Owning a condo provides a lot of the advantages of homeownership, without burdening you with some of the pitfalls and potential costs of owning a house: condos tend to require less maintenance, have lower monthly utility bills and are less susceptible to break-ins or burglary.
But in addition to a number of advantages, condo ownership also offers its own unique set of potential risks, which is why it’s important to have a condo insurance plan that covers the sorts of issues that most commonly arise in condos.
Let’s take a look at what is and isn’t covered under most condo insurance plans.
Your Personal Belongings
One of the biggest reasons to get condo insurance is to cover the cost of replacing any of your possessions in the event of an unexpected and unwanted incident like a fire. In all likelihood, your condo association’s insurance won’t extend to property stored within your condo, which means that if you want to protect your most prized possessions, you’ll need to make sure you have your own coverage.
In addition to personal belongings like your clothes and other household items, condo insurance will also cover larger and potentially more expensive pieces like your furniture.
When assessing the value of their current possessions, people tend to underestimate how much it would cost to replace their things, and furniture is one of the easiest things to undervalue. If your current furniture is older it may be tempting to think that it’s not very valuable and therefore won’t cost much to replace. But if it gets damaged in afire, you’ll likely end up having to replace it with newer pieces, which can quickly become very costly.
Your Kitchen Appliances and Electronics
After furniture, the other big-ticket items in your condo are your appliances and any other large electronic devices, like TVs or stereo systems. Electronic devices are particularly susceptible to water damage, which is one of the most common property claims made by insurance customers. Condo insurance will protect your electronic devices and help you cover their costs in the event of damage.
Any Upgrades You’ve Made to Your Condo
While you’re responsible for covering the costs of any damage done by accidents that originate in your unit, if an accident is caused by something building-related, then your condo association’s insurance may cover the cost of fixing any damage that occurs in your unit—but not always.
You should consult your condo association and find out what, exactly, their insurance will cover, but you shouldn’t expect them to cover the cost of any upgrades or additions you’ve made within your unit. Often the condo association’s insurance coverage will include language that only requires them to repair your unit to its pre-upgrade condition, which they may define as the condition your unit was in when you took it over, not after you made upgrades.
Having your own condo insurance will help supplement your condo association’s insurance and cover the additional costs of repairing and restoring any additions or improvements you’ve made to your particular unit.
In addition to covering the costs that you’ll incur in case of damage, condo insurance will also provide you with liability coverage that will cover you in case anyone is hurt or injured within your unit.
Having friends over and hosting parties in your unit can be a lot of fun, but if someone should slip or otherwise injure themselves while in your condo, you could potentially be held liable. Liability insurance will cover you if any legal action is taken as a result of injuries that occurred within your condo due to your negligence.
The other advantage of liability insurance is that it covers you in the event that an incident originating inside your unit affects your neighbour’s unit or another part of the condo building.
For instance, if a plumbing issue develops within your unit due to your negligence that causes water damage in another unit, you would be on the hook for any repairs needed to restore the damaged unit. Liability insurance will cover any costs related to this damage so that you don’t have to pay expensive repair bills yourself.
The Contents of Your Storage Locker
Condo insurance doesn’t just cover the possessions that you keep within your condo unit; it also covers the stuff you store in any storage locker associated with your condo. Storage lockers are often placed in parking garages, basements or other areas below ground that are at high risk of water damage, meaning that the possessions you keep in your locker may be at higher risk of potential damage than the stuff you keep in your condo. Condo insurance will cover the cost of replacing anything stored in your locker.
Condo Insurance Protects You
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you don’t need condo insurance because your condo association already has its own. While their insurance may apply to you in some instances, you are still responsible for both the possessions in your condo and any damage — to your unit or others — that originates in your condo.
Coverage is subject to policy wording, terms, conditions, and deductibles. Protection is limited to the perils, coverage, exclusions, and limits shown on the policy.