Why Condo Insurance is Vital for Owners
While most condominium complexes include insurance with condo fees, as an owner you really should get additional insurance coverage for your personal belongs. The insurance provided by the owners association isn’t going to be of any help with furniture, jewelry, and other valuables you also need to protect. The cost for your own condo association insurance will depend on the value of the items you wish to insure.
Owning a condo involves two policies: your personal condo insurance policy and a “master policy” provided by the condo/co-op board that covers the common areas shared with other condo owners in your building. Common areas, like the pool, hallways, building exteriors, roof, and walkways are covered for issues of liability and physical damage. The condo association collects monthly dues that help to pay for this coverage.
In addition to your personal insurance policy providing coverage for your personal possessions, it also provides you with liability protection so that you will be covered for additional living expenses in the event that you’re a victim of fire, theft or other disasters listed in your policy. It also covers any structural improvements to your condo.
You need to know what the master policy covers
Your master policy should outline exactly what areas of the complex are, and are not, insured by association dues. In order to be certain you’re not under or over insured, you need to determine what is covered by this policy. This will allow you to decide what additional items need to be covered under your policy.
Oftentimes, the association will be responsible for insuring the individual condo or co-op units as they were originally built. If you have made any alterations, you will then be responsible for insuring those areas.
For example, say that a previous owner remodeled the bathroom or kitchen and you agreed to purchase the unit as is. That would have to be covered by your individual policy, not by your associations policy. In many cases, the association is only responsible for insuring the bare walls, floor and ceiling, so its up to you to insure items like kitchen cabinets, bathroom fixtures, plumbing, wiring, and the like.
When purchasing condo association insurance, speak to an agent that can get you the coverage you’re really going to need.