Condo insurance is an important part of buying a condominium. How do you know what you should buy as a consumer? What kind of condo insurance does your new association require? Buying a condo can be a smart start to being a homebuyer, without many of the maintenance hassles of owning a detached home but it does come with extra considerations.
Insurance through the homeowner association, or HOA, covers some areas of the complex, though each homeowner must have their own insurance to cover certain parts of their property and their belongings. This is also known as HO-6 insurance.
Here’s a breakdown of how HO-6 insurance works:
Condo association insurance usually covers common areas, such as a pool, lawn and building exteriors.
This insurance is called the “master policy” and doesn’t include what’s inside your condo unit. Your master insurance policy will not cover events such as a break-in, water damage to your kitchen walls from your dishwasher overflowing, or someone slipping on your wet bathroom floor.
Your master insurance policy will kick in, at least in part, however if your neighbor’s dishwasher overflows, flooding your condo downstairs with soapy water. The master insurance policy may require that the neighbor’s policy cover the first amount of repairs to your condo.
Condo Insurance for Your Home
Everything inside the walls, such as the plumbing and electrical wiring, is covered by your individual insurance policy, though some master policies may cover from the paint on the inside of your unit to the outside walls.
An individual homeowner’s insurance policy will also cover your belongings that you keep inside your condo, along with any fixtures or improvements you make to your unit.
When valuing your possessions, consider the replacement cost in today’s dollars for new items, not what they originally cost. Some policies only reimburse for actual cash value, which is the depreciated value, and not the total replacement costs.
Insurance coverage for personal belongings and the physical building typically range from $25,000 to $100,000, with premiums at $400 to $600 per year. Owning artwork or other collectibles could require additional coverage. The insurance coverage required by your lender and your condo association is different than a home warranty. If you are curious about home warranties and whether you should buy one, just click here.
If you need a referral to a good insurance agent to price out your policy, please give us a call at 240-401-5577 for some local agents.
Loss-assessment in Your Condo Insurance Policy
This covers insurance expenses not covered by the condo association, or in excess of the group coverage. You may need it if your association’s insurance doesn’t cover a major repair and the HOA doesn’t have enough money to pay for the repair. Instead of paying extra for the fixes, your loss-assessment coverage would cover you.
Loss of Use
This type of insurance pays for a place for you to stay if your unit is totaled or severely damaged by a tornado or some other disaster. Coverage may be limited to a dollar value or your actual costs for a specified time.
When determining how much insurance you need for your condo, start with your condo associations’ master policy and then fill in the holes from there. This real estate information will help ensure your investment and your belongings are well protected. To read more about what you should consider in an HO-6 policy, click here.
An insurance agent can help you determine how much coverage you need, and can help decipher your condo association’s master policy to find out what is and what isn’t covered by the HOA.
Key Take Aways
Condo insurance, also known as HO-6 insurance, is designed to cover what your condo association’s master policy won’t.
A typical HO-6 policy covers your personal belongings and pays out if you’re found responsible for someone’s injury.
The average HO-6 cost is $506 per year.
If you live in a condominium, you can likely count on the condo or homeowners association to insure the building and common areas, but it won’t help you if your personal belongings are stolen or destroyed in a fire. For those and other potential disasters, you’ll need your own insurance to protect the interior of your home, its fixtures like kitchen appliances and HVAC plus your personal belongings.