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House with magnifying lensOwning a duplex can provide several benefits to you. It means you can live in one side and rent the other, if you like. Owning real estate means you need to have proper home insurance coverage, however. With the rental factor, duplex home insurance can be a bit different. With more people buying these properties to benefit from renting them, it’s important to know these details. Here’s what to consider.

What Do You Plan to Do with It?

The first step is to understand what your goals are for this property. Then work with your homeowners insurance agent to create a fitting policy.

  • Do you plan to rent out one or more sides of the duplex? If just one side, and you plan to live in the other, your policy needs are different from those renting out the full property.
  • If you live in the duplex, but don’t rent out the other portion, a typical home insurance policy is a good start. You will need to customize it for the size and function of the property.
  • If you plan to rent out just one side and live in the remaining side, you may not need a separate rental insurance policy – insurance laws can differ here. However, you’ll likely have to adjust your homeowners coverage to accommodate this setup. And, the renter will likely need their own renters insurance.

It’s important to know that if both units are a rental income for you, you need to treat the property as a business. As such, you need protection on the property to match that need. Usually, landlord insurance is the route to go.

What Are the Risks?

The difference in choosing home insurance for a duplex can come down to knowing your risks. Your policy should address each one of them.

For example, for a larger structure, you might need a policy with more coverage and protection for you overall. Remember to choose a policy with enough protection to allow you to rebuild the property in case of a total loss.

Also, with two kitchens and two sets of appliances, HVACs, and other components, there’s twice as much risk. Fires are more likely. Theft risks may be a bit higher also. As a result, your policy needs to reflect this increased risk.

And, when you have someone else living on your property, your liability risks are also higher. This means more cost for covering your losses should you be at-fault for something that happens to the resident, their belongings, or their guests.

Work closely with your Houston home insurance agent. Get a policy that reflects each one of your needs. It should always provide for ample protection based on the way you use your property.

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