With a condominium, you can enjoy the rewards of owning your own home without the responsibilities that come with a having yard, lot, or anything else other than what goes on within your four walls. You never have to drag the trash and recycling bins to the curb, and the common areas are taken care of through your monthly homeowners association (HOA) fee. That said, condo unit owners do share aspects of their legal ownership with other parties and their insurance requirements differ from those of single-family homes.
Much like a single-dwelling owner, your condo needs to be covered by homeowners insurance. If your condo is mortgaged and/or there is a line of credit, you definitely have to have coverage. In both cases, you may need a little more. Most policies cover structural damage, in this case the interior of your unit, damage to or loss of personal belongings, liability protection, and coverage for additional living expenses.
As a condominium owner, there are a few other factors to consider. You are a joint owner of the public areas, exteriors, etc., each unit is responsible for paying a monthly HOA fee. In additional to other common expenses, this helps pay for property insurance. HOAs generally have one of two types of master policies: Bare walls-in and All-in.
The bare walls-in covers all real property from the exterior framing inward, but stops at fixtures and installations within the condo unit. Anything within your four walls is your responsibility. The all-in policy covers fixtures, installations or additions within the interior surfaces of the perimeter walls, floors and ceilings of individual units. These policies typically have deductibles which are assessed from each unit owner. You can obtain assessment liability coverage through a homeowners policy. Check with the HOA to see what the master policy covers.
As with other insurance issues, the best way to determine if you have all the coverages you need is to meet with your insurance professional. Don’t wait until it’s too late.