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RISMEDIA, June 30, 2011—With winter weather creeping in, landlords should be aware of exactly what their landlord insurance policy covers.

Many building owners could be surprised at what costly items are not covered in a standard policy, especially with high fire hazard months ahead. Residential fires are more prevalent in winter months than in spring or summer months, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. A residential fire can completely destroy a structure and all of its contents, which may not be covered by a policy. points out some costly items that may not be insured under a policy.

Fires in homes increase in colder months mainly due to the higher number of cooking and heating fires. Heating a home becomes more expensive in the winter so people turn to their fireplaces, wood stoves, space heaters and other cheaper alternatives to common utilities. Although these can be a good option, they do come with risks that are preventable. Safety precautions must be taken to avoid residential fires.

However, accidents do happen and policies vary from company to company. Many property owners would think that their landlord insurance policy would cover the financial damages from a fire. A basic policy will likely cover the building itself, whether it is a house, apartment, duplex, townhouse, quad, condominium (condo), vacation rental or other dwelling. But usually the contents within the building musbe insured under a separate section.

In addition to the structure, any personal contents that are provided by the building owner for use by the renters should be covered by liability protection. The landlord contents insurance can have a limited or full contents policy. Limited contents policies are generally used for unfurnished or partly furnished properties and will typically cover items such as light fixtures and fittings, curtains, carpets and appliances. Regardless if the unit is sparsely furnished with such items, an owner should consider liability coverage in case of injury to tenants or guests caused by defective cookers, lighting fixtures, or stairs. If there was an incident, the compensation of the claim would be substantial.