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Even though a condo is usually much smaller than a home, the process for buying one is just as complicated.

You are still going to need insurance to cover your unit in the event of a catastrophic loss. 

Most lenders are going to require this coverage and even if they don't, you would be crazy to go without coverage.

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In this post today i will go over why you need condo insurance, how it works and how to get it.

So, What Is Condo Insurance?

In Plain English, condo insurance, also known as H06 Insurance is protection against a covered loss for your condominium. 

Unlike a traditional home, when you buy a condo you don't actually own the building or the land your condo sits on; however, you do own everything on the inside of the condo including the internal walls. 

This is where condominium insurance comes into play, since you aren't renting the unit, and you don't actually own the building, you still need coverage for your personal property, liability, loss of use and personal electronics. 

Unlike a traditional homeowners insurance policy, a condo insurance policy does not cover the structure of the building; that part of the building is going to be covered by your homeowners association's (HOA's) master policy.

Why do I need condo insurance?

The main reason you will need condo insurance is that your condo association will not cover things like your personal property or if you get sued for someone getting hurt in your condo.

It won't cover things like a break-in, dog bites or if the entire condo building burned down; typically your condo HOA will only cover the common areas, the building structure, and liability for building. 

A condo insurance policy is going to help protect the interior unit of your home and in some cases will also pay for the loss of use of your common areas, known as Loss Assessment Coverage.

Condo Insurance Vs Home Insurance & Renters Insurance

When it comes to owning a condo or a home and renting a home there is a lot of confusion misunderstanding about what homeowners insurance covers, what condo insurance will cover, and when someone will need renters insurance. 

While all of these types of overages will have personal property insurance attached, cover personal liability, and have a replacement cost option, they are three completely different types of insurance coverage and also offer different insurance discounts.

Condo Insurance

Condo insurance is only for your personal property and internal structures, your condo policy will cover:

  • Personal Property
  • Personal Liability
  • Medical Coverage
  • Loss Of Use Coverage
  • Loss Assessment Coverage

Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance is the best defense you can give your family from a disaster and usually covers:

  • Personal Property
  • Personal Liability
  • Medical Coverage
  • Loss Of Use Coverage
  • Other Structures Coverage
  • Structure Coverage

Renters Insurance

Renters insurance is only for your personal property, your renters policy will usually cover:

  • Personal Property
  • Personal Liability
  • Medical Coverage
  • Loss Of Use Coverage

As you can see, these policies have just enough differences to make them all necessary, if you own a condo, you will need a condo policy, for your home a home policy and if you are renting, a renters policy. 

HOA Insurance vs Condo Insurance 

There is a huge difference between your HOA's master insurance policy and an individual condo insurance policy.

Below we go over what each one would cover:

Condo Insurance

Your condo policy would kick in for the below things:

  • Damage To The Interior Of Your Unit
  • A Guest Gets Hurt In Your Home
  • Your Belongings Are Stolen
  • You Need To Help Cover Common Area Damage
  • Your Condo Is Uninhabitable Due To A Covered Loss

HOA Master Policy

Your HOA's master policy would kick in for the below things: 

  • Damage To The Building Exterior
  • Injuries Sustained By Guests In Common Areas
  • Damage To Common Areas / Shared Amenities

What Does Condo Insurance Cover? 

It's essential to understand what your condo insurance policy will actually cover, below we go over everything a condo policy covers:

Personal Property

The most important aspect of a condo policy is the coverage of your personal property, if your items are stolen or destroyed by a covered loss such as fire or water damage, your items will be covered. 

These policies will usually cover your items on a replacement cost basis, which means the insurance company will pay out what it would cost to replace your item today; not the price of what you originally paid for the item.

Personal liability

If you have ever found yourself watching an episode of Judge Jerry, (Yes, Jerry Springer has a show as a judge now) you might find it odd that family and friends sue each other. 

This is exactly why you  need this type of coverage; if your friend or family member is injured inside your unit, condo insurance will help pay for their medical expenses and protects you financially if they decide to sue.

Damage to Interior structure

The one thing you have to remember is that when you buy a condo, you only own what's inside the unit. 

This means you still need coverage for your walls, floors, ceilings and counter-tops and these items are specifically covered by your condo insurance.

Loss Of Use

If you can no longer live in your unit because of damage caused by a covered loss, your policy will help cover your living expenses such as a hotel and traveling costs, while your unit is being repaired. 

Loss Assessment

If a common area is damaged by a covered loss, and there aren't enough funds to cover it within the HOA, each unit owner will be responsible for covering their share of the loss.  

This is where loss assessment coverage kicks in by taking care of those expenses. 

Now that we have a clear understanding of what condo insurance will cover, let's talk about what it won't cover.

What Condo Insurance Doesn't Cover? 

While condo insurance does cover a ton of things, there are still a few items that won't be covered by your condo insurance policy: 

  • Floods
  • Earthquakes
  • Wear and tear
  • Nuclear hazards
  • Intentional injuries to others
  • Damage from birds, rodents and insects
  • Damage from underground water (like sewer backups)

How Much Does Condo Insurance Cost?

According to Valuepenguin, the average cost of condo insurance is about $478 per year, this is just shy of about $40.00 per month.

Now, keep in mind that this is a national average and that the cost can vary depending on where you live, your deductible amount, and the other limits you choose. 

How Much Condo Insurance Do I need?

To figure out how much condo insurance you will need, the first factor you need to consider is how much it will cost to replace all of your personal property.

You will need to take an inventory of all your things and get an idea of what your costs would be if you lost everything.

Next, you will need to review your HOA's master policy so that you know what they will and will not cover in regards to the interior of your unit.

For instance, will they cover your plumbing or wiring? 

When it comes to the interior of your unit, review your HOA’s master policy before deciding on the final amount of condo insurance you may need.

Believe it or not, some HOA plans may cover your original cabinetry, lighting and other fixtures in your unit, if that’s the case, you could go with a lower coverage option for physical damage. 

Your best solution is going to be to add up how much it would cost if you lost everything and go with a policy that can cover as much of it as possible that you can comfortably afford. 

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