Condo Insurance: Coverages For Your Individual Unit

Condo Insurance

There are some great benefits living in a condo, such as the convenience of amenities, less maintenance work, sense of community, and my personal favorite, no yard work! Many people also choose a condo for closer proximity to city life and the simplicity of turn-key living. 

If you are buying a condo for the first time, you may be surprised that your home owner association (HOA) dues already include insurance premium for your condo.

But did you know? Most condo association insurance policies only cover the structure of the building and shared public spaces, and do not extend coverage into your individual unit.

Do I need my own personal condo insurance?

In many cases, to cover your own personal items and insure the structures inside of your unit, the answer is yes.

A condo insurance policy, also commonly known as HO6 insurance, is the property and liability insurance that supplements the condo association insurance and focuses solely to protect you, the unit owner. 

Here is an example

Your upstairs neighbors went on vacation and the water pipes connected to their washer had burst. Water flooded their unit, the public hallway areas, and your unit right below it. 

In this scenario, your condo association insurance will only cover the repair to the public hallway areas, and you will need to make a claim with your personal condo insurance to cover the damages to your unit.

What is a condo association (master) insurance and what does it cover?

Condo association insurance, or more commonly known as condo master insurance, is the policy that your condo association has in place to cover the building, all of the common areas, and other shared spaces.

Most condo master insurance policies break down into two types:

Bare walls-in:

This policy provides coverage for the building structures such as roofing, framing, and insulation. It also insures common areas such as walkways, parking lots, gym, and other shared spaces. This is one of the more common types of condo master insurance.

All-in

This policy extends the coverage of bare walls-in policy to include individual unit fixtures and built-in appliances. Common examples of kitchen cabinets, countertops, dishwasher, etc., are included as part of the coverage.

There is also a much less common type of condo master policy that does not include coverage for structure of the building. This type of master insurance only includes coverage for the common areas such as walkways, parking lots, and other shared spaces. 

If you found out that your condo association carries this type of master policy, you would actually need to talk to your insurance agent about getting a homeowners policy to cover the entire structure of your home.

What does personal condo insurance cover?

There are six main coverages:

Unit Interior

Personal Property

Personal Liability

Medical Payment for Your Guests

Loss of Use

Loss Assessment

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What are the factors that determine condo insurance premium?

Location of Your Home

Insurance Options

Personal Information

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How is the premium of condo insurance compared to homeowners insurance?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2016, the average premium for homeowners insurance was $1,192, whereas the average premium for condo insurance was significantly lower at $471:

$471

$1,192

The major difference in premium is in the coverage for the building structure versus the building interior structures.

Under a homeowners policy, the dwelling coverage covers the entire structure of the home including any interior structures attached to the wall. In comparison, under a condo policy, only the interior structures are covered, and the structure of the condo building is insured under the condo master policy.

In our experience, the annual premium for a condo policy in Washington State generally ranges from $300 to $500 depending on the coverage limits and endorsements selected for the policy.