Shovelling snow, cutting grass, and cleaning the pool. If you live in a condo, these are all things you can happily forget about. But condo insurance isn’t one of them.
Yes, your condo association will have a master insurance policy, but it may only cover the basic building—walls, roof, floors, and elevators—as well as common areas like the lobby and the gym. Other associations will buy a more comprehensive policy that also includes basic items within each unit, such as appliances, carpets, cabinets and interior walls.
Find out what kind of insurance policy your condo association has before you decide what insurance you need for your unit. While the association’s insurance should at least cover the bare bones of your original unit, a personal policy can help make up that shortfall through contingent insurance.
But even if your association has a more comprehensive master policy, it won’t include any upgrades you’ve made to your unit. So if you bought a Sub-Zero fridge and a Bosch dishwasher and both are destroyed in a fire, the master policy won’t cover the difference between your top-of-the-line kitchen and the appliances that came with the unit.
If your association has a master policy and you don’t make significant changes to your condo, you still need insurance to protect your furniture, computer, jewelry and other belongings, both in your unit and your locker. If you have any valuables, like a wine collection, expensive jewelry, or a high-priced bicycle, make sure you buy extra insurance so they’re protected as well.
Personal condo insurance can help with living expenses (like hotel rooms and restaurant meals if you have to move out of your condo) while it’s being repaired after damage from an insured peril, such as a fire. It can also replace rental income if an insured peril forces your tenant to move out while repairs are being made.
Additionally, condo insurance can help when the association submits a claim for damage to common areas and divides the deductible among all residents. It can also help if you’re responsible for paying the entire deductible. If the sink starts leaking in your sixth-storey unit, for example, and water damage spreads to the units below you, your association might require you to pay for the deductible—which can be as high as $150,000—or even the entire bill.
Personal condo insurance also covers third-party liability issues. Sure, if the mailman slips on the front steps or if a guest gets injured on the pool deck, the association’s insurance will handle any claims. But you still have to consider liability claims from anyone injured while specifically visiting your unit. Insurance can cover their lost wages and medical fees.
Liability insurance also covers you and your family if you damage another person’s property. So if you bump into a neighbour as they move into the building and shatter their new flat-screen TV, your insurance policy would buy them another one.
To estimate your insurance costs, get a home insurance quote.
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Flickr: Sam Xu