Condos are a popular alternative housing option that offers many benefits over home ownership or perpetual renting. One potential benefit of owning a condo is the cost of buying condo insurance, which is typically much less than buying homeowners insurance.
However, understanding how much coverage you actually need on your condo and making sure there are no gaps in coverage between your policy and the condo association’s policy is critical in making sure you’re properly covered if you have a claim. Speaking with a trusted independent insurance agent can be a valuable first step in securing the right type of condo insurance.
How Much Does Condo Insurance Cost?
The average cost of condo insurance in the US is $488 a year. This is considerably less than homeowners insurance, but is also higher than renters insurance. Part of the reason that homeowners insurance is typically more expensive is because of the amount of coverage in both policies. Typically, condo insurance has less coverage than homeowners insurance. There are also typically fewer claims with condo insurance in a given year than there are with homeowners insurance.
|State||Monthly Insurance Rate||Annual Condo Insurance Rate||% Difference vs. Average|
Who Sells Condo Insurance?
Nearly every insurance company that offers homeowners or renters insurance also offers condo insurance. It’s a fairly standard insurance option, so you shouldn’t have any problem finding a company that offers it. However, similar to homeowners insurance, some companies offer a lot more comprehensive coverage options than others, so you’ll want to find the best option for you.
Insurance companies that offer condo insurance are also likely to offer auto insurance. By combining the two with one company, you’ll be able to receive a discount of around 15% on your premiums with a multi-policy discount. If you’re just moving into a condo and switching addresses, then it’s a good time for an independent insurance agent to review your auto insurance as well, in addition to providing you with a condo insurance quote.
The Best Condo Insurance Companies
Condo insurance is a fairly standard insurance policy that's offered by nearly every insurance company that offers homeowners or renters insurance , making the choices available to you nearly endless.
With so many insurance companies offering condo insurance, the two best companies were mainly determined by their nationwide availability, competitive premiums, reputation for claims, and varied coverage options.
- The two best condo insurance companies: Safeco and Cincinnati
Both Safeco and Cincinnati are available across the country through independent insurance agents. Safeco is a subsidiary of Liberty Mutual, and is one of the largest personal insurance companies in the United States. Cincinnati is a Fortune 500 company that’s known for its strong claims service, good coverage options, and competitive rates.
Safeco edges out Cincinnati in terms of its online features and larger number of agents that offer it. Cincinnati excels in claims and customer service, and also has excellent coverage options for high-end condos.
|Condo Insurance Companies||Star Rating|
|Central Insurance Companies|
Types of Condo Insurance Coverage
Condo insurance closely resembles homeowners insurance, but is different enough to warrant its own insurance form.
Condo insurance is unique partly because of the nature of condos themselves. It's different from renting because you actually own the condo itself, but you don’t own the entire building.
|Condo Coverage Levels||Basic||Extra|
|Dwelling, Walls In||X|
|Personal Property Actual Cash Value||X|
|Loss of Use||X|
|Association Loss Assessment||X|
|Fire Dept Service Charge||X|
|Medical Payments to Others||X|
|Ordinance or Law||X|
|Scheduled Personal Property||X|
|Personal Property Replacement Value||X|
However, condo owners face many of the same risks as homeowners or even renters. Consider the following examples:
- Crime: Criminals and vandals could damage your condo and steal or destroy the stuff inside it.
- Natural disasters: Fires, hurricanes and other forces of nature can strike condos just like single-family homes. Your homeowners association may pay to repair the building, but you’ll still be on the hook for damage to your unit.
- Legal issues: Living in a condo typically means living in close quarters with your neighbors. That can mean legal trouble down the road if you get into conflicts about noise, renovations, sublets, short-term rentals like Airbnb, and more.
In order to cover 100% of the condo building, two types of insurance are required. First, each condo unit owner needs to buy their own condo insurance policy to cover the part that they own, which will be defined in the bylaws of the condo association.
Second, the condo association will have their own “master” policy, which is a type of commercial property insurance specifically for condominiums and apartment complexes that’s called habitational insurance. This master policy will cover the property that isn’t owned by each condo unit owner.
Condo association insurance
Your condo association will have their own insurance policy to cover the entire structure of the building and the parts of the building that they still own, which could be things like the roof, the walls, the stairways and elevators, the lobby, etc.
The condo association's insurance is a type of commercial insurance, which will probably include both commercial property and commercial general liability insurance.
Personal condo insurance
Apart from commercial condo insurance, most people wanting condo insurance are condo unit owners – the people who own and live in one unit. This is the type of insurance that’s referred to as condo insurance and is on an HO6 insurance form, which defines its coverage.
Most condo insurance policies automatically include the following types of coverage, though each insurance company has their own condo insurance guidelines.
- Dwelling insurance: Covers structural elements like walls and floors.
- Personal property insurance: Covers your possessions stored in the unit.
- Liability insurance: Covers legal fees if someone sues you in cases related to your home.
Your condo insurance probably won’t specify whether your condo’s walls are covered. It will simply say that you have coverage for things that you own per your condo association’s guidelines. Your condo insurance policy may define your property coverage to include:
- Alterations, appliances, fixtures, and improvements within your condo
- Real property that’s within your condo
- Property that you own as determined in your condo association’s bylaws
- Any other structures that you own at the condominium’s location
Simply put, your condo insurance policy will cover you for whatever it is that you own, as determined by your condo association’s bylaws and your contract with them.
In order to determine how much coverage you actually need on your property, your independent insurance agent will run a replacement cost estimator on your condo to give you an idea of how much it would cost to rebuild.
