Insurance: Open Your Doors to Peace of Mind

Hosting an Insurance comes with risks that agents should be aware of. An open house invites dozens, if not hundreds, of strangers into a home or property. This can expose the property to risks of damage or theft. Agents also face liability risks if someone gets injured during a showing.   

With so many unknown people coming through, it’s impossible to avoid all risks. Accidents or theft can happen, even with the most careful planning. This makes insurance an essential safeguard for open houses.

The right insurance policy can provide vital protection for both the property and the agent or broker. It covers liabilities from guest injuries, damage to the home, and even lawsuits that may arise. Insurance can save agents from facing devastating costs in the event something goes wrong.

This guide will explore the risks of open houses, different policy options, and tips for minimizing risks. With the proper safeguards, agents can host open houses with greater peace of mind. The goal is for agents to understand why open house insurance is so important and how to secure adequate coverage.

Liability Risks

Selling real estate carries many legal risks that realtors need to be aware of, especially when hosting open houses. Liability risks are the dangers that an accident or injury at an open house could lead to a lawsuit or legal claim against the realtor or brokerage. This is one of the top reasons why Insurance is so crucial.

Some common liabilities to be aware of:

  • Bodily injury – Visitors could trip, slip, or fall inside or outside the home and suffer injuries. This can easily lead to premises liability claims if the home is not properly maintained and hazards are not removed.
  • Illness – If a guest gets food poisoning or sick from refreshments served, the realtor may be liable. Making sure food is properly stored, prepared, and served is important.
  • Dog bites – Many open houses allow dogs or pets on the property. If a pet attacks and injures a guest, the realtor may be held responsible.
  • Damage to visitor vehicles – Cracked windshields, dings, scratches – any damage done to a guest’s car on site can trigger claims.
  • Criminal acts – Sadly, open houses can sometimes attract theft, assault, or other crimes that jeopardize visitors’ safety.

These risks show why open house insurance is so important for liability protection. Policies cover legal costs, settlements, and damages that may arise from claims. Without coverage, realtors are personally responsible for incident costs.

Property Damage

Opening your home up to the public for an open house also opens you up to the possibility of property damage. Complete strangers walking through a property means there is always a risk, whether intentional or accidental, of possessions getting damaged or stolen.

Some common examples of property damage at open houses include:

  • Spilled food or beverages staining carpets or furniture
  • Cracked windows or damaged walls from rowdy guests 
  • Items knocked over and broken like vases or decor
  • Electronics or appliances broken from mishandling
  • Bathrooms left in disarray with towels and toiletries stolen
  • Medicine cabinets were raided with prescription drugs taken
  • Small valuables like jewelry lifted inconspicuously  

The damages can really add up if multiple groups go through your home. And theft of valuables is also a huge concern during open houses when belongings are left accessible. As a homeowner, you have limited control over who enters your home and what they do once inside. So insuring against property damage is a must to protect your assets.

Types of Open House Insurance

Homeowners typically rely on their homeowner’s or landlord’s insurance policies to cover liability risks during a home open house. These standard policies often include some protections but may have limitations or exclusions for commercial activities. As a result, some additional coverage is usually recommended.

  • Homeowner’s insurance – Standard homeowner’s policies provide some liability coverage for injury or property damage to third parties during an open house. However, coverage may be limited or excluded if a claim relates to business activities. Policyholders should review their policies and speak to their insurer about appropriate coverage.
  • Supplemental insurance – Due to possible gaps with a homeowners policy, it is often recommended to purchase an endorsement or supplemental insurance to expand liability coverage specifically for open houses. These endorsements or riders can be obtained through the homeowner’s insurer. Supplemental open house insurance provides protection for claims by attendees due to property damage or injury during a showing.

Purchasing expanded liability insurance to supplement a standard homeowner’s policy is the best way to protect against risks associated with allowing numerous unfamiliar visitors into your home. A qualified insurance agent can explain options and make recommendations based on your specific home and needs. With proper preparation and coverage, homeowners can open their doors to potential buyers with greater peace of mind.

Finding the Right Policy

Finding the right insurance policy for an open house requires carefully considering your specific coverage needs and costs. The main types of insurance to consider are:

  • Homeowners or renters insurance – This may already provide some liability coverage for an open house. Check if your policy covers open houses and the limits. You may be able to add a rider to increase coverage during the open house.
  • Event insurance – This specialized insurance covers liability risks during special events like open houses. It provides coverage for injuries, property damage, and personal injury claims. The cost depends on the value of your home, the length of the open house, the number of attendees, and other factors. 
  • REALTOR® liability insurance – If you’re a real estate agent hosting the open house, your professional liability insurance may provide coverage. But it’s still smart to get event insurance as added protection.

To find the right fit, work with an insurance agent or broker who understands open house risks. Provide details on your home value, expected attendance, refreshments offered, homeowners insurance coverage, and more. They can explain options to tailor a policy with sufficient liability limits, without overpaying on unnecessary coverage. Comparing quotes from multiple insurers helps find an optimal balance of coverage and affordability. With a carefully chosen policy, you can have peace of mind hosting a successful and incident-free open house.

Setting Limits and Deductibles

When purchasing an Insurance policy, you’ll need to decide how much coverage you need. This involves setting limits on the policy to determine the maximum payout you’ll receive per claim. It also involves setting a deductible – the amount you’ll pay out-of-pocket before the insurance kicks in. 

