Real Estate Investors – A Few Tips on Insuring Your Portfolio

New York real estate investors, how often do you review your commercial insurance programs protecting your portfolio?

Every renewal? Never? Somewhere in between?

We get it. Insurance isn’t the most interesting subject for you but performing a review with a real estate focused insurance broker in New York is critically important to protecting your portfolio and your personal net worth.

I’ve reviewed hundreds of business insurance programs in New York and I can tell you that 9 out of 10 times I find glaring errors, gaps and overlap which that can be the source of horrendous claim problems and bloated premiums.

Two things you DON’T want in your real estate insurance protection!

Business insurance in New York isn’t always easy but as an expert with almost 40 years of experience and a deep focus on real estate and real estate investors I know what coverages you need and what insurers provide the best programs.

Here’s a few tips for real estate investors:

Look to consolidate properties whenever possible into one or as few programs as possible.

This gets a bit tricky when you have multiple named insureds for different buildings owned by different investor groups. But underwriters are generally willing to accommodate different named insureds, if one of them has a controlling interest in the portfolio.

Review your property limits.

Too often, policies are taken out and the building limits are “estimated” and maybe estimated too low to achieve some premium savings. That low building value could be very dangerous in the event of a loss. Whether the loss is only a partial damage to a building or total loss.

Speak to a local contractor or others in your industry to come up with a realistic replacement cost per square foot for your properties and evaluate that EVERY renewal. Otherwise your insurer will only increase your values by a nominal 3 or 4 percent (or zero), which may be totally insufficient.

Buy as much excess liability or umbrella coverage as you can afford.

There are several specialty programs available to purchase very large limits at low premiums on a group purchasing basis. We’re talking about limits in the $25 to $100 million range. The larger your portfolio becomes the more excess liability protection you need.

Excess liability insurance gives you these higher limits of protection over and above your underlying general liability and auto liability policies.

Obtain Certificates of Insurance from Contractors

As a top construction insurance broker in New City, NY I can tell you that you need to be requesting certificates of insurance and have a solid risk transfer program in place for any time you hire a contractor preforming work on your premises.

A good risk transfer program places liability back on the source of a claim, rather than it hitting your insurance policies. Risk transfer programs are a bit tricky when first establishing but can be a life saver if a large claim occurs down the road.

Lastly, read your policies.

Yes, I know – BORING! But it makes a lot of sense to either do this on your own, or with your insurance agent so you understand the broad confines of what is, and what’s not covered.

Don’t understand something in your policies? Ask! Don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially when it comes to certain policy exclusions or coverage extensions.

Those are my top insurance suggestions for New York Real Estate Investors. If you have additional questions, thoughts or comments, we’d love to hear from you!

The author of this article is a real estate insurance broker in New York. In this article, he has mentioned a few tips for real estate investors on insuring your portfolio. Visit

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