Investing in a good condo owner’s insurance policy can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs and replacements if a covered disaster were ever to cause you problems. Most condo owner’s insurance plans provide coverage for your personal property inside of a condo, including the interior physical structure of the condo, itself.
Individual condo owner’s insurance plans are in addition to the master insurance policy held by the condominium Home Owner’s Association (HOA). The master insurance policy covers the building itself and all communal spaces open to building residents.
Many HOAs require all residents to have some form of condo owner’s insurance policy in order to live in the building and participate in the master insurance policy. Even if your building does not require a specific type of condo owner’s insurance policy, learning more about available insurance policies may help you decide if it is worth investing in a plan or not.
There are multiple types of condo owner’s insurance plans available on the market today, though not all of them may meet your HOA’s minimum owner coverage requirements. Read on for more answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about condo insurance:
Are condo owner’s insurance policies mandatory for all condo unit owners?
There is no blanket law pertaining to condominiums and individual condo owner’s insurance policies across the United States. However, some states have legislated certain insurance requirements for condos and many HOAs have instituted their own self-imposed insurance minimum standards.
Because of the unique way that condos are built, you are usually required to buy condo owner’s insurance by one governing body or another if you live in a condominium building.
Is personal liability coverage always included in condo owner’s insurance plans?
Many condo owner’s insurance plans include coverage for personal liability claims, covering the costs of being sued for damages by someone who accidentally got hurt on your property for example.
Guest medical coverage to help pay the medical bills of a no-fault accident on your property is also often included condo owner’s insurance plans with coverage limits up to $10,000 in many condo owner’s insurance policies. This personal liability coverage is not a mandatory part of condo owner or master insurance policies.
Can I just buy a typical renter’s insurance policy or homeowner’s insurance policy instead of a condo owner’s insurance policy?
Condo owners invest in condominium owner’s insurance plans in lieu of renter’s insurance or homeowner’s insurance to protect themselves from having to pay out-of-pocket for the replacement or repair of their personal property.
Condo owner’s insurance is like a combination of renter’s insurance and homeowner’s insurance, combining important elements of both types of plans into its core structure.
Can installing a security system in my condo decrease my condo owner’s insurance premiums?
Installing a home security system actually can decrease your condo owner’s insurance premiums with many insurance providers. Before investing in a new set-up, find out what minimum standards the system must have to qualify for some sort of decrease in premium cost. Whether you are eligible for a discount and how much of a discount may apply is decided by your condo owner’s insurance provider.
Does condo owner’s insurance cover damage that is caused by mold?
Most condo owner’s insurance plans do not provide coverage protections for damage or loss of personal property due to mold. Some covered disasters that inadvertently result in mold, however, could be covered as damage under a covered disaster. A comprehensive HOA master insurance plan could include coverage for damage or destruction due to mold, so you may want to ask you insurance provider to be sure.
Is my home business or work from home material covered under my condo owner’s insurance plan?
With most condo owner’s insurance plans, work materials either for your home business or a work from home position are generally not covered. Some plans offer a limited amount of coverage specifically for this category of items. If you have a home business, look into other forms of insurance policies that may be able to better cover your work tools and proprietary materials.
Is my pet covered by my condo owner’s insurance policy?
Many condo owner’s insurance policies do cover certain types of pets, especially of the standard variety. Some exotic pets or breeds that are seen as particularly dangerous may be categorically excluded from coverage under your policy. You should also look at what type of coverage is provided for your pet. Some policies may cover damage done to property by pets by not medical injuries caused by pets, for example.
What discounts are available on condo owner’s insurance programs?
There may be several types of discounts available to people shopping for new condo owner’s insurance plans. Your condo’s HOA may have a master insurance policy with an insurance provider that offers discounted condo owner insurance policies to building residents. Many nationwide insurance providers also give discounts to members of certain groups. You may also be able to receive a discount on your condo owner’s insurance premium by making your home safer or more secure, since you are lowering the likelihood that you would ever need to cash in on your insurance policy through these handy investments.
Can I switch condo owner’s insurance policies at any point or are there specific enrollment periods?
Like many other aspects of condo insurance, when you can sign up for insurance policies or switch between policies is generally dictated by your location, HOA or insurance provider. You may face a penalty for trying to drop your current policy before the end of the year or other billing period, so it is important to find out the repercussions of changing condo owner’s insurance policies before making the move.
Are my family members’ personal possessions and actions covered under my condo owner’s insurance plan?
Many condo owner’s insurance plans cover family members of the policyholder that live in the condo, though you should look at the small print of your policy to be sure. In many cases, a condo owner’s insurance policy can cover family members of the policyholder even when they are outside of the condo as well.
Is it possible to have a condo owner’s insurance appraisal when signing up for a new plan?
Condo owners with high value personal possessions are encouraged to get a condo owner’s insurance appraisal while signing up for a policy. By doing an appraisal before you need payment for damage or replacement, it is often much easier to come to a fair agreement about the value of your personal possessions. It may also make it easier for you to calculate how much coverage you need to properly protect your personal property and whether you may want to add any specific item endorsements to the policy.
If there is a problem in a communal area in my building, do I submit an insurance claim for repair to the HOA or directly to the insurance provider?
Whether you can directly contact the provider of your building’s master insurance plan or you should go through the HOA depends on how your condominium is set up. Some groups encourage residents to interact directly with the insurance provider, while others require that all claims first go through an HOA panel. The company offering your condo’s master insurance plan should be able to tell you what claim process is in place with your building.
Can I appeal a decision made by my condo owner’s insurance provider concerning the value of the replacement of a personal item?
If a covered disaster has destroyed a personal possession of yours that was not already appraised by the insurance provider and the insurance provider offers you a payout you disagree with, you can appeal the decision. In this case, providing any sort of evidence concerning the items original and current value at the time of loss may help make your case. If you cannot come to an agreement with the insurance provider, you may need to look into hiring legal assistance to make sure you get the fair value for the replacement of your belongings.