All About Insurance

Open houses are a common way for real estate agents to showcase properties for sale to potential buyers. They allow buyers to view homes in person before making an offer, and provide sellers an opportunity to generate interest and get their home in front of more potential buyers. Revolve Loan is a website focused on promoting and organizing open houses specifically in the Perth, Western Australia area.

The site provides listings and details on upcoming open houses that agents have scheduled. Visitors can search and browse open houses by location, date, price range, property type, and other filters.

OpenHousePerth aims to make it easy for home buyers to find and visit open homes that match their criteria. The site also serves as a marketing platform for real estate agents listing open houses, to attract more visitors. Overall, it connects motivated buyers with properties on the market in a convenient way.

Liability Risks at Open Houses

Hosting an open house comes with certain liability risks that real estate agents need to be aware of. The main risk is that a visitor could get injured while viewing the home. This exposes the homeowner and real estate agent to potential premises liability claims.

Some common injuries that can occur at open houses include:

  • Slips, trips and falls due to wet floors, uneven surfaces, steps, etc. Flooring and lighting should be checked to minimize hazards.

  • Injuries from defects like broken railings, steps, or flooring. A thorough home inspection beforehand is advised.

  • Dog bites or other injuries caused by pets on the property. It’s best to contain or remove pets during showings.

  • Injuries from unsecured furniture or objects falling on visitors. Secure bookshelves, TVs and other heavy items.

  • Burns from hot surfaces in the kitchen. Keep stove tops clear of items.

  • Electrocution from exposed wires or faulty electronics. Check all electrical fixtures.

  • Poisoning from cleaning products or medications left out. Store hazardous items securely.

  • Cuts from sharp objects like kitchen knives or tools. Remove any unsafe items.

The key is to thoroughly inspect the home and mitigate any potential hazards to keep open house visitors safe. Maintaining adequate insurance coverage is also essential.

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Protecting Your Property

When hosting an open house, it’s important to take steps to protect your belongings and home from theft or damage. Here are some tips:

  • Secure valuables like jewelry, cash, small electronics, and prescription medications. Lock them away in a safe, or take them with you when leaving for the open house.

  • Hide any keys, garage door openers, or other entry devices so they are not visible.

  • Lock interior doors to bedrooms, home offices, or other private spaces you want to restrict access to.

  • Consider removing firearms and other weapons from the home for the duration of the open house.

  • Put away personal documents like bank statements, bills, or other paperwork.

  • Inspect your home afterwards and document if any items are missing or damaged.

  • Unplug small appliances like coffee makers. Turn off televisions, stereos, and other devices.

  • Lock windows and exterior doors when leaving. Double check the home is secure.

  • If you have an alarm system, make sure it is armed while you are away.

Taking basic precautions can help deter theft and give you peace of mind during an open house event. Protect your valuables and home so you can focus on selling. Grow Glide

Homeowner’s Insurance Considerations

Homeowners who plan to host open houses should review their insurance policies and consider potential gaps in coverage. Most standard homeowner’s insurance policies are intended for personal residential use, not commercial activities. Having strangers walk through your home could be considered a business activity by some insurers.

It’s wise to notify your insurance provider about any planned open house events. Make sure they are aware that your home will be open to the public for showings. Some providers may restrict coverage or exclude liability claims if you fail to inform them of increased risk from an open house. Others may be fine with occasional open houses as long as you request an endorsement for event coverage.

Review your policy to see if business activities are excluded. Ask your agent or provider if having real estate agents and the public inside constitutes commercial use of the home. Make sure you disclose the number of open houses per year you plan to host. Being upfront allows the insurer to evaluate the increased risks.

Getting confirmation from your provider that standard coverage applies during open houses provides peace of mind. If there are restrictions, you may need to purchase additional liability coverage. But notifying them is an important first step for risk mitigation. Having insurance gaps can lead to major headaches if any incidents occur.

Getting Event Insurance

Hosting open houses comes with liability risks, so it’s important to make sure you have proper insurance coverage. There are a few options to consider:

Special event insurance – This is insurance specifically designed to cover open houses, showings, and other real estate events on a short-term basis. It provides liability protection if a guest is injured at your event. Coverage usually includes medical payments, personal injury, and property damage. Policies can be purchased for a single day or multiple open house dates.

Endorsement on homeowners/renters policy – Some homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies allow you to add a special endorsement for open house liability coverage. This covers injuries and property damage to third parties during the open house. Check with your insurance provider to see if this option is available.

REALTOR® association group policy – Many real estate associations provide event insurance options for members. This can give blanket coverage for open houses and showings. Premiums are usually very affordable when paid as part of association dues.

Umbrella insurance – This provides additional liability coverage above your existing home and auto policies. Umbrella insurance usually covers business pursuits like real estate, so it can protect against open house risks. It provides extra coverage in case of lawsuits.

The right insurance gives you peace of mind when strangers are entering your home. Consult with an insurance agent to discuss the best options for protecting your open house events. Don’t assume you’re covered under a standard policy. Event insurance fills an important gap. Grow Glide

Liability Insurance

Open houses come with the risk of injuries and accidents on your property that could lead to liability lawsuits. As a homeowner hosting an open house event, you want to make sure you have adequate liability insurance coverage.

