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Real Estate Insurance

Protect your properties. Grow your portfolio.

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Spotlight on: Real Estate Insurance

Whether you’re a real estate owner or manager, your properties are where our promise lives.

Considerations like financing, use, construction, location and value make insuring real estate property more challenging today than yesterday. On top of that, your tenants pose additional risks that threaten your investment and add to your administrative load.

That’s why it’s important to work with a seasoned real estate insurance broker.

Whatever the portfolio size, Higginbotham has experience helping real estate owners, property managers and developers effectively manage their property and liability exposures.

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Insurance for Real Estate Industry Professionals

Higginbotham designs each business insurance policy for the distinct needs of the owners and managers we serve.

We represent insurance carriers who cater to your market and provide several targeted risk management solutions for:

  • Strip Shopping Centers
  • Enclosed Shopping Malls
  • Multi-tenant and Single Tenant Buildings (Office, Industrial and Retail)
  • Residential Complexes (Apartments, Condos and Townhouses)
  • Mixed-use Developments 

Whatever your needs may be, our team of seasoned real estate insurance professionals has you covered.

The Higginbotham Difference: The Power of Listening

We start with listening and end with custom insurance solutions. Always there to prove and move your business forward, our approach is more individual and less institutional.

We represent insurance carriers who cater to the real estate industry so we can get you covered on day one. But we don’t stop there.

We deliver year-round value with our Day Two Services® that support your risk management efforts throughout the term of your insurance policy.

By committing to transparency while demonstrating authenticity, we’re a place that leads with values so value leads.

To learn more about how our values-based approach unlocks value for your real estate business, click here.

Or visit our Insights page to learn more about real estate agent and broker risk management.

Ready to work with a broker who works as hard as you do?

Planning coverage that addresses the unique risks that challenge real estate professionals can present yet another challenge. Not with Higginbotham working for you.

Our deep industry experience and strong insurance carrier relationships help us get things done that others can’t.

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Insurance for Real Estate Business Professionals

From real estate agents to brokers, landlords and everything in-between, our real estate insurance solutions are designed with your unique operation in mind.

While your real estate insurance needs depend on variables like your location, operational specifics and risk exposure, here’s some important coverages to consider.

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Commercial Property Insurance

If you rent commercial property to tenants or operate your real estate business out of a commercial building, you may need commercial property insurance. Designed to safeguard your assets from liability claims and your buildings from damage or loss of income from perils ranging from fire to a natural disaster, commercial property insurance can help you with repairs or replacement costs after a covered loss.

Business Interruption Insurance

If your office is destroyed by a fire tomorrow, would you have enough cash on hand to move to a temporary location, satisfy your payroll obligations and keep your doors open during the rebuild? If you don’t know, you’re not alone – and Higginbotham can help.

A study by JP Morgan Chase found around 50% of small businesses in the U.S. have inadequate cash reserves to operate for more than 27 days without income.

With this in mind, the importance of business interruption insurance comes into focus.

Designed to help with the costs of recovering from a natural disaster or other covered perils, business interruption coverage can help pay for moving costs, loss of rent, additional rent at a temporary location, salaries and other expenses during the period of restoration.

Loss of rent and extra expense insurance is an optional coverage within a business interruption policy for real estate business professionals to consider. It can reimburse for loss of rent payments if your rental property is vacant due to damage from a covered peril. In some cases, it can also cover lost rent resulting from vandalism or tenant damage, even if the property was unoccupied at the time of loss.

Environmental Insurance

If you develop, lease or own commercial real estate, you can be held legally responsible for environmental damage it causes. Regardless of your prior awareness or the palpability of an environmental threat, you’re typically responsible for a wide range of potential losses. Even if a pollutant was present before you took ownership of a property, you’re still likely on the hook for third-party damage that surfaces.

From hazardous materials stored in hidden underground tanks to more common threats like asbestos and lead paint, there are countless ways a real estate professional can end up facing a lawsuit. Adding the risk of storing and using harmful materials like pesticides and pool chemicals, environmental insurance becomes crucial.

Environmental coverage can help with the cost of cleanup, removal, abatement and restoration after a polluting event. In many cases, it can also help with the cost of medical bills, settlements and other expenses sustained by injured third parties.

Building Ordinance

Key for commercial property owners, building ordinance and law insurance is a commercial property policy endorsement that can help with the cost of demolishing, repairing, building or rebuilding to maintain compliance with local building ordinances and laws. While a standard commercial property policy will usually assist with the costs of repairing damage from a covered peril, it will not cover updates or repairs to other undamaged parts of the building or compliance with new code requirements by the municipality.

This can create an issue with passing a post-repair inspection if those parts of the building are not up to code. Because historic buildings often fall short of modern standards, this insurance coverage is critical for commercial real estate professionals with older assets in their portfolio.

