Insurance for the Condo Owner

Posted on: Wednesday, November 13, 2013

One of the risks that condominium owners face is not getting enough insurance coverage. It is imperative that all condo owners thoroughly understand the specifics of what the condominium association’s master insurance policy will, and will not, cover. Condominium bylaws may not strictly detail every element of their policy. 

Your association’s responsibilities

Generally, condominium associations cover all exterior elements of the units, and all grounds. Essentially, they insure from the four walls, and out. However, there are countless variations on this plan. Are your floors and ceilings covered by their policy? Are you responsible for painting after ceiling damage? Questions like this are why every owner within the association should request a copy of the association’s insurance agreement. 

Not only should you have full knowledge of what you need to cover in your own policy, you should be aware of what the deductibles are within the association. For example, in the case of severe wind damage to the common area, or to the structures, the association will submit a claim to their insurer. However, some form of deductible will surely be in place. If that deductible is, say, $50K, that amount will be divided between all members of the association. Certainly, it is important to know what your liability will be in this or any similar circumstance.

 If you still have questions after reviewing the association’s insurance agreement, you have every right to contact their agent. Ask about problems which may have appeared in the past that some association members have encountered, or weren’t prepared for. In preparing for your own insurance coverage, having thorough knowledge of your needs can’t be over stressed.

Do you need flood or hurricane insurance?

Your association probably has coverage if you live in high risk areas, but that policy won’t cover your liability for your unit. If you live in one of these areas, your association likely will require you to prove that you are covered in the event of a crisis. 

How much coverage do you need?

It is always a good idea to explore the replacement costs of all items that your association will not cover. This includes fixtures, countertops, flooring, as well as your possessions. What would it cost to upgrade all of these things? How old is that water heater that you would need to replace, or your mattress? Depreciation could take a big chunk out of your actual value replacement costs. 

It is easy to forget what you have, especially in times of crisis and need. Make an annual assessment of your personal contents, including any collections and artwork. You should record, ideally in video format, every significant possession, particularly emphasizing those things which would be most difficult to replace. Talk to your agent about getting expanded coverage for items like jewelry and paintings.

Don’t leave anything to chance. Your condominium is your home, and therefore is every bit as precious to you as any house would be. 

Got questions? Core Benefits Group has answers. Please call us at 1-877-214-2969.  



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