How do you determine appropriate limits and deductibles? Here are some tips:

  • Consider the value of your personal belongings. If you have expensive furniture or artwork in the home, you may want higher limits to fully cover replacement costs if items are damaged or stolen.
  • Factor in liability risks. Higher liability limits protect you in the event a guest is injured during an open house. Recommended liability limits are often $1 million or more.
  • Look at the claim history. If you’ve filed multiple claims before, higher limits ensure you’ll have sufficient coverage moving forward.
  • Set an affordable deductible. Opting for a lower deductible means you’ll pay less out-of-pocket per claim. But it also raises your premiums. Find the right balance for your budget.
  • Ask your insurance agent for guidance. They can help determine appropriate limits and deductibles based on your specific risks.

Setting the right limits and deductibles is crucial. Going too low could leave you underinsured or result in unaffordable premiums. But too high means you’ll pay more per claim. Work with your insurance professional to find the optimal coverage limits and deductibles for your needs and budget.

Making a Claim

If an incident occurs during your open house that leads to liability, property damage, or injury, it’s important to know how to properly claim your real estate open house insurance policy. 

First, document everything that happened with photos, notes, police reports, medical bills, and anything else relevant. The more thorough you are, the easier the claims process will be.

Next, contact your insurance agent or broker as soon as possible to notify them of the incident. Provide all the documentation and be ready to answer any questions they have.

Depending on your policy, you may need to pay your deductible upfront before the insurance company contributes its portion to the claim payout. You’ll also need to allow them to complete their investigation and review process, which may require an adjuster to visit the property. 

During this time, be sure to mitigate any further damage and preserve evidence in case of litigation. Only work with approved contractors or repair specialists recommended by your insurance company as well. 

Making a claim is often a stressful process, but being organized and communicating promptly with your insurer will help it go as smoothly as possible. With the right open-house insurance policy, you can have peace of mind knowing you are protected if the unthinkable occurs.

Limiting Risks

When hosting an open house, it’s important to take steps to limit your liability risks. Here are some tips to help prevent incidents and reduce the likelihood of claims:

  • Keep all floors free of clutter and potential tripping hazards. Tidy up and remove any loose rugs, wires, toys, etc.
  • Use child safety locks on cabinets, drawers, and toilets. Remove any dangerous items like chemicals, medications, or weapons.
  • Secure or remove fragile and valuable items so they are not damaged.
  • Ensure all entryways, halls, and stairways are well-lit. Replace any burnt-out light bulbs.
  • Remove snow and ice from entryways and walkways. Keep a large walk-off mat outside to reduce track in the water. 
  • If you have pets, secure them in another room or take them offsite so they don’t get loose or upset any visitors.
  • Check your property for any condition that seems unsafe or hazardous and repair it.
  • Keep an eye on all visitors at your open house and don’t leave them unattended in any rooms.
  • After the open house, double-check for any personal belongings or keys left behind by visitors.

Taking simple precautions can significantly reduce risks. Be sure your home is clean, safe, and secure before inviting in visitors.

Alternatives to Insurance

While insurance is usually recommended for open houses, there are some alternatives that may allow you to avoid the cost of a policy, depending on your specific situation and risk tolerance.


Some real estate agents choose to have visitors sign a waiver or release of liability form before entering an open house. This states that the visitor assumes all risks involved and agrees not to hold the agent or property owner liable for any injuries or accidents that occur on-site. 

Waivers can provide some legal protection, but their enforceability varies. They may not withstand a lawsuit, especially if negligence can be proven. Most experts advise against relying solely on waivers for open houses. They should be used cautiously as just one risk management tool.

Assuming the Risk 

You may decide to simply take on the risks yourself and forego Insurance. This is inadvisable for most real estate professionals. However, an agent who only hosts a few open houses per year may opt to change it. 

The danger is the potentially huge liability if an accident does occur. A personal injury lawsuit could easily exceed $1 million. And any damage to the home could also result in legal action from the sellers.

Limiting Access

Limiting access to parts of the home during an open house reduces risks. Lock rooms that don’t need to be seen. Block off areas under construction or in poor repair. Don’t allow visitors in basements, attics, yards, or garages. This cuts liability for slips, falls, injuries, and property damage.

Post signs clearly marking restricted areas. Accompany visitors at all times. While not a full substitute for insurance, limiting access can be part of an overall risk management approach.


When hosting an open house, it’s important to protect yourself and your property from liability risks. An open house insurance policy can provide coverage for injuries, theft, and property damage that may occur during the event. Key points to remember include:

  • Insurance risks like slips, falls, and theft that make insurance advisable. Specialized open house policies offer tailored coverage compared to standard homeowners or real estate policies.
  • Focus your coverage on liability limits to cover injuries, as well as property damage limits for theft and vandalism. Setting appropriate deductibles helps balance premium costs.
  • Take steps to reduce risks through safety precautions, security, and limiting access. But insurance is still important as a financial safety net for the unforeseen.
  • Compare policies from insurance providers that specialize in real estate to find the right option. Look for key coverages and limits that align with your specific needs and local regulations.
  • Understanding the claims process, including documenting damages and timely notification, ensures you can effectively utilize your insurance if the need arises.

Having appropriate insurance coverage gives you peace of mind that you are protected against the diverse risks that accompany hosting an open house. Taking informed precautions further minimizes the likelihood of issues occurring.

Leave a Comment