Whether your condo is located in Michigan Park or Congress Heights, chances are you have invested a lot into your home. Washington, DC has more condominium communities than most cities of a similar size, and it's important to protect those investments. Only a comprehensive condo insurance policy can do that.
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A Quick Glance at the DC Condo Market
According to market surveys of the Washington, DC area:
- The average price of a condo in DC is between $300,000 and $500,000.
- The average price per square foot in Washington, D.C. in 2013 was $460, an increase of 10 percent.
- The average Washington, DC condo for sale is on the market just 45 days.
- Washington, DC home values have increased nearly 15 percent the past year.
Why Is Condo Insurance Important?
Investing in a Washington DC condo can be quite expensive. You wouldn't want a single storm, break-in, fire or injury to a guest set you back financially for years to come.
Although condo living is different than a single family home dwelling, the investment you've made, the memories you've had, and the years you've worked to enjoy a little place to call home are just as important to you as they are to traditional homeowners. You need a condo policy that fits your unique needs and budget.
Am I Required to Carry Condo Insurance?
Although Washington, DC statutes do not mandate that you carry condo insurance, there are a few circumstances where it may be required:
- If you if you've taken out a mortgage on your condo, your lender will likely require you to carry insurance on it.
- Your condo association may require you to purchase insurance as part of the agreement you signed when you moved in. The condo association will almost always have a master insurance policy on the complex, covering items like grounds, the walls and roofs of the structure, and any common areas like gyms or pools.
- If you rent your condo, your landlord may require you to carry renters insurance, which is different from condo insurance.
Why Is Condo Insurance Different than Homeowners Insurance?
Unlike homeowners insurance, condo insurance only provides coverage for the inside of your Washington, DC condominium. The external areas, along with any shared walls you may have with a neighbor, fall under the jurisdiction of your condo association and must be covered under its master insurance policy.
Because the responsibilities of ensuring the entire structure are split, a specific type of insurance is necessary for condo owners. If you rent any other space of the condo community, such as a garage, that would be covered under the association's master policy. On the other hand, homeowners policies generally cover areas such as attached garages because they own that structure as well.
What Does Condo Insurance Cover?
Most Washington, DC insurance providers offer policies that typically cover what the condo association’s master policy does not. A condo association master policy can be of two types:
- All-in: Also known as a “single-unit” master policy, this type of policy covers the fixtures in your condo such as the appliances, wiring, plumbing, and carpets, but does not cover personal property that you own.
- Bare walls-in: This policy does not cover anything contained within your walls. It may or may not cover your condo’s plumbing and electrical systems. Be sure to carefully review the association’s master policy to determine what your condo insurance policy needs to cover.
You will need to purchase more coverage for your own condominium insurance if your association has a “bare walls-in” condo master policy, rather than an “all-in” condo master policy.
Your condo insurance policy will cover you for loss or damage to your personal possessions, and also provide coverage for personal liability and medical payments. Additionally, it will often cover loss of use in the event that your condominium becomes badly damaged by a fire or severe weather and you need to live elsewhere during repairs. Insurance for a particular condo is known as an HO-6 policy. HO-6 policies typically provide you with coverage for a range of causes of loss. You may also want to consider additional coverage if you keep high-priced valuables in your condo such as jewelry, artwork or equipment.
What Will My Condo Insurance Quote Look Like?
Condo and townhouse insurance quotes are typically much lower than those for homeowners insurance on single family homes. This is because the condo association’s master policy usually covers damages to the building, along with outdoor and common areas, so you are not quoted to cover those areas.
The quotes you receive from Washington, DC insurance providers will depend on the following factors:
- How much condo coverage you need to buy for complete protection. Quotes for condos under all-in master policies will be lower than those for bare walls-in master policies.
- The condominium coverage options you choose. Liability protection will increase your quote.
- Your chosen deductible and whether or not you have master policy deductible coverage. Be sure to choose a deductible that you can comfortably afford should you need to file a claim. Higher deductibles will yield lower quotes, but don't leave yourself short in the event you must pay the amount before your insurance goes into effect.
- The location and construction of your condo. Condos in high-crime areas will have higher quotes because of the added risk of property damage due to theft and vandalism.
- Available deals and discounts. You may see a discount on your condo insurance quote if your community is gated, has a security officer on duty, includes theft alarms, or has a fire sprinkler system installed.
Where Can I Find the Best Condo Insurance Rates?
Whether your condo is located in one of the historic wards of Washington, DC, or it overlooks the seat of our nation's capital from a brand new luxury high rise, you want the protection only a comprehensive condo insurance policy can offer. Knowledgeable independent insurance agents on the Trusted Choice® network are always here to answer any questions you may have, suggest coverage options, and even help you file a claim. Their years of experience working with insurance providers in the DC area enable them to find a variety of condo insurance quotes from a number of companies, ensuring you only receive the best coverage at the most affordable rates.
Contact a Trusted Choice agent near you to find out how you can rest easy knowing your condo and it's contents are protected with an insurance policy that meets your needs and budget.