As a condo owner, you should know that condominium insurance, which is also referred to as an HO-6 policy, differs from typical homeowner’s insurance in many ways. Most condo associations tackle the responsibility for insuring exterior building walls and common areas in the complex, as well as insuring for property damage and liability protection for accidents occurring in shared areas such as stairwells or walkways.
Typical condo insurance covers your personal property, offers personal liability protection and covers most of the interior structures of the home.
Homeowners Associations (HOAs) and Common Interest Communities (CICs)
When purchasing a condo one of the first things you should do is to meet with the condominium association to verify what parts of the building you are responsible for insuring and what common stairways, walkways, pool facilities and clubhouse buildings are covered by the HOAs and CICs. Make sure that they provide a copy in writing of what the association will and will not pay for prior to shopping for rates.
You should also take the time to calculate the amount of money it would cost to replace items you own, such as:
- Personal items,
- Gun collections, and
List or schedule high-end antiques, collectibles and jewelry separately on the policy; limitations apply on payouts for these types of items when lumped in as general personal property. Supply the insurance carrier with any needed appraisals as proof of value for high-dollar items, and ask for a personal property inventory sheet to help track items, or check online for a personal property inventory calculator.
Check the Department of Insurance website in your state to compare the financial stability of insurance carriers and an overview of rates. Write down contact information for more than one insurer to compare policy costs and coverages. Schedule time to meet with insurance agents, either in person or over the phone, to go over individual coverages and costs and to have any questions answered prior to purchasing a policy.
It is also a good idea to ask the insurance agent about the difference in certain types of policies. For example, how does a “Bare Walls In” type of policy differ from “All In” coverage? Bare walls policies only cover indoor walls and framing, but neglect items such as fixtures, countertops, flooring and attached appliances. Receive quotes for both types of policies before making an informed decision. This is useful information for new, and also long-standing condo owners, regarding their options for condo insurance Massachussetts.