Condo insurance can be a little confusing, because a condo policy is a hybrid between renters insurance and house insurance. Like a house, you can buy a condo and own it. Similar to an apartment, you sometimes are adjacent to others and share a wall with the next unit. Condo living means freedom from outdoor maintenance like shovelling and mowing, access to extra amenities and the opportunity to strengthen social connections. Sometimes condo owners are not sure what is covered under the Condo Corporation’s policy or what they are responsible for. It can be complex trying to understand why you need condo insurance and what you should have for coverage.
Although the condominium corporation must carry insurance on the building, it does not cover you or your belongings.
The condo corporation’s insurance policy will not cover:
- Your personal belongings
- The damage that you cause to someone else’s unit
- Improvements or upgrades completed inside your condo unit
Therefore, condo unit owners require their own condo insurance policy. Sometimes condo unit owners may be faced with instances where the condo corporation has no insurance or the coverage is not adequate.
What is Condo Insurance?
The most important difference between condo and tenants insurance is dwelling coverage. With condo insurance, you are insuring your personal belongings, any improvements that you make to your unit, if someone gets hurt while visiting the unit and in case you damage any of the other units.
Why do I need insurance if the condo board has insurance?
Condo boards or associations must insure share-use and common areas such as the lobby, gym, parking lots, elevators, and the exterior of the building. Example: storm damage to vinyl siding or roof shingles is generally covered by the association’s policy. This coverage does not include accidents or damage that happens inside your unit. For example: if your kitchen walls are damaged due to a grease fire on your stove.
The exact distinction between the responsibility of the association and the responsibility of an owner will be spelt out in the association documents. When obtaining insurance, this information is helpful to provide to your insurance broker.
What is included in a Condo Insurance policy?
A condo insurance policy covers against a number of things. Some of them include:
- Glass (windows, etc.)
- fires and smoke damage
- sewer back up or water main breaks
- theft and vandalism
- personal property
- liability coverage
- additional living expenses (due to displacement)
- fires and arson
- upgrades to your unit
- accidental damage
What determines the cost of condo insurance?
There are a couple of different factors that play into the cost of your condo insurance policy. Generally, the main factors behind the cost are:
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