Rental property insurance, also called landlord insurance, is a special type of homeowners insurance that’s specifically designed to cover the unique risks that come with renting out your property. Even if you only rent your home out for a few months at a time, you’ll still need landlord insurance because standard home insurance doesn’t cover business or rental properties.
How much does rental property insurance cost?
A standard homeowners insurance policy costs on average around $1,754 per year, but varies greatly nationwide. Landlord policies generally cost about 25% more than standard home insurance. 
One of the reasons why landlord insurance costs more is because of the increased protections and risks. When calculating your quote, insurers also take the build, age, location of your residence, and more into account.
How to buy rental home insurance
When shopping for rental property insurance, it’s important to compare different companies to make sure you’re getting the best coverage possible and at the best price point. Below are some steps you may want to consider taking when shopping for landlord insurance.
Learn about how much coverage you need. How much coverage you need for the structure of your home will depend on its rebuild value, or replacement cost. You’ll want enough coverage to rebuild your home from the ground up in the event of a disaster. You should also consider your liability coverage limits, which protects you against lawsuits if you’re found responsible for someone’s injury on your property.
Get necessary information about your home and how you plan on renting it. You’ll need to provide insurers with information about your home, like its square footage, age, roof type, and more. You’ll also want to inform the insurance company that this is a rental property. They may have coverage considerations for you, and they may advise you to get your tenants to purchase renters insurance.
Compare rental home insurance quotes. It’s a good idea to compare multiple companies to make sure you aren’t missing out on a better deal elsewhere. The agents at Policygenius can help you compare home insurers that offer landlord insurance.
Choose your policy and finalize the details. Once you choose your policy, you’ll want to finalize the details and consider any coverage add-ons you might need, like water backup coverage or equipment breakdown coverage.
4 rental property insurance companies
Below are a few companies that offer rental property insurance. Most of the insurers listed offer policies in all 50 states.
How to get a quote
Online through Policygenius or Safeco
2. State Farm
How to get a quote
Online through State Farm
How to get a quote
Online through Policygenius or Allstate
4. Liberty Mutual
How to get a quote
Online through Liberty Mutual
What does rental property insurance cover?
If you rent out your property long term as a source of income, you’ll need rental property insurance. Rental property insurance includes the following coverage:
Dwelling coverage: Covers the physical structure of the rental property if it’s damaged by a covered peril, including fire or a major storm.
Coverage for landlord’s personal property: Covers items and appliances owned by the landlord, like dishwashing machines, washer and dryers, and items used for maintenance like shovels, rakes, and lawnmowers.
Liability coverage: Covers legal or medical expenses if a tenant or visitor is hurt on your property and files a lawsuit.
Keep in mind that when you file a claim for property damage or loss, you first have to pay your policy deductible, which is the amount you’re responsible for covering on a claim before your insurance kicks in to cover the loss.
What does rental property insurance not cover?
Landlord insurance does not cover:
Tenants’ furnishings or personal belongings. Rental property insurance doesn’t cover damage to a tenants’ personal belongings inside the rental unit. Your tenant will need renters insurance to cover their own property. Check out our guide to learn more about the difference between homeowners and renters insurance.
Maintenance issues. Wear and tear or maintenance issues also aren’t covered by rental property insurance. Landlord insurance also doesn’t cover negligence, so if you knew about a gas leak and it eventually resulted in a fire or explosion, you likely won’t be covered.
Damage or loss while the property is vacant. Rental property insurance won’t cover buildings that have been vacant for a certain number of days, so if the duplex you rent out has been empty for a few months and there’s a break-in, your insurer may not cover the loss.
Flood or earthquake damage. Landlord insurance does not cover damage that occurs due to flooding or earthquakes unless you have additional coverage in your policy.
Do I need rental property insurance if I already have homeowners insurance?
Whether or not you need rental property insurance instead of homeowners insurance will depend on if you are renting the home out on a short- or long-term basis.
If you live at your residence full-time and rent it out infrequently, like for a weekend once every six months, your home insurance may cover you, but be sure to check with your insurance company about it.
If you have short-term rental properties on Airbnb, your insurer may require you to add short-term rental coverage to your policy. Talk to your insurer about how often you plan to rent out your home to make sure you’re properly covered in the event of a loss.
You only need rental property insurance if you have tenants who you rent out your home to on a long-term or full-time basis, like for months or years. Normal homeowners insurance excludes coverage for business property, and a rental property would technically fall under that category since you make an income off of it.
Is rental property insurance required?
While landlord insurance is not required by law, if you have a mortgage on your home your lender will require it. Even if you don't have a mortgage, you should consider rental property insurance to protect your home and liability in the event disaster strikes. If you don't have landlord insurance, you'll have to foot the bill yourself if your home is damaged or broken into.
Rental properties are also more of a liability risk, since if a tenant or visitor gets injured while in your rental home you could be found liable for their injury and have to pay medical bills or legal fees if they file a suit against you. With landlord insurance, your policy could pay for the above circumstances if it's caused by a covered loss.