If you are looking into buying a condo, you might not consider the cost of condo insurance. Condos are not like houses – there is no backyard, no basement, and generally, you have a homeowners association, or HOA, that takes care of fixing things around the property. But you will still have to provide some insurance for a portion of your property.
It is essential to look at your master policy to find out what kind of insurance you need and what the condo association already covers. Two main types of insurance will be discussed in the master policies: bare walls-in and all-in insurance policies.
Bare walls-in insurance covers all real property but does not cover the fixtures and installations in the condo unit, including countertops, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, and flooring.
All-in condo insurance refers to the type that covers fixtures, installations, or additions within the interior surfaces of the perimeter walls, floors, and ceilings of individual units.
It is essential to check the individual condo association’s master policy to see if there are any specific details or variations in it. Generally, the cost of the condo master insurance policy is included in the HOA fees.
To decide what kind of coverage you need, you should consider how much coverage you can acquire. Look at what other owners pay for upgrades, such as flooring, cabinetry, and countertops, to determine what kind of coverage will be needed if you are under a bare walls-in insurance policy.
Also, you have to decide if you want cash-value or replacement-cost coverage. It is generally recommended to get replacement-cost coverage, as this will typically pay more (the entire value of replacing the item at today’s cost standards).
You must also decide if the coverage will be for content, structure, or both items. Content coverage looks at furniture, area rugs, electronics, jewelry, and valuable artwork/collectibles, while structure items include flooring, cabinetry, countertops, carpeting, and lighting. You can also look at what you have and want to be covered to decide how much coverage to acquire.
Other things to consider are flood and wind damage coverage. While the condo association flood coverage will cover the floors and structural issues for the most part, it is doubtful it would cover any of your property that was damaged.
Once you have figured out the type of coverage and the amount of coverage you are looking for, it is time to start getting quotes and ensure that your condo is fully protected from any potential damage it could receive.
Don Westerfeld has been active in the field of Insurance and Financial Planning since 1997. Don grew up in Indiana later moving to Lakeland Florida where he continues to reside with his wife and children. When he’s not in the office you can find him enjoying the great outdoors. He has served on several charitable business and non-profit organizations and continues to provide guidance, advice and support to local charities.
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