By: Yara Zakharia, Esq.
For most Americans, their home is their most valuable asset and largest investment. Condominium home insurance protects this investment, as well as the insured, his family and personal property. With the help of an insurance agent and realtor, proper protection of your condo via condominium home insurance is assured.
The two important areas that a homeowner's policy covers are property and liability. The insurance needs of condos and apartments differ in some ways from those of houses: Not as much home insurance is needed for a condo or an apartment as for a house; however, owners have more to insure than a tenant. For individuals renting, it is important that they obtain insurance for their personal property since the landlord's coverage will not include tenants' personal effects.
Condominium home insurance offers coverage for situations that are specific to condo owners. Usually, the condo association purchases insurance to protect the real property (building, common walls, and structures) and liability coverage for the general association. A condominium home insurance policy will set forth a deductible, which is basically the amount of a covered loss that the unit owner must pay before insurance payments kick in.
Typically, condominium home insurance protects personal property and structures from a number of enumerated causes, such as:
Lighting or fire
Civil disturbance or rioting
Hail or windstorm
Vandalism or theft (malicious mischief)
Freezing of heating, air conditioning, plumbing or other household system
Weight of snow, ice or sleet
Accidental discharge of hot water heating system
Damage from floods and earthquakes are not covered in basic condominium home insurance. For protection from these natural disasters, condo and apartment owners must pay an additional premium.
Condo owners may be responsible for obtaining condominium home insurance to cover the interior of their unit- losses "outside the walls" and not completely covered by the condo association's policy. They may also be responsible for covering their personal property and personal liability, through the condominium home insurance. A condominium home insurance policy will also cover the value of building changes or additions that a unit owner makes, at his or her expense.
A condo owner should obtain condominium home insurance to cover not only his personal belongings in the unit, but also any added value (built-in-units) such as shelves, appliances, fixtures, and cabinets. The condo or apartment owner also needs liability coverage. A condominium home insurance policy's liability section typically covers damage to individuals or property as well as injuries that the condo owner would be liable for. For example, an apartment owner may be liable for damage to the building if he caused it.
Finally, when shopping for condominium home insurance, consumers should not only compare the costs for coverage. Condo and apartment owners and renters should scrutinize the details of the condominium home insurance policy to ensure that it matches their needs and offers them the highest level of protection.