California Landlord Insurance

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Contributor, Benzinga
September 26, 2023

Want to jump straight to the best? Get a quote from Lemonade for Renters Insurance.

In California, owners of residential rental properties are bound by California Civil Code to provide a habitable and safe living space. This includes ensuring all utilities can be used safely and locks and proper security systems are in place. These regulations protect tenants but could increase liability risk for landlords. That's why it's important to find the best California landlord insurance.

California landlord insurance is vital for anyone renting living space in California. Learn more now.

Best California Landlord Insurance

Check out our top picks for landlord insurance in California.

Best for Insuring Multiple Properties: Steadily

Steadily offers a simple, quick and affordable form of landlord or rental property insurance that you can use for a range of properties. The site starts you out with a few questions so that you can get the best quote, and you will complete the whole process either on the phone or over SMS. If you own any of these properties, you want to give Steadily a chance:

  • Rental Home
  • Airbnb units
  • Apartments
  • Duplex 
  • Units under renovation
  • Vacant/unrented units and more 

Pros

  • This platform is very helpful when you are planning to rent a unit but have not yet opened it to the public
  • You can easily use this platform to get quotes and research other carriers to see what the best price is

Cons

  • Even though this platform can insure unoccupied units, it may not offer the low prices you were expecting

Best for Ratings, Price and Customization: Lemonade Home

Lemonade is a tech-based insurance model that invites customers to use the app to apply for coverage. The company states that everything is simple and transparent. It takes a flat fee from the insurance premiums paid, pay claims, and donate anything left over to charity.

The app is known to be user-friendly, and it facilitates a direct-to-consumer model not utilizing agents. 

Pros

  • Lemonade moves quickly and leads you to the right types of coverage
  • You can use this platform to get all your insurance in very short order

Cons

  • Some people might feel that Lemonade is a bit too impersonal

Best for Tailored Coverage: Liberty Mutual

Liberty Mutual is among the largest property and casualty carriers in the U.S. It began writing business in 1912.  

Consumers can purchase Liberty Mutual products through the company directly or through one of its appointed agents.   

Pros

  • You can use this platform to bundle all your coverage, including your properties
  • The platform is available in all 50 states and has captive agents in your area

Cons

  • At times, you may have a hard time deciding if you need property, home, business insurance or a combination of the 3

Best for Comprehensive Coverage/Business Owner’s Policy: The Hartford

The Hartford has been writing insurance in the U.S. for over 200 years and is one of the largest insurance carriers.  Coverage can be purchased online or through an independent insurance agent. 

It is known for its excellent claim payments and is ranked No. 1 by JD Power and Associates. 

Pros

  • The Hartford is so well established that it doesn’t need to overcharge you to make money
  • The plans offered can help you get both business and property insurance

Cons

  • The carrier cannot guarantee that you will get affordable coverage for your specific property in your area

Best for Those Who Own Investment Properties: Foremost from Farmers

Foremost is part of the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies. It specializes in single-family rental properties. It is willing to write rural properties and properties with prior claims.

Initial quotes can be obtained online or through a Farmers or independent agent nationwide.

Pros

  • Because this plan works well for rural property owners, it can help when you’re also leasing farmland and the included buildings
  • This plan focuses on people in rural areas, but it can still work well if you’re closer to a suburb or urban area

Cons

  • Because you own rental properties, remember that there are certain properties that need more than “standard coverage”, which may not be available

Best for Landlords: Obie

When you register for Obie Insurance, you can obtain insurance coverage for real estate holdings in all 50 states. It only takes 2 minutes to get a quick quote, saves about 25% off other insurance programs and offers policies for:

  • Single-family homes
  • Duplexes
  • Multifamily housing
  • A small, family-owned portfolio
  • A large, institutional portfolio

Pros

  • The fast quotes make it easy for you to get the information you need on every property
  • There is coverage that will handle all the aspects of your property, especially if you are renting unique properties

Cons

  • While this platform is rather versatile, it may not offer the exact coverage you need

Key Points on California Landlord Insurance

BZ

 

  • California Civil Code requires landlords to provide a safe living space.
  • Landlords can be sued by their tenants for not providing a safe space.
  • Landlords are legally obligated to take the necessary measures to make sure the property is safe to prevent foreseeable criminal acts at their rental property.
  • Tenants can sue landlords for injuries sustained at the rental property.
  • California landlord insurance provides coverage for the physical property, as well as loss of rent and liability for listed causes of loss.