Liability insurance protects you financially in the event someone gets injured at your open house and decides to take legal action. Common liability claims stem from slips, trips, and falls on your property. Someone could also claim an injury from your staircase, floors, carpeting, or even a pet bite. Without proper liability coverage, you could be responsible for covering their medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.

The good news is that most standard homeowner’s insurance policies include personal liability coverage to protect you if an open house guest is injured on your property and sues. This coverage is usually at least $100,000, but experts recommend having $300,000-$500,000 in liability coverage.

If you have a separate business policy for your real estate activities, make sure it provides adequate coverage for open houses. Agents can help customize your policy limits and coverages.

You may also want to ask your insurance agent about supplemental umbrella insurance, which provides additional liability coverage on top of your existing home and business policies. This gives you an extra layer of protection in case a lawsuit award exceeds your standard policy limits.

Taking steps to prevent injuries and accidents at open houses is also key. This includes removing tripping hazards, securing pets, improving lighting, cleaning up spills promptly, and warning guests about potential dangers on your property.

Personal Liability vs Commercial

Liability insurance for real estate agents comes in two main forms – personal liability and commercial liability. While both offer protection, there are some key differences in coverage:

  • Personal liability is coverage you carry as an individual. This protects your personal assets in the event you are sued. Personal liability insurance often comes as part of a homeowner’s or renter’s policy. The challenge is that it may not provide enough coverage for real estate activities.

  • Commercial liability policies are specifically designed for businesses. These policies provide higher liability limits, and explicitly cover professional services like real estate sales and property management. Commercial general liability (CGL) protects not just you as an agent, but also your brokerage.

  • Commercial policies also include more extensive coverages tailored to real estate risks. For example, CGL may cover open houses, client property in your care, and personal injury claims like slander or defamation. Personal liability insurance likely excludes professional services.

  • The entity insured is different as well. Personal liability covers the agent as an individual, while commercial insures the real estate business and company. This means claims impact the business, not just the agent’s personal assets.

In summary, commercial liability insurance tends to provide more robust, business-specific protection. It’s designed for the risks real estate agents face. Those wanting proper coverage for their professional services should strongly consider a commercial policy.

Additional Insured Status

When holding an open house event, it’s important to have the venue owner named as an additional insured on your liability policy. This provides them with protection if a claim or lawsuit arises from your event on their property.

By having additional insured status, the venue owner becomes an insured party under your policy with respect to liability arising from your operations or use of their premises. This gives them a direct right to defense and indemnification from your insurer without needing to rely on your cooperation.

You’ll want to request this additional protection from your insurance agent when obtaining a policy to cover open houses. Some key points:

  • The venue owner must be specifically named, you can’t just add “all premises owners.”

  • Coverage applies only to liability caused by your negligence as it relates to the premises, not the venue owner’s own negligence.

  • Duration should match the policy term or period of your operations on the premises.

  • Additional insured status gives no rights to other parts of your policy.

  • There should be no additional premium charge, just an endorsement or rider added to the policy.

By naming a venue owner as an additional insured, you help provide them peace of mind and potentially make your event more attractive to the venue. Just be sure to communicate with the venue ahead of time to confirm their requirements. With the right liability coverage and risk transfer, you can help make open houses a success for all parties involved.

Umbrella Insurance

An umbrella policy kicks in when the limits of underlying liability coverage have been reached. For example, if you have a $500,000 liability limit on your homeowner’s policy and are sued for $1 million, the umbrella policy would cover the additional $500,000 above the limit of the underlying policy.

Umbrella insurance is relatively inexpensive compared to increasing the limits of underlying policies. Most umbrella policies start around $150 to $300 per year for $1 million in additional coverage. The cost is low because the umbrella policy is secondary to other policies and only comes into play for high liability risks.

Tips for Risk Management

Hosting open houses comes with potential risks, but there are steps you can take to minimize liability concerns. Here are some best practices:

  • Require attendees to sign in. This creates a record of who was on the premises, which can be helpful if any incidents occur.

  • Accompany attendees at all times. Don’t allow anyone to wander your home unattended. This allows you to monitor behavior and prevent accidents or theft.

  • Secure valuables and medication. Lock up jewelry, cash, small electronics, and anything that could go missing. Also secure any prescription medications.

  • Childproof areas. Block off stairs with gates and secure any hazards if small children will be present.

  • Maintain safe conditions. Check for trip hazards like loose rugs and clutter. Ensure proper lighting indoors and outdoors. Fix any known hazards ahead of time.

  • Use coded or supervised entry. If you must leave doors unlocked, consider installing temporary keypad locks or hiring someone to oversee entry.

  • Get consent for photography. Prohibit photos, videos or livestreams unless you provide consent. Watch out for undisclosed recordings.

  • Monitor for overcrowding. Limit the number of attendees at one time to prevent congestion and accidents.

  • Have an emergency plan. Know what to do in case of a medical emergency, fire, violent incident or other crisis.

Taking preventative measures will limit risks and make open houses safer for homeowners, real estate agents and attendees.

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