Condominium owners face a unique insurance situation. Their insurance coverage needs typically exceed those of renters but aren’t quite the same as owners of single-family homes. Condo insurance is uniquely designed to meet the particular insurance needs of Massachusetts condominium owners.
Like most renters and homeowners policies, condo insurance policies normally offer several coverages that offer a web of protection. The coverages most often found in condo policies include structural, personal property and liability coverage.
The level of structural coverage included in condominium insurance policies varies, and policies are often categorized according to how much structural coverage they provide. Most policies fall into one of these three categories:
Coverage for features outside of a condominium unit usually isn’t included in any condo policy, for common areas are generally the responsibility of and insured by condominium associations.
Condominium insurance policies often don’t include coverage for earthquakes and floods. Condo owners who are concerned about these perils may be able to add coverage to their policy or purchase a separate, peril-specific policy that compliments their condominium policy.
Personal property coverage also varies from one condominium policy to the next.There are at least three significant ways that personal property coverage varies.
First, the amount of protection offered for personal belongings can differ. Replacement-value coverage typically offers the full cost of replacing items lost or damaged in a covered claim. Actual cash value coverage normally only pays for the items’ depreciated fair-market value.
Second, the amount of coverage provided for certain items can differ. Policies frequently place specific limits on high-value belongings, such as firearms, jewelry, fine art and money. What items have limits and what those limits are can vary.
Third, how far coverage is extended can vary. Some policies will limit coverage significantly once belongings are taken outside a condominium, while other policies offer the same level of coverage for belongings when they’re elsewhere. (There are often still some restrictions on where belongings can be taken and remain covered. For example, war areas are frequently excluded from most policies regardless of how their personal property coverage is structured.)
Most people who own a condominium in Massachusetts need a condo policy. Condo loans frequently require owners to carry a minimum level of coverage, and many condo associations stipulate that all unit owners maintain a condo policy. Even without these requirements, few owners can afford to be without coverage if something happens to their condominium.
A condo policy should only be purchased after multiple policies have been reviewed and the chosen policy’s protections have been checked against the condo association’s master policy. There shouldn’t be any gaps or duplicate coverages between the selected condo policy and the association’s master policy.
Comparing policies itself is an involved process, and checking a master policy only makes finding a condo policy more involved. For help with all of this, Massachusetts condominium owners can contact a Dempsey Insurance agent who specializes in condo insurance. Our knowledgeable, independent agents can compare policies from various insurance companies and knows how to check specific condo policies against an association’s master policy.