Landlord Insurance Definition

What is landlord insurance? Landlord insurance is defined as coverage that protects rental property owners from property and liability claims as well as loss of rent for covered causes of loss listed in the policy.

Landlord Insurance vs Homeowners Insurance

A Landlord insurance policy is not the same as a homeowners insurance policy. A homeowners insurance policy does not provide coverage for liability claims brought by tenants or loss of rental income.

A homeowners policy provides broad coverage for the home, its contents and personal liability protection. There is no coverage afforded for loss of rental income or tenant liability claims.

A landlord insurance policy provides broad coverage for the rental unit including coverage for a landlord’s personal property such as appliances and loss of rent for covered causes of loss. The policy also provides protection for tenant liability claims.

A homeowners policy provides a higher personal contents limit than a Landlord Insurance policy. Landlords typically only need coverage for limited personal items at the rental, such as appliances.

Landlord Insurance vs Rental Property Insurance

Landlord insurance and rental property insurance are synonymous and used interchangeably. Rental property insurance is the older term and one that many associate with older more-limited coverage policies while Landlord insurance is often associated with newer broader coverage policies.

Landlord Insurance vs Renters Insurance

Landlord insurance protects the owner of the rental properties against financial loss due to covered causes of loss to the structure as well as loss of rent and liability. A landlord policy does not provide protection to a tenant. It does not provide protection for the tenant's personal property or if the tenant gets sued. It solely protects the landlord from financial loss.

Renters insurance provides insurance protection for the tenant of the rental property. It provides protection for the tenant's contents for things like fire, lightning, wind and theft. It also provides rental coverage for a tenant to pay for rent at another location for a covered cause of loss. Renters insurance also provides liability protection to the tenant in case they get sued.

What Does Landlord Insurance Cover?

Landlord insurance covers the physical structure of a rental unit as well as loss of rent and liability. Losses covered include direct damage to any part of the building, fire and smoke damages or losses, windstorm and hail damages or losses, vandalism, malicious mischief damages or losses, and theft from a tenant's personal property inside the home.

When you buy landlord insurance, it provides protection for your income should your rental house become uninhabitable due to an insured cause. The policy will provide replacement cost value coverage so when you do need to rebuild after an insured disaster occurs, you can be reimbursed up front with cash instead of having to wait until all expenses are paid before receiving compensation, which is the case with an actual cash value policy.

A landlord insurance policy also provides protection for liability claims that tenants may bring against you. The tenant's personal belongings are not covered under a landlord's policy, but they are protected from liability claims in most states, including California.

Common Named Perils

If any of the following happen to your rental property, a California landlord policy may help, subject to your deductible and if the claim is approved.

  • Fires and lightning
  • Windstorms and hail
  • Explosions
  • Riot
  • Aircrafts
  • Vehicle
  • Smoke damage
  • Vandalism
  • Theft of property
  • Falling object
  • Weight of things like ice or snow
  • Accidental discharge of a plumbing devise
  • Accidental and sudden cracking, burning or bulging
  • Freeze
  • Sudden short-circuits
  • Volcano eruption

Common Exclusions

A typical California landlord insurance policy will exclude the following:

  • Maintenance repairs
  • Personal property of tenants
  • Floods, earthquakes and water backup

Find Landlord Insurance Today

If you are involved with real estate investing and being a landlord, you know the challenges.  Being a landlord comes with many risks. One of the best ways to mitigate risk at your rental property is to have a landlord insurance policy in place to cover both the structure and liability risks should something happen. 

This is particularly true in California, where tenants have many rights and can bring a lawsuit against a landlord. Start with our guide to find the best coverage today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

Do I need homeowners insurance for a rental property in California if I am a landlord?

A

No. You need a landlord insurance policy for your rental.

Q

How much is rental property insurance in California?

A

Premium costs vary by location, coverage desired, claims history and other factors. Reach out to a landlord insurance provider to get a personalized quote.

 

Q

Are there special insurance considerations in California?

A

In California, certain homeowners or property owners should be concerned about landslides, earthquakes and flooding in valleys. Work with an insurance agent and even your real estate agent to learn what’s necessary for your property.

About Maurice Draine

Maurice Draine is a former insurance agent, broker, underwriter tech, and agent sales support rep with over 15 years of professional writing experience. Maurice helps insurance, financial, and various online and ad agencies, create the words that drive customers to their websites and keeps them there.