This real estate insurance typically includes three separate coverages:

Undamaged Part of Building

This insurance helps cover the intact portion of an insured building that has suffered a partial loss. For example, if your roof sustains partial damage, your insurance carrier may pay to repair the damaged section in lieu of replacing the whole roof. If you live in a municipality that requires a full roof replacement to meet code requirements, your ordinance and law coverage could help pay for the cost difference.

Demolition

Similar to undamaged coverage in that it focuses on the unaffected portion of a damaged building, demolition insurance can help cover another common code-related coverage gap. For example, let’s say your building suffers 51% structural damage in a municipality that requires a total teardown for structural damage exceeding 50%. If your insurance carrier only pays for the required repairs, your building ordinance and law insurance could compensate you for the remaining cost to demolish and rebuild.

Increased Construction Costs

Unlike the other two coverages that focus on the risks associated with repairing a damaged building, this coverage focuses on the risks associated with performing a renovation, update or addition. If a pre-existing part of your building causes you to fail an inspection after completing an improvement or add-on, it can help you with the added expense of bringing it up to code.

While many of our real estate clients opt to bundle all three of these coverages into one comprehensive building ordinance and law policy, they’re also typically available as standalone protections.

Commercial Automobile Insurance

Commercial automobile insurance works much like the individual automobile insurance you carry on your personal vehicle. Commercial insurance is designed to pay for property damage and injuries to passengers and third parties caused when a commercial vehicle titled to your company is involved in an at-fault accident. This insurance is crucial for any real estate agency or business with owned vehicles. It should also include optional coverage for non-owned or hired vehicles used in the course and scope of your business.

Equipment Breakdown Insurance

As a residential or commercial landlord, you know the headaches caused by mechanical and electrical failures. If the HVAC system of your apartment complex stops working in the middle of the summer, this business insurance can help with the costs of fixing or replacing it. In some cases, this coverage can even extend to protect other property that sustained secondary damage from a covered equipment breakdown event, such as perishables in a refrigerator or freezer. It also may respond to the loss of your electrical system caused by lightning shorting out the components and wiring.

Wrap-up Insurance (Owner-Controlled and Contractor-Controlled Insurance Programs)

If you’re an owner, developer or contractor on large projects, wrap-up insurance could offer coverage and cost advantages.

Essentially a shared program for all stakeholders on large projects, this specialized insurance can reduce the risk of lawsuits and help simplify the claims process if things go wrong.

Typically sold as either owner-controlled or contractor-controlled coverage, wrap-up insurance can help bridge coverage gaps by insuring all contractors and subcontractors under a single master program. In most cases, wrap-up programs can be tailored to include casualty coverages such as workers’ comp, general liability, excess liability and other coverages.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Workers’ compensation is a statutory benefit required by law in many states. It requires employers to compensate employees or their families for lost wages and medical care due to job-related injury during the course and scope of the job. It also covers occupational diseases associated with the tasks an employee performs. In exchange for this benefit, employees may have to relinquish their right to sue their employer for negligence.

Builders’ Risk Insurance

Like wrap-up insurance, builders’ risk coverage is especially important for real estate developers and those working directly with contractors on commercial and residential projects. Builder’s risk insurance is specialized property policy designed for general contractors and other parties with an insurable interest in the equipment and materials needed to complete a construction project. If materials, fixtures or equipment intended for a building is lost, damaged or stolen, builders’ risk insurance can help pay for repairing or replacing lost material and soft cost associated with the down time.

Professional Liability Insurance (E&O)

Due to the high complexity of real estate transactions, the likelihood of making a mistake as a real estate professional is considerable.

If you work directly with clients, consult or render professional advice in any capacity, you should carry professional liability insurance coverage.

Also commonly known as “errors and omissions” (E&O), a professional liability insurance policy can help with legal costs, settlements and other expenses.

  • Negligence
  • Misrepresentation
  • Contract Error
  • Violation of Good Faith and Fair Dealing
  • Other Errors in Professional Judgment

 

Real Estate Agent and Broker Risk Management

We tailor coverage to comply with your lender requirements, but we’re careful not to allow the lender to force you to place coverage that isn’t practical or too difficult and expensive to include into your insurance program. We also prepare allocations of premium for the different partnerships on a schedule for the property managers who administer consolidated insurance programs and must account for insurance cost to each partnership.

Whether you have a consolidated or standalone program, we ease your administrative burden. We work to improve your loss control and safety by evaluating your safety measures. We also review your contracts that transfer risks to your tenants and offer an insurance certificate management program to validate the coverage your tenants carry so it complies with the terms in your lease contract. These services aim to reduce your exposures by allocating risk to other parties.

To help ensure your real estate property schedule reflects accurate replacement cost value (RCV), we provide the underwriting profiles and building Construction, Occupancy, Protection and Exposure (COPE) of each building on your schedule. This helps with underwriting each property to its most accurate risk and RCV. Our work helps guarantee that your buildings are neither underinsured nor over-insured, since either scenario increases your cost.

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