Condos make up less than 10% of all occupied housing units in America. Condos are growing in popularity despite their small market share. Condos make up about one fifth of multi-unit condos.
In satisfaction surveys, condos are consistently ranked higher than apartments. Condo ownership is often rated as as satisfying by residents as a freestanding house.
However, these appealing homes come with their own set of problems. It can be difficult to find the right insurance coverage. It doesn’t have be difficult to calculate how much coverage you need for your home.
This is how to calculate the perfect condo dwelling coverage.
First things first
Understanding what coverage is available is the first step in answering the question, “How much dwelling coverage do you need for a condo?”
As a condo dweller, you almost certainly pay condo fees. A portion of these fees is used to pay for your HOA’s comprehensive policy. These policies usually cover:
- Damage to shared spaces, such as outdoor amenities like swimming pools
- Exterior damage to the building’s roof and walls
- General liability for injuries sustained in shared spaces
Your unit will be covered if your HOA has “bare walls” insurance.
Your walls, floors and ceilings will be covered by your HOA’s insurance if it has either “all-inclusive”, or “single entity,” coverage. This could include:
- Lighting fixtures
This coverage does not cover stock items. You are unlikely to be covered for any upgrades to your fixtures or appliances.
You can expect HOA insurance coverage to cover damage from specific disasters such as fires and storms. However, HOA insurance may not cover incidents in your apartment such as vandalism or accidents by guests.
Review Your HOA Policy
If you do not have a copy of your HOA’s master insurance policy, request one before purchasing private coverage. You should review exactly what is covered. Ask questions of your HOA representative or your insurance agent, if necessary.
Knowing what is and what isn’t covered will help you determine which parts of your condo are important to consider when buying coverage.
HOA Policy Limitations
Check the maximum coverage limits when reviewing your HOA policy. Many policies have a maximum amount that the policy will pay. These limits are good for the insurance company but can cause problems for unit owners.
A policy may limit the amount of payout that an HOA can get in the event it is damaged by fire to $500,000. The HOA will only get $500,000. Even if the property sustains $600,000.
The property may be able use its emergency fund to pay the $100,000 difference if it has one. Unit owners could be required to pay the difference if it doesn’t.
You should therefore check the limits of your HOA policy. If your HOA policy limits are too low or do not cover all possible expenses, you might consider adding additional coverage to your policy. This will help you avoid paying an unexpected and expensive bill in the event of an emergency.
What Private Policies Cover and How They Work
You now know what you don’t need to cover. It’s time to examine what you do have. When choosing dwelling insurance, condo residents can expect to need the following types of coverage:
- Personal property
- Personal property
- Loss of usage
- Medical expenses
- Flood insurance
There are many factors that will affect how much coverage you need for each category. These factors include:
- Geographic location
- Physical and personal needs
- Lifestyle and possessions
It is best to assess each type of coverage individually when you ask yourself “How much dwelling coverage do i need for a condo?”
Real Personal Property
You will need to have extensive Real Personal Property coverage if your HOA has a policy that covers “bare walls”. You may not need sufficient RPP coverage if your HOA offers a more comprehensive policy. This will cover the difference between standard condo finishes and any improvements you make.
Make a list of all fixtures and appliances within your unit to determine the coverage needed. This list includes:
- Appliances for the kitchen, such as stoves, dishwashers and refrigerators
- Laundry facilities
- Cabinetry in the bathroom and kitchen
- Carpets and rugs
Choose a private policy that covers all items if your HOA has a policy with “bare walls”. For example, you might get $600 coverage for your dishwasher.
You can choose a policy that only covers the difference between what you have and what your HOA policy covers. You might need $200 to cover the difference between $400 and $600 for your upgraded machine.
Loss Assessment coverage may be an option to provide this type of coverage.
Condo residents often need the most coverage for personal possessions. It can be difficult and overwhelming to determine how much coverage is needed for these items. A condo dwelling coverage calculator can help.
To get started, take an inventory of what you own. Take a look at small and large items.
- Jewelry and clothing
- Electronics, such as DVDs and videogames
- Collectibles and collections
Pay special attention to items that are unusually valuable, as these may require special or additional coverage or insurance riders.
Actual Value vs. Replacement Value
After you have listed all of your personal possessions, it is time to decide whether you want an actual or replacement value policy. Actual value policies cover your items at their current resale price. You can insure your items up to the cost of replacing them with a new model.
