Condo owners need two policies to fully protect their investment: a Master Condo Insurance Policy and an Individual Condo Insurance Policy.
Individual Condo Insurance Policy
Your Individual Condo Insurance policy is very similar to Renter's Insurance as it typically covers your personal property, liability and Loss of Use / Additional Living Expenses and excludes the physical structure of the condo.
However, unlike renter's insurance, individual condo insurance is more likely to be required. Condo associations often have by-laws which dictate the minimum coverage the condo owner must secure for their unit. This is to protect the value of the property as a whole.
Master Condo Insurance Policy
Since your condo shares building structures, such as walls, floors, grounds, with other condo owners these things are insured separately in a Master Condo Insurance Policy. The building management is responsible for this policy and it is typically paid out of the maintenance fees or condo associations dues.
Some Master Condo policies cover the condo units to the extent that they were originally built, which includes standard fixtures such as bathrooms and kitchens. In this case the condo owner would need to insure these fixtures only in so far as they have been altered, such as a remodel.
Other Master Condo policies only cover the bare walls, floors and ceilings, leaving the condo owner to insure plumbing, wiring and permanent fixtures like sinks and cabinets.
It is important you understand the extent of what the Master Condo policy covers in your unique case so you can make sure your Individual Condo Policy properly protects your home and possessions.
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Personal Property: When deciding how much coverage you need for personal belongings it is recommended you do a home inventory. You should also pay attention to if your policy if offering replacement cost or actual cash value. Actual cash value policies pay the current value of your possessions, which have depreciated over time, while replacement cost ends to be more expensive it pays the amount to replace stolen or damaged items. To help understand the difference consider what it would cost to buy a new entertainment system versus what you would get if you tried to sell your current used one.
Personal property coverage also includes items stored off-premises, however some companies place limits on the amount. If you often travel with expensive belongings, you should talk to your agent to see if a personal property endorsement or floater policy is right for you. These endorsements can also be purchased for high ticket items such as engagement rings, furs, art and other high valuable collector items.
Liability Protection: Liability protection covers you in the event of a lawsuit claiming bodily injury or property damage that you or your household family members caused to other people. This coverage pays for the cost to defend you in court and any damages the court awards - up to the limit stated in your policy.
This includes any damage caused by your pets to a 3rd party.
Liability protection often extends to include no-fault medical payments coverage. This allows friends and neighbors who are injured in your home to submit medical bills directly to the insurance company without having to file a lawsuit.
It is important to note that this does not include medical bills for you, your family, or your pets.
Loss of Use / Additional Living Expense (ALE) Coverage: If you are unable to live in your home due to damage from an insured peril this coverage will cover the costs of hotels, restaurant meals and other costs above your normal living expense while your home is being repaired or rebuilt.
It is important to note that some policies include time limitation as well as normal limits to this coverage.
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