Your condo insurance policy may not automatically include coverage for additions, alterations, and improvements to your condo, such as upgrading carpeting. If there is no automatic coverage on your policy, you can usually add an extra amount of coverage. If there is automatic coverage, it’s usually capped at a certain dollar amount.
Similar to homeowners insurance, personal property is whatever you own that’s not permanently attached to the condo itself. Whatever you brought with you is personal property, which is also sometimes called personal contents.
Loss of use
Loss of use coverage is automatically included in your condo insurance policy, though the coverage limit is an automatic percentage, typically around 20%, of whatever insurance limits you have on your condo itself.
This coverage provides insurance money for you to use if you can’t live in your condo anymore due to a covered loss, such as a fire.
Loss of use also gives coverage for renting out a space that you own to others.
Condo insurance automatically comes with personal liability insurance, similar to homeowners insurance. You can typically choose an amount of $100,000, $300,000, or $500,000, though you may be able to buy higher limits with certain companies.
Personal liability insurance covers you for injuries and property damage that you’re legally responsible for, as long as it’s not criminal or intentional in nature.
You’ll typically be allowed to add many of the same extra coverage endorsements, or add-ons, as you would be able to on a homeowners insurance policy. These include things such as water back-up coverage, scheduled valuable item coverage, identity theft coverage, personal injury liability coverage, and possibly personal cyber insurance coverage.
Your policy may have automatic coverage for a certain number of "permanent" fixtures that you may not own, such as carpeting or appliances. These would typically be covered under your condo association’s insurance policy, but your own condo insurance may pay a small amount for damage to them if it happens inside your own condo. The coverage limit will probably be fixed at a relatively low amount, such as $2,500.
Finding Discounts and Savings on Condo Insurance
You’ll be able to find many of the same discounts on condo insurance as you can find on homeowners or renters insurance, which could lead you to save a decent amount of money on your premiums. Be sure to speak with an independent insurance agent, who can help you maximize your savings while finding you the most competitively priced insurance policy.
|Nearly all condo insurance companies also offer auto insurance as well, with the average discount being 15% on both your policies. Some insurers will offer additional savings if you also have an umbrella policy, or boat, RV, and/or motorcycle insurance.|
|New purchase discount:|
|If you’re just buying a condo for the first time, you may be able to save up to 10% on your new condo insurance premiums. Typically, insurance companies that offer this discount will gradually phase it out over time, meaning your premiums will gradually go up as this discount is taken off over a period of 3 to 5 years.|
|Secured community discount:|
|If your condo is located inside a secured and gated community, you’ll be eligible to receive this discount, which isn’t offered by all insurance companies.|
|Security system discount:|
|Most insurance companies will offer you a discount if you have a security system installed in your condo. You’ll probably have to show a security certificate as proof, but this discount can also help offset the cost of the system. This discount may also apply if you have a sprinkler system.|
|You may be able to save a few extra percentage points off your premium just by being over the age of 60, or in some cases at least 55 and retired. Similar to the secured community discount, you may not be able to find this with every insurance company.|
|Many insurance companies offer a small discount just for signing up to receive all of your documents by email. The discount normally isn’t much more than $10, but it’s an easy way to save and everybody is eligible.|
Frequently Asked Questions about Condo Insurance
There is no difference between condo insurance and an HO6 insurance form. An HO6 insurance form is the type of insurance form that covers condos, so they are the same thing. Each type of property insurance that applies to individuals (and not businesses) has its own insurance form with different coverage sections and contractual language, such as HO1, HO2, HO3, HO4, HO5, and HO6. HO6 is the form that applies to condos.
No, condo insurance is treated the same as homeowners insurance by the IRS and isn’t tax-deductible. There are other tax deductions that are similar, such as mortgage insurance through the VA, FHA, or RHA, but condo insurance is not a deductible item on your taxes.
No, your own condo insurance policy as a condo unit owner will only apply to your own condo. Other condo units will be covered under their owners’ insurance policies, while the common areas and base structure of the building will be covered by the condo association’s insurance policy. However, if you’re responsible for causing damage to another person’s condo unit through negligence (basically meaning that it was an accident), your liability coverage would be likely to pay for the other person’s damage.
There are many differences between condo insurance and homeowners insurance because the nature of condominiums is different from freestanding houses. With condos, you typically only need to insure the area that’s within the walls of your condo, though this does vary. So the condo insurance form reflects that need, and doesn’t include things such as Coverage B - Other Structures that are located on your home’s property, such as a detached garage or utility shed.
The type of condo insurance that you’ll need will depend on what type of condo you have. One common mistake with condo and renters insurance is underestimating the value of your personal contents, or belongings. On homeowners insurance, this is typically an automatic 50% or 75% of the number that you carry on your house, which makes it easy. However, on condo insurance, you’ll have to set your own number for the coverage you want on all of your contents. If you had a total loss, how much are all of your belongings worth?
Your condo insurance policy will come with some automatic coverage options, but you’ll need to work with your independent insurance agent to determine the appropriate values. The automatic coverages are the coverages on your condo unit itself, your personal property, and your personal liability. If you want other coverages, such as water back-up or personal cyber insurance, you can add that onto your policy.
The condo association’s insurance policy will typically cover the structure of the building, such as the roof and walls. It typically covers any common areas as well, such as a lobby, pool, or exercise area. This will include both property coverage and liability coverage. It won’t cover what’s located inside each condominium unit.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin
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