Is Homeowners Insurance Required for a Life Estate Tenant? #motorcycle #insurance #rates

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A life estate tenant is a person who is allowed to use an estate for life as a tenant and not an owner as long as the person is alive. This arrangement can lead to issues concerning homeowners insurance. The question that frequently arises is over who has responsibility for paying for the homeowners insurance.

State Laws Vary

When a tenant has the right to use and enjoy an estate for life, there is little motivation to pay for homeowners insurance since it is not his or her property. The tenant may carry renter s insurance but that only provides coverage for the tenant s assets and some level of liability.

The estate owner naturally wants the tenant to pay the insurance since it is the tenant getting the benefit of the property use. The question then arises over who is responsible for paying the homeowners insurance and especially when the tenant does not have a paid-up policy.

State laws vary which makes it difficult to give a single answer. It is important to consult an attorney familiar with the state laws in the state where the estate is located. In many states, it is case precedent that establishes your rights and responsibilities as a life estate tenant or estate owner.

For example, in Florida the courts have ruled in several cases that the life estate tenant has the duty to pay all of the ordinary expenses that a homeowner would pay and they include taxes, insurance and property maintenance. This is true in other states also including New York.

When the Tenant Does Not Pay for Homeowners Insurance

Life estate tenants may have a duty to pay for homeowners insurance but that does not mean they will meet their responsibility. In that case the estate owner has a couple of choices:

  • Pay for the homeowners insurance to protect property interests
  • Sue the tenant to force him or her to buy the homeowners policy

The difficult with suing is that it may cost more to sue than the cost of the policy. In addition, if the tenant does not have the money to pay for insurance then suing the person may not get the desired results.

Get Legal Advice

The issue of whether a life estate tenant should pay for homeowners insurance can be difficult to resolve since there are few, if any, laws that directly order the tenant to pay for it. Many times the life estate owner lives in another state also which further complicates the matter. It is important to consult a real estate lawyer who is knowledgeable in this area of law to find resolution.

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