter. It gets back to them and they sue you. Your coverage can get you a defense attorney and pay your legal fees plus damages.

It’s safe to say it’s an important part of your property management insurance.

Business personal property insurance for property managers

If you’re getting general liability insurance, you might want to add business personal property insurance (BPP) to your package.

It protects anything you can move in your office. From your chair, desk and filing cabinet to your potted plants.

BPP also covers your mobile devices when you’re out and about, viewing properties, or seeing owners and renters.

The thing is, your cell, and your laptop… they’re pretty essential to running your business, aren’t they?

And when they’re on the move with you, the risk they’ll get broken or stolen is much higher.

Might be tricky to run your business while your laptop’s being repaired or replaced.

BPP cover means it’s business as usual.

Is your business home-based? BPP might not cover you. Check your policy wording carefully and speak to your insurer to make sure that you’re covered.

Professional liability insurance for property managers

It’s in the name. You need professional liability insurance because, as a property manager, you’re a professional. You provide a service to landlords and renters, using your expertise.

Unfortunately, that means if you make an error or omit something and it costs your client money, they could sue you. In fact, you can be sued even when you haven’t made a mistake.

What’s confusing, is that professional liability insurance is also known as errors and omissions insurance – or E&O, for short. What matters, is they do the same thing.

Whether you’re at fault, or not, your coverage gets you an attorney and can pay your legal expenses, plus any damages you’re liable for. And it can cover past errors too. You just need to make sure that your E&O policy was in place when the error happened.

Workers’ compensation insurance

Employ anyone? Depending on what state you’re in, you almost certainly need workers’ compensation insurance. If you don’t have it, you’ll be fined.

Different states have different rules. Some require you to have insurance as soon as you employ a single person. Others have different rules. If you’re unsure, check your state’s laws.

So it’s a must-have, but there’s a good reason for it. The cost of workplace injuries to your staff could cripple your business. It’s not just the loss of productivity. Without insurance, you’d have to come up with the cash to cover medical and legal expenses, as well as replace any missed wages.

Workers’ comp insurance can pay for medical bills, lost wages, and legal costs. It can also protect you from a lawsuit – no matter whose fault an accident was.

Cyber liability insurance

Cyber Risk insurance, data breach insurance, cyber liability insurance… they’re all names for the same coverage. You should seriously think about getting it.

Why? Because as a property manager, you electronically store confidential, personal data on owners and tenants. You use email and you probably have a website. That makes you a target for cybercriminals.

And if you think your firm’s too small to be at risk, think again.

A whopping 85% of data breaches are at small businesses and 60% of these shut down within six months of the attack.

Cyber liability insurance for property managers can cover:

  • the costs of investigating a cyber attack and telling your customers
  • repairing and restoring your website and data
  • any income lost if the attack stops you from doing business
  • legal fees and damages if you’re sued for losing someone’s private data

If you don’t have cyber liability coverage and you’re the victim of a cyber-attack, your business will have to fund this. No wonder so many shut down.

Getting the right property management insurance plan

As a general rule, you need coverage for your business, your clients, your renters and the properties you manage. But every business is different. That means your property management insurance requirements are, too.

Find a broker who gets this and can customize your coverage to suit your exact needs.

Before you get in touch, have the answer to these questions ready.  It’ll speed things up.

  • what kind of properties do you manage?
  • what is their value? (You don’t need the exact figure, just a rough idea.)
  • do the properties belong to you, or are you managing them for someone else?

As for how much cover you need, it’s safer to over-estimate. Lawyers’ fees, compensation and court costs can go through the roof. You can always check with legal counsel about fees if you’re not sure. Imagine the worst-case scenario and go for as much as you can realistically afford.

It’s worth it. Having the right coverage doesn’t just keep you in business when things go wrong, it guards your assets.

That includes the one you can’t afford to lose – your reputation. If you’d like to know more, check out InsuranceBee’s policies for property managers. Or give us a call: 978.344.4215.

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