Condominium Insurance

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If you own a condominium you may want to insure it. You may think that your condominium association has insurance and hence you do not need it. Your condominium insurance covers the building, the property that is commonly owned by other condo dwellers too and liability insurance for the association.

You may want to purchase condominium insurance to protect loss to your personal property as well as the inside of the condominium. This insurance also provides liability protection in case of any bodily damage or property damage of a third party.

Why do you need condominium insurance?

Even if your condominium association has insurance that covers your building, you may still need condominium insurance. With the association's insurance policy, only your building and other common properties will be covered. It will neither cover the interiors of your condominium nor will it cover your property inside the condominium. Any loss to your condo due to burglary, water damage, any harm to your room walls or if someone falls on your wet kitchen and gets injured will be covered only on your condominium policy and not on the policy that your association owns. Getting a condominium insurance quote is easy. Ask your insurance agent to get you a good policy that will cover what you think is necessary.

What condo insurance coverage can you expect?

A typical condo insurance policy covers perils like lightning, explosion, fire, riot, hailstorm, windstorm, civil disturbance, smoke, vandalism, theft, falling objects as well as damage from aircraft or vehicles. However, condo insurance coverage is neatly divided into:
  • Building property: This covers any addition or alteration to your unit. If you want to install any new equipment, your condo insurance may provide coverage. Any improvements to your condo association or any new equipment installed in the association may not be your responsibility. This may be covered under the association's insurance. You must, however, check your policy papers carefully.

  • Personal Property: property like clothes or furniture and any other electronic goods will be covered under this policy. This policy also protects your property while you are away from your home. In case of a major accident like fire, an explosion, tornado or any other listed peril strikes your unit, you may need to shift to a substitute place to stay. The 'loss of use' clause in your policy may cover the increased cost of living since you have to move to a new place temporarily.

  • Loss assessment: Condominium owners can benefit from this policy. This policy recognizes the eligibility of the owners to be assessed for a particular kind of loss.

  • Personal liability: If any third party who gets injured in your condo sues you or your family member or brings a lawsuit against you for bodily injury or property damage, this insurance will protect. In addition to this, you may also get coverage for cost of defending a case as well as the court expenses. So that you can protect your assets properly, you need to set your liability limits as high as possible. You may even get an umbrella policy to add an extra layer of personal liability protection to your car, your boat and also your condominium. A medical payments protection up to a certain limit may also be provided with such coverage.

  • Additional living expenses: In case you need to repair the damage to your condo and have to move to a different location where your cost of living increases, this policy reimburses costs of living in such a case usually for the shortest period.

How can you determine what condo insurance coverage to buy?

So that you are able to determine which condo insurance would be best for you and which insurance would provide the required coverage for your condominium, you may ask your agent as many questions as possible like:
  1. How much condo insurance will the association provide?
  2. What are you responsible to insure?
  3. How much is your property worth?
  4. How much insurance should you buy?
  5. Is there replacement cost or actual cash value coverage for your property?
  6. What are the policy limits that your insurer provides?
  7. What liability coverage will your insurer provide?
  8. Is earthquake or flood coverage required for your unit?
Having an inventory always helps, be it for home insurance or for condo insurance. Prepare an inventory (if you don't have one) of everything that you own like your computer, pots, clothes, furniture, television, stereo, video camera, collectibles, jewelry and the like. Add up the total cost of all the items and then calculate how much money you would need to replace all if they happened to be stolen or destroyed. If possible you should also keep the receipts and serial numbers of all such items. Photographs always come handy.

Condominium insurance does not cover flood. Flood insurance needs to be purchased separately.

Your unit is your responsibility. If you want to protect your condominium, it is safe to purchase condo insurance. The insurance that your condominium association has purchased is not sufficient to cover your unit since only the structure will be covered under such a policy. So if you want to cover the space inside your unit and the property that you own inside it, you need to purchase condo insurance.
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