Condo owners insurance is different than a homeowners or a renter’s insurance policy. A condo owner’s policy will cover your personal property and liability, as well as any additions, alterations and improvements that you make to your individual unit. Your Condo association policy will cover the structure of the home. It is important that you review your individual unit owners policy as well and your associations policy regularly. The reason being is that the association’s policy can change and you need to adjust the unit owner’s policy accordingly. At BJ Kirby Insurance, we always need to see a copy of the master policy before we can provide you with a quote on a condo owners policy. This lets us know how we should insure the individual unit.
All the following coverages should be considered in your personal “condo policy.”
This provides coverage for the inside of your unit that is part of the building, but not covered by the Master Policy. This can include your own betterments and improvements; or, in older “Bare Walls” policies, everything from wallpaper to interior paint and wallboard. Betterments may include custom cabinets, fixtures, alarm systems, and other permanently attached / installed improvements you have added. The broadest form of protection, known as “Open Perils“, is recommended (though it costs a little more).
This is coverage for your contents; “Your Stuff“, that is not a part of the building. Coverage extends worldwide, but may be subject to percentage limits (commonly 10% off-premises). Examples include your clothes, furniture, electronic equipment, and other miscellaneous personal property. “Replacement Cost” coverage is always recommended as claim settlements are much better for you than “Actual Cash Value” treatment, which deducts from a claim payment for depreciation based on age.
Loss assessment protects you for your proportional interest in the condo if the insurance purchased by the association is insufficient following a covered loss, and you are assessed your share in either a property or liability loss. This is generally very inexpensive coverage, and is recommended on an “Open Perils” basis.
This provides protection if you are sued, and is automatically included under a condo owners policy: both defense costs and any amount you are legally liable to pay, up to the limits purchased. This insurance will not include business related activities, or suits brought by family members. The most common limit today is $500,000. We recommend you include “Personal Injury” coverage, in addition to the standard Bodily Injury and Property Damage which is provided in a personal condo insurance policy. (Some companies include this automatically, and some charge separately for this coverage. If you’re not sure, ask us.)
This is guest medical coverage. Think of it as goodwill protection, or anti-lawsuit protection. It will pay for medical expenses if a guest on your premises is hurt, regardless of your being negligent or at-fault. Thus, this benefit is payable without the injured person having to file a lawsuit against you to recover their expenses. It is paid quickly and without lengthy legal battles to minimize delays and additional legal expenses. We recommend $5,000, but many condo owners still have only $1,000, even though the cost difference is only $12 to $15 per year.