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What Is Condo Insurance & What Does It Cover?

Published Nov. 2, 2021
Christy Bieber
By: Christy Bieber

Our Insurance Expert

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Homeowners insurance is crucial for property owners to protect their assets. This includes condo insurance for those who own a condominium rather than a freestanding single-family home. This guide to condo insurance policies provides the information condo owners need to get the right coverage.

What is condo insurance?

Condo home insurance is also sometimes called HO6 insurance. Condo insurance HO6 policies provide protection for owners of condominiums. These are individually owned units within a shared building space.

Most condominiums have homeowners associations (HOAs), or associations that manage common spaces and address issues created by communal living. HOAs buy a homeowner's master policy, which covers damage to the structure of the condo building. That includes walls and roofs or ceilings. The master policy also provides liability protection if injuries occur in common areas.

However, this isn't sufficient condo insurance for condominium owners. Condo owners need condo homeowners insurance of their own. A condo insurance policy will provide protection for damages and losses inside each unit. For example, if there is a fire, condo homeowners insurance would pay to replace appliances, electronics, flooring, and other components of the condo's interior.

Condo insurance policies can also cover:

  • The condo owner's personal possessions
  • Their loss of use of the property
  • Any loss assessment charged to condo owners in case of uncovered losses the condo association or HOA incurs

Why do I need condo insurance?

Most condo owners couldn't afford to rebuild their entire unit without condo insurance. Unless a condo owner can -- and wants to pay out of pocket for new cabinets, floors, fireplaces, and other interior fixtures -- they need condo homeowners insurance.

Most people also don't want to pay to personally replace all their possessions in the event of a fire or other damage. And they can't or don't want to pay out of pocket if someone gets hurt in their home. Without condo insurance, all of these losses could be borne by the condo owner directly. A problem in the condo could lead to devastating financial loss.

What does condo insurance cover?

There are many similarities in condo insurance vs homeowners insurance when it comes to coverage. However, there are also important differences. Here's what condo homeowners insurance typically covers.

Dwelling coverage

Dwelling coverage is a type of condo insurance coverage that pays for damage to the fixtures and features of the condo. It pays for things like appliances, cabinets, and hardwood flooring. In some cases, condo association policies offer coverage for many parts of the dwelling. It makes sense to know what the association's policy covers before purchasing condo insurance to avoid duplicating coverage.

Liability coverage

Condo home insurance pays for damages a condo owner is held responsible for. For example, if a visitor slips on a cracked tile in the condo, liability insurance coverage would pay for their injuries and resulting losses.

The condo's HOA will cover liability costs if injuries occur in common areas. But typically injuries that happen within each individual unit are the responsibility of the condo owner.

Personal property coverage

Personal property coverage is an important type of condo homeowners insurance. It pays for repair or replacement of the condo owner's personal possessions. This includes household items that would come along on a move, like sofas, clothing, jewelry, and electronics.

Loss assessment coverage

If shared spaces in a condominium are damaged, a homeowners master policy maintained by the condo association will provide coverage for repairs or rebuilding. Sometimes however, the damage will exceed the limits of the master policy. If this occurs, condo residents may have to pay a special assessment for losses.

Loss assessment coverage can be added onto condo insurance. It will pay when a loss assessment occurs. For example, if a condo's common area sustained $500,000 in damage and $400,000 was covered, the residents would collectively have to pay the remaining $100,000 in a loss assessment. If a condo owner had loss assessment coverage as part of their condo insurance, it would pay their portion of this $100,000.

Loss of use

If a property owner's condo is destroyed or damaged, this could cause the owner not to be able to use it. Extra costs could be incurred as a result, and condo insurance pays for these costs. For example, it might cover food and hotel stays while a condo is being repaired.

What is covered by the HOA or condo association insurance?

The HOA or condo association should have a homeowners master policy. It should cover the building structure and common areas.

Each individual condo owner's insurance policy will not cover the structure or walls of the condo. The HOA or condo association insurance will provide this coverage. If the roof or lobby or elevator is damaged or destroyed, the HOA or condo association insurance should pay.

The HOA or condo association will also have insurance for liability. This can cover injuries that occur in the common areas, such as a shared swimming pool or parking lot. It doesn't generally cover injuries that happen inside an individual condo owner's unit unless they resulted from a structural problem or problem with the common areas. Nor does it provide coverage for each individual owner's unit or possessions.

How much condo insurance do I need?

Homeowners should purchase enough condo insurance to:

  • Replace all of their personal items
  • Make sure they can rebuild the interior of their condo as it currently stands
  • Ensure they're adequately insured against lawsuits in case of injury -- and protected from loss assessments and loss of use

The specific amount of insurance coverage varies depending on the cost of the condo, as well as the cost of personal possessions and the amount of assets to protect. Many of the best homeowners insurance companies have estimates for the cost to rebuild and provide home inventory forms so property owners can detail the value of their possessions. This can help determine the necessary amount of condo insurance.

Property owners should also know what their association covers and be careful not to duplicate that protection.

Average condo insurance cost

The national average cost for a condo insurance policy with $300,000 in liability protection and $60,000 in personal property coverage is $625 annually, according to The Hartford. This is with a $1,000 deductible.

If condo insurance cost is a concern, shop around for the best condo insurance. Get quotes from at least three to five condo insurance providers to compare premiums and coverage options.

FAQs

  • Condo insurance or HO6 insurance is similar to homeowners insurance in many ways. However, while homeowners insurance covers the entire dwelling, including all interior areas and the roof and exterior spaces, condo insurance generally doesn't. It typically provides coverage only for fixtures and property within a unit.

    Both condo and homeowners insurance should cover liability, personal property, and loss of use.

  • In many buildings, condo insurance is mandatory. However, it is necessary for each condo owner to check their association rules. Lenders generally also require condo homeowners insurance for those who borrow to buy a condo. And even if it isn't required, buying condo insurance is still important.

  • Common areas are not covered by condo insurance. In most cases, the roof and exterior walls are not covered by condo insurance either. Condo insurance may also exclude certain types of damage. Almost all insurers exclude flood damage without special flood insurance. Condo homeowners insurance companies may also exclude wildfires and wind damage in certain areas.

  • In most cases, condo owners must buy a separate flood insurance policy. This is the same rule that applies to homeowners insurance. Standard condo and home insurance policies exclude flood damage.

  • It's a good idea to have insurance even for a vacant condo. Something could still go wrong with the unit. No property owner wants to have to pay to rebuild interior finishes such as floors and cabinets. If someone is hurt at the condo, such as a visiting repair person, liability insurance is also important.

  • Condo insurance is sometimes called HO6 insurance. Condo insurance HO6 policies provide protection for condo owners from loss. Condo insurance typically provides liability protection. It covers condo owners if someone is hurt in their unit. Or it covers them if their animals injure someone, such as in a dog bite incident. It can also cover the condo owner's interior unit, as well as their personal possessions and loss of use of their condo.

    The big difference between condo insurance vs. homeowners insurance is homeowners insurance covers the entire structure of the home and all interior and exterior areas. Condo insurance doesn't cover the walls or roof of the condo. It also doesn't cover common areas in a shared condo space.

Our Insurance Expert