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Do I need to change my policy when I rent out my home?

I own my own home but will be moving in with my girlfriend soon. I plan to rent out my place and want to know if I need to get a new landlord policy when I rent it, or if I can keep it as a homeowners policy. If I have a claim when a tenant is living there, would it be covered?

Denver, CO

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Beth Swanson

SEO Content Strategist

Credentials
  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Beth joined The Zebra in 2022 as an Associate Content Strategist. She is a licensed insurance agent whose goal is to make insurance content easy to r…

Great question! This is an important consideration if you're planning to turn your primary home into a rental. The short answer is yes, you'll need to change your homeowners policy to a landlord policy. An insurance company would likely deny a claim if the proper coverage isn't in place.

Tenants don't generally put the same level of care and maintenance into your home that you would because, frankly, it isn't their investment to worry about. However, you've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase the home and are now going to use it as an investment — so the last thing you want is to have a major issue happen to the house and lose money because you weren't carrying the right coverage.

Consider Colorado winters (or, anywhere it gets below freezing): If you have a tenant who doesn't know about insulating exterior hose bibs, opening cabinet doors under the sink, or dripping faucets when the temperatures go below zero, you could have a frozen pipe crisis to deal with. If you file a claim under a homeowners policy and the insurance company realizes that you aren't living there, you may be paying thousands in repairs out-of-pocket because the claim will get denied. A homeowners policy is meant to cover exactly that: the homeowner. Something else to consider if you have investment property is an umbrella policy, as well, for an additional layer of protection.

Your tenant should have their own renters coverage to protect their belongings. Because you won't be covering their personal effects with your landlord policy, it'll probably save you money by switching policy types, which is a nice bonus. You also don't want to be guilty of misrepresenting your insurer, which is never a good idea. Feel free to call our agency at 888-444-8949 to see what a landlord policy might cost and ask any additional questions about the process.

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