Imagine, for example, that your sofa was $2,000 new when it was purchased several years ago and now has a depreciated worth of around $1,000. A policy that covers actual value will pay $1,000 if the sofa is stolen or destroyed. This policy will permit you to purchase a second sofa of the same quality.
A replacement value policy gives you $2,000 which can be used to purchase a new sofa with the exact same style as the one that you have lost. Actual value policies are more expensive upfront than replacement value policies. However, actual value policies will cost you more if you need to replace something after an emergency or loss.
Liability coverage is a type of insurance that you buy through your condo dwelling coverage policy, but it is not strictly related to your condo. It is an umbrella category that covers you in the event of a lawsuit. If you have one, it can be combined with your medical coverage or your vehicle insurance policy.
This can make it difficult to decide how much liability coverage you need. Add up your assets to determine how much liability coverage you need.
- Bank accounts
- Investment products
- Real assets, such as property
- If you are sued, any other assets that you own or that you have part ownership of
Add all of these things together and you can purchase coverage equal or greater than the amount.
Loss of use
If your condo is damaged or lost, your loss of use coverage will pay for your expenses. This could include food, hotel, or other reasonable expenses.
Your personal situation will determine how much loss of usage coverage you need. You may not need as much coverage if your family is close enough to you that you feel comfortable living with them. You will require extra coverage if you have any chronic conditions, or special needs, that could result in higher than average costs.
Your HOA policy should cover medical expenses if a visitor gets hurt in public areas of your condo building. Injuries and incidents are covered by your personal policy.
- This happens in your condo
- Caused by you, your pets, or a member of your family anywhere on the property
- You, your pets or a member your family who is off-property, such as at a friend’s house, can cause it.
You should have ample medical expense coverage. Even though you might not believe that it is likely, medical expenses can quickly add up. In the unlikely event of an emergency, this coverage will cover you against expensive bills.
Double-check with your insurer if you have pets. Standard policy terms may not cover certain breeds and species.
Condo policies are much like homeowners’ policies and renters’ policies in that they do not cover flooding. Flood insurance must be purchased separately, or added to a policy.
Many condo owners believe they don’t need flood insurance.
- They are not located in an area that is susceptible to flooding.
- The condos are on the top floor of their building.
- They may also have other insurance.
This is false. Condo residents should have flood insurance, as water damage of any type is not often covered by other types of insurance. Moreover, flood damage is extremely expensive to repair.
Flooding can also cause secondary hazards like mold. Flood insurance does not usually cover these hazards.
When choosing dwelling coverage, there are some other things you should consider.
- State minimum limits
- Requirements for mortgage lenders
- Coverage for valuable items with blanket or scheduled coverage
- Umbrella coverage
- Green Rebuilding clauses
To find out if your state has minimum coverage requirements, check with your condo’s HOA. These requirements may not be required in all states.
Your lender might require you to have minimum coverage if you have a condo mortgage.
Extra coverage may be required if you have items that are particularly valuable. These are some examples:
These items may be combined or taken individually. They can also exceed the standard category limits. You will need additional coverage to protect yourself from being left without insurance after a disaster. This can be done through either blanket coverage, scheduled coverage, or riders.
You can use umbrella coverage to fill in any gaps in your policy. It covers expenses that are not covered by your policy or exceed the standard categories. Condo owners who do not want to spend money on an emergency can have additional peace of mind.
You might also want to look into green rebuilding clauses. These terms will allow your insurer to provide additional funds for repairs and replacements after a disaster, provided you use eco- or energy-friendly products. You should check with your insurance for specific terms before purchasing.
After you have determined your insurance needs, it is possible to use a dwelling coverage calculator for hard numbers. To get the best out of the calculator, how much condo insurance do you need?
- Decide which coverage types and categories you require
- Take inventory of all the appliances and fixtures in your condo.
- Take inventory of all your personal belongings
- Take stock of all your assets that could be at risk in the event you are sued
- Get professional assessments if necessary in order to obtain accurate numbers
- Find out how much coverage your HOA policy provides.
- To calculate your total insurance coverage, enter the numbers above into an online calculator
Get the coverage you need today
It doesn’t need to be difficult to buy dwelling coverage for your condo. Contact us to get a quote or help you design a plan that suits your needs.