Condo owners in Massachusetts ought to make sure their condominiums are insured, just as homeowners should have their houses insured. Without insurance, both condo owners and homeowners are dangerously exposed to potential risks. The insurance needs of condo owners and homeowners aren’t exactly the same, though, which is why there’s condo insurance.
Condo insurance policies are similar to homeowners policies, but condo policies’ coverages have been adapted to meet condo owners’ particular insurance needs. In most cases, condo policies are written as package policies that contain a combination of coverages.
What Coverages Do Condominium Insurance Policies Provide?
Condominium insurance policies may provide a wide array of coverages, and the coverages that are offered can vary from policy to policy. Broadly speaking, however, there are three main coverages that condominium owners should pay special attention to. They are the structural coverage, personal property coverage and liability coverage that a policy affords.
Structural coverages normally help protect the physical structure of a condo from covered perils. What’s protected under a policy’s structural coverage varies not just because policies have different language, but also because what parts of their condominium condo owners need to insure themselves varies. Some condo owners have all or part of their condominiums covered under their condo association’s master insurance policy, while other condo owners receive few (if any) protections from their association’s master policy. Condo owners should look for a condominium insurance policy that fills in the structural coverage gaps left by their association’s master policy.
Personal property coverage generally helps protect personal belongings that are kept in a condominium. Depending on a policy’s language, this may include anything from laundry baskets and socks to high-definition televisions and oversized refrigerators. When reviewing a policy’s personal property coverage, condo owners should look for a policy that provides full coverage for all of their belongings.
Personal liability coverage usually helps protect policyholders themselves (and often their family members) from certain situations where they may be held responsible for harm caused to another person. This harm might take the form of property damage, physical injury or non-physical injury (e.g. damaging a person’s reputation). When considering a policy’s personal liability coverage, condo owners should think about how exposed they are to liability claims and how much risk they personally want to take on.
In most cases, condominium insurance policies don’t cover complexes’ common areas. Common areas, such as entryways, hallways and pools, are usually covered under a condo association’s master insurance policy.
Most condo policies don’t include flood coverage. Condo owners that want to be insured against floods normally have to purchase a separate insurance policy through The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or on the private marketplace. The NFIP may not be available to all condo owners in Massachusetts, but it’s usually the less expensive option for owners who do qualify for it.
Likewise, most condo policies also don’t include coverage for earthquakes. Condo owners who want earthquake coverage typically need to purchase an earthquake-specific policy from the private marketplace.
Many condo owners in Massachusetts may be required to have a condo policy, and even those who aren’t obligated to often still want one. It’s common for lenders who underwrite loans for condos to require that condo owners maintain a certain level of coverage for their unit, and many condo associations have insurance requirements as well. Those who aren’t obligated by any such requirements frequently still end up getting a policy because few condo owners could afford to replace their unit if it was destroyed in an incident.
For help finding a good condo insurance policy, condo owners can get in touch with an independent insurance agent who’s licensed in Massachusetts. An independent agent will be able to review a condo association’s master insurance policy to see what structural coverages a condo owner needs, and they can make recommendations for personal property and personal liability coverage. After settling on coverages, an independent agent can get quotes for policies that will provide the desired coverages.