Is it legal for someone to rent you a house that has no homeowners insurance?

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Is it legal for someone to rent you a house that has no homeowners insurance?

Asked on October 20, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Indiana

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Home insurance is generally only required by those that have a mortgage with a bank - the bank will require it - or in other contractual circumstances such as in cooperatives or condominium complexes.  Otherwise, if you own a house outright then although it would be a foolish thing to do you may not HAVE to have insurance.  I would double check with an attorney in your state as to any state specific laws.  I would also consider getting renters insurance for you and your belongings.  This way you are covered in the event something happens in the house and the owner has no insurance.  You may, also, want to consider moving.  Good luck.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Homeowner's insurance would not protect the renter--it protects the homeowner. Therefore, while it may be required of the homeowner (such as by his lender(s) if he has mortgages or home equity loans), it doesn't affect his  renters, who would not have recourse to it. (e.g. say a guest is injured in the home while you're renting it; if the guest sued the homeowner, his insurance would presumably protect him; if the guest used you personally, the insurance would not.)

As a renter, you need to get a policy that will protect you (renter's insurance). More to the point, you probably shouldn't rent from someone without homeowners: (1) if you are injured or damaged in some way by the owner (e.g. lack of maintenance of the house), you might have no way to recover; (2) a lack of a basic like homeowner's insurance may point to a serious financial issue or bad judgment or both on the part of the owner.


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