While your condo may be your home, don’t expect to protect it with a typical homeowners insurance policy.
That’s because condos have unique coverage needs. To help point you in the right direction, here are four questions to consider when it comes to condo insurance coverage.
1. What is your condo’s master policy? Because you share common areas with other condo residents, you share insurance responsibilities for those areas. This insurance coverage is often included in your monthly dues; while these payments handle condo insurance coverage for the common areas, you will be probably responsible for insuring your own private space.
The condo’s master policy should outline which spaces are communally insured and which areas are your responsibility. Most master policies usually cover things in one of two ways: 1.) Bare walls-in covers exterior framing, fixtures and installations only or 2.) all-in that provides coverage for your individual unit in addition to the exterior elements. You will need a smaller personal insurance policy if your condominium has an all-in master policy as opposed to a bare walls-in policy. For this reason, is important to read your condo association master policy and bylaws to better understand what you are responsible for insuring.
2. How much coverage do you need? Unfortunately, there is no hard-and-fast answer. Coverage options vary widely based on the contents of your home, what your home is made of and the condo’s master policy.
Once you’ve considered these things, you will need to choose between cash-value or replacement-cost coverage. Cash-value takes into account the depreciation when providing coverage. So that computer you bought two years ago will only be replaced in today’s dollars.
In contrast, replacement-cost policies provide reimbursement based on what it would take to replace the item with a new model in today’s dollars.
3. What should be included in your condo insurance policy?
Condominium unit owners typically need coverage for:
- Real property that includes structural elements like flooring, countertops, cabinets and lighting. This is commonly covered under “building additions and alterations” coverage.
- Personal property such as furniture, clothing and electronic devices.
- Loss assessments. This coverage kicks in when your association levies an assessment for certain kinds of losses. (For instance, a major fire that causes damage exceeds the association’s master policy coverage.)
- Loss of use that pays for your lodging if a fire or other unfortunate event prevents you from living in your condo for an extended period of time.
- Personal liability that covers you in the event someone gets hurt while visiting your condo.
4. What other coverage do you need? Depending on your personal circumstances, you many need additional protection. A flood policy is just one example. These policies are usually optional, but don’t ignore them as they may be required by your bylaws if your condo is located on a flood plain.
You may also consider water-backup coverage, which offers protection if your condo suffers damage.
Another extra coverage worth considering is an endorsement to provide extra coverage for valuable items like expensive jewelry, collectible items or fine art.
The best way to make sure your condo insurance coverage accurately addresses your needs is to speak with an insurance professional like an Erie Insurance Agent. Your insurance agent can help you find affordable coverage that gives your condo the protection it really needs.
Learn more valuable condo insurance tips in the final post.