How We Found Commercial Insurance To Protect Us When We Rent Out Our Home Tennis Court
When my sister and I wanted to rent our family home tennis court out to others to play on, we wanted to make sure we were protected regarding liability and property damage. Most insurers we talked with, however, did not have any products that would cover this mix residential/commercial scenario.
But after much searching, we did find an insurer we are happy with - one that offered lots of coverage while being suprisingly affordable - and we wanted to share that info with you here.
This is NOT legal advice nor do we make any endorsements. We just hope our personal story might be helpful to others who also want to rent parts of their residential property out to others.
Renting Out Our Home Tennis Court
My sister Alex and I are founders of RentMyCourt, a marketplace where tennis and other racket players can play on unique, private homeowners' courts.
As an initial test, we set out to rent our own family tennis court. And an early task: protect our court regarding liability and court damages.
Our Own Insurance vs Rental Marketplaces' Insurance
We are quite familiar with the issues of rental property insurance. I've dealt with insurance for a rental property for many years. And what I've learned is that many rental marketplaces say they offer the host insurance, but the fact is there are many loopholes, and the terms make it difficult to successfully place a claim.
Some rental marketplaces say they cover up to one million dollars, for example, but the host or property owner often ends up with most of the liability on themselves and their own property insurance.
The biggest benefit of obtaining your own insurance is that it’s yours and you can choose to purchase as much protection as you think best. You’re not relying on a third party that may or may not cover you should something go wrong.
The majority of rental properties on the market secure additional insurance or upgrade to a commercial insurance plan.
With that in mind, we set out to take control of our home court insurance.
1. Review Existing Homeowners Coverage
Whether we rent out our rental property via Airbnb or our tennis court via RentMyCourt, our first step was to check with our existing residential homeowner insurance carrier. We wanted to learn if our court could be covered under our current, residential plan.
We asked our existing home insurance carrier, "if we start renting out our home tennis court, will we be covered?"
Their quick answer was “no.” This insurance company was not in the business of insuring rental properties, as is often the case.
If we wanted to rent our court we would need to obtain an additional, commercial insurance plan specifically for the tennis court from a carrier that deals with short-term rentals.
2. Finding Commercial Insurance For Our Home Court
When we began this journey, we quickly realized there’s a serious gap in the marketplace for court rental insurance. In fact, the insurance companies were perplexed by this request.
Most had never heard this request before – and these are some of the biggest firms in the world.
But after being rejected by all of them, our persistent work paid off. With the help of a diligent broker we found a carrier that could provide general liability for our family’s home court.
And most importantly, this unique plan wouldn’t conflict with our current homeowner’s policy.
The Coverage And Cost
Through our insurance broker, we found a separate, commercial, general liability policy for our tennis court. We were offered general liability coverage for claims up to $1 million in case we are sued or found negligent.
And best of all, it was affordable at $570 for the year. This breaks down to $47.50 a month.
Factoring in our potential RentMyCourt tennis court rental income, this expense should be easily covered.
Most insurance companies will want the full premium paid up front, as ours did, but if you already own and maintain a private court, this will most likely be a minor burden compared to other expenses.
The Insurance Provider
We are not endorsing any company and you may have access to different carriers, but in case it helps, our insurance broker found coverage from the carrier Nautilus Insurance Company (A.M. Best rating A + XV).
An additional insurance rider, covering only the liability and damages on your court, should provide the necessary additional coverage a primary homeowner carrier will want to see. And, finally, you and any renter stepping on your court should have peace of mind -- something that’s impossible to place a value on.
As RentMyCourt grows and we prove there is a need for this type of coverage, we look to offer similar coverage to RentMyCourt.com hosts, making things a little less burdensome for court owners who want to rent out their courts.
But even with such third-party coverage, we suspect some home owners may still want to get their own, additional insurance directly with an insurer so that they can define exactly what they need.
And that makes a lot of sense to us.
We hope our journey above can help you simplify your search for home tennis court insurance coverage.
I hope this is helpful!
Co-founder of RentMyCourt