There are more than 30 million condominium units in North America. Condominiums are unique in that they often require having some shared space like a rental. Yet, you still have ownership of your own unit.
It creates an interesting set of needs when it comes to your insurance policy. What do you need to cover in your own condo insurance policy?
Who covers the common areas with insurance? Usually, these areas get covered by the condo association with a condo association master insurance policy.
Are you wondering how these two types of policies are different? What is the condo owner required to cover compared to the condo association?
Most importantly, you want to make sure you're completely covered between the two policies. Read on to learn more about the insurance needs of your condo and the condo association.
What Is Condo Association Insurance?
When you rent an apartment or a house, you have a landlord. You go to your landlord for repairs and know they have some responsibilities related to the care and upkeep of the property.
The same is true for a condominium. When you live in a condominium, you have some shared spaces. Most condominiums will have a condo association.
Owners of the condos pay association dues and then the association has some responsibilities to care for the building upkeep, maintenance, landscaping, and overall care.
Because common areas like entries, hallways, stairways, recreation rooms, and laundry areas are property that's shared, the condo association is responsible for them.
Part of that responsibility lies in also making sure the association has condo association insurance. This is the condo association master insurance policy coverage.
This insurance policy protects the interests of the building's shared spaces that the association is responsible for. More on exact coverage later.
What Is Condo Owners Insurance?
Condo owner's insurance covers the owner of the individual condominium unit and their property. If you bought an individual house, it's the equivalent of your homeowner's insurance policy.
Your condo insurance covers the part of the condominium that is your sole property and not shared by other owners in the community.
There are several different types of coverage you want to include and consider when you look at your personal condo coverage. More on this later.
Bridging Your Coverage
If you're a condo owner or are purchasing a condo and about to be an owner, you want to look closely at exactly what's covered in the condo association master insurance policy.
Since both you and the association have some ownership and a shared vested interest in the property coverage, you want to make sure the two policies between them have everything covered.
It makes sense to work with an experienced insurance agent who understands the unique relationship between condo owners and condo associations.
As you look at your own condo coverage, also have your agent survey the master insurance policy. They can evaluate what this policy covers and then make sure your policy has your own interests covered after that.
Condo Association Master Insurance Policy Coverage
You want to make sure your condo association has the coverage they should have to protect those common, shared spaces. Both parties, owner and association, have an obligation to each other to be well covered.
Let's take a little closer look at what the condo association policy should cover.
Shared Buildings and Common Areas
Condominium communities almost always have shared common spaces. These are the spaces in the community that all owners might have access to and use.
Some common and shared spaces include:
- Recreation areas
- Outdoor shared spaces
- Event space
- Shared gym or workout room
- Parking lots
The insurance coverage for these areas should cover both the property and liability.
Property coverage is for the perils that could potentially happen to the actual property in these common areas.
Your condo association should also have liability insurance for these areas. Liability coverage protects against a potential liability suit if someone should get injured while in these common areas.
If the association gets sued because of an injury in a common area, the association would need liability coverage to protect themselves and the community from a lawsuit.
If you're a condo owner, you have the right to make changes to the inside of your unit. These can even be structural as long as it doesn't impact the integrity of the overall building.
Yet, associations also have some responsibility for the structural part of the units. There are two commonly used structural coverage policies that associations use.
One type of structural policy an association could use is a bare walls-in policy. This type of policy covers restrictively the structure of the condo community. That would include:
It would not, however, cover any interior fixtures like light fixtures.
Associations can also opt to have an all-in policy. This would cover all of the components of a bare walls-in policy. It would also cover:
- Original fixtures
- Appliances inside the individual units
- Common spaces of the condo
Again, you want to know and understand the association coverage carefully, so you can get an individual policy that bridges the gap from where the association policy ends.
If the association has employees who may be working on the condo property, the COA will want to make sure there is a worker's compensation policy in place to protect from liability if a worker is injured on the job.
This might include groundskeepers or maintenance people who regularly work on the property.
Condo Owners Coverage
As an owner, once you understand exactly what's covered in the condo association master insurance policy, then you can consider your own coverage.
There are a variety of types of coverage you might want to include as a condo owner. Let's take a closer look at some of those options.
Liability coverage is a pretty standard part of the expected coverage. Liability coverage insures you if there was an occurrence on your property that caused bodily injury or property damage to someone in your unit.
If there's an injury and a lawsuit gets filed, this coverage provides you a liability shield.
Personal property insurance offers coverage for your personal property inside of your unit for things like a fire or theft. It would provide you with protection should you lose personal items.
This coverage is particularly important since most association policies would not cover your personal property.
As was previously mentioned, inside your unit, you can make changes. You can change lighting, replace cabinets or appliances, for example.
An improvements policy would cover the improvements you've done to your unit that wouldn't fall under the purview of the association policy.
This might include things like flooring, lighting, cabinets, and other free-standing structures.
If your condo experiences a loss through something like a fire or natural disaster, repairs would need to be made. Sometimes the association will choose to pass the cost onto owners through an assessment.
A loss assessment policy would protect you if such an assessment was levied from the association so you wouldn't have to cover that expense out-of-pocket.
Living expenses coverage never seems that important until you really need it. If your condo suffered some kind of damage that made it uninhabitable, you'd need a place to live while repairs were made.
Living expense coverage would pay for your living expenses if you're displaced from your condo while repairs are being done.
Guest medical coverage is optional coverage. But if you live in a place where you have frequent guests, you may want to consider this coverage.
Guest medical insurance would provide medical insurance coverage for guests staying in your home who are injured.
There may be some overlap between this and liability insurance, depending on how the policy is written. So, be sure to talk with your agent about exactly what each would cover.
If your condo is located in a desirable and vacation-friendly location, you may want to rent it out. Before you do any property rentals, you want to make sure you're properly covered.
You can get rental coverage that offers liability and contents coverage while your unit is being rented.
Make Sure Your Condo Is Covered
Insurance for condo associations and condo insurance for owners both work to protect the condominium. One protects the common and shared spaces while the other protects the individual unit.
As a condo owner, you want to have a clear picture of the condo association master insurance policy so then you can get a policy that covers your own unit.
Let us help you with your insurance needs. Contact us today so we can start evaluating your condo insurance needs.