Panda7’s guide to condo insurance

Home insurance is not the same as condo insurance. Where home insurance may cover your liability, home’s contents, and the physical building of your dwelling, condo insurance is typically designated for the inside of your condominium and your personal liability only. Why? Because most of the external or “common” areas of your condo building will be covered by your association’s “master” policy.

We understand that condo insurance can be confusing for some, which is why we have set out to answer all the most frequently asked questions about condo insurance. Here is everything you need to know about condo insurance, plus some more.

What is condo insurance?

Condo insurance is insurance you purchase that offers coverage to mend the gaps and exposures that the condominium association master policy may leave. While it depends on the amount of coverage you purchase and what the master policy already protects, your average condo policy may include coverage for your utilities and appliances, the interior walls of your individual unit, and your personal property. In addition to this, your condo insurance also protects your personal liability, in the event you are responsible for someone else’s injury or property damage.

Why is it important?

Condo insurance is important because many condo owners assume their condo association’s master policy will cover them. This is true to some extent, but it leaves out some features of your personal unit, your amenities and possessions, and your personal liability. Without condo insurance, you may be left to pay for these items solo.

What does condo insurance cover?

Your condominium association has a master policy that may cover every original appliance, system (wiring, plumbing) and original furniture in your personal unit as well as common areas, or the “bare minimum” which does not include anything within your walls but covers common areas and the condo association’s liability. You may choose to review your condo’s master policy to ensure that the condo insurance you purchase will cover anything that this policy does not.

That should include,

  • Your personal unit, if your condo’s master policy omits this
  • Your valuables and possessions
  • Your personal liability

Basically, you will want your condo insurance to cover the gaps left by the condo association master policy. You can enlist the help of a broker to ensure this is done properly.

Does it include my valuables?

Your condo insurance will include coverage for your personal belongings up until a stated limit. It doesn’t hurt to take an inventory of everything you own to assess if your coverage is enough.

You can purchase a rider or insurance “floater” (as it’s sometimes referred to in the insurance sphere) to include your valuable possessions or expensive collectibles if your existing coverage is not enough to cover them. You may want to request the help of your insurance broker to review your needs and help you choose the most suitable plan for your requirements.

What does the “condo association master policy” cover?

Your condo association master policy can be one of two types: it can cover the appliances and fixtures in your condo, carpeting or flooring, plumbing, but exclude your personal property. This is sometimes referred to as an “all-inclusive” master policy. Or, your condo association master policy can be a “bare walls” master policy, which means it will not cover anything within your walls. This can sometimes include your condo’s systems, but sometimes it won’t. No matter which type your condo association master policy falls under, it will include coverage to common areas and the condo association’s liability.

Does condo insurance cover…?

Appliances and utilities?

Sometimes. Depending on your condo association master policy, you may have coverage for your utilities and appliances if they are original to the condo. If you own your utilities and appliances, or your condo association master policy does not cover them, you may be able to cover them under your own condo insurance policy.[H3] Mold growth?

Mold growth?

Many condo insurance policies (and home!) will exclude mold from their policies. This is typically due to the fact that mold growth comes as a result of a lack of maintenance or an unoccupied/vacant condo. There are some circumstances where you may be able to file a claim successfully, like if a pipe were to unexpectedly burst and the resulting water damage causes mold to grow. If the mold came as a result of a flood, it will likely not be covered because flood damage or flood insurance is a separate policy that requires additional purchase.

Vandalism and theft?

Vandalism, burglary and theft are included in your condo insurance if you have personal property coverage. This can even extend to items stolen from your vehicle, just as home insurance might cover personal belongings in your car. There are always exclusions, especially with higher value items. You may need to inquire about a rider or endorsement for full coverage if you own any valuables.

Always take a full inventory of everything you own so that you know how much coverage you need and what their total value is. You can adjust accordingly. Condo owners are often surprised to see the total value of everything they own!

Natural disasters?

Major storms like windstorms and tornadoes are covered for your possessions and the interior of your condo, if your condo association master policy does not already included coverage for this. Your condo association master policy may also cover damages to plumbing, wiring, fixtures, etc. – but you should check to see beforehand and ensure that your condo insurance policy covers any gaps.

How much condo insurance do I need?

Everyone needs a different amount of condo insurance based on the valuables they own and what their condo association master policy does/does not include. You may want to take inventory of all your belongings and calculate the total cost it would take to replace your belongings as they stand today following a disaster. Some valuables may even require additional coverage.

A broker will be able to help navigate your needs and discuss your coverage requirements with you. They can help you find the right policy that covers the gaps your condo association master policy leaves and protects your personal assets, investments, and your personal liability.

How much does condo insurance cost?

The cost of condo insurance varies by location, condominium, value of personal property, and the coverage you carry. You can get a quote from an insurance broker (like Panda7) to estimate how much your condo insurance will cost overall. Typically, a condo insurance policy can cost as little as $20/month, ranging between the averages of $25-35/month. You can expect to pay more or less depending on your limits and coverage options.