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An essential guide to condo insurance 

Too often, condo owners mistakenly believe that the condo corporation’s insurance policy is sufficient for their own personal purposes. It’s not. For the most part, the condo corporation’s policy isn’t intended for the personal use of the individual residents of the condo, which is why condo residents need their own personal condo insurance coverage. 


Don’t rely on your condo corporation’s insurance policy. Get a condo insurance quote today.


As a condo owner, your insurance needs are not all that different than that of a homeowner. There’s your personal property that you’ll want to ensure is covered, as well as your liability should someone be hurt or injured while visiting your home. But, unlike homeowners insurance, condo insurance takes into account the fact that you’re living in a building with shared amenities, responsibilities, and the unique risks that come with it all. 

What’s included in condo insurance? 

Your condo insurance coverage can be set up to protect you, your condo, and your property so that if something goes wrong you’ll have the backing you need at a time when you need it most. Some of the things you’ll want your condo insurance coverage to include are: 

Your personal property

  • Basically, your stuff, including your personal property and contents.
  • Your personal belongings can really add up in the event of a loss—clothing, appliances, furniture, pots, pans, linens, electronics, computers, sound systems, golf clubs and the like. 

Your personal liability

  • If someone visits you and slips and falls in your unit because they tripped over your area rug, you could be held liable if sued and your condo insurance coverage would kick in.
  • Liability also provides coverage for damage you might accidentally cause to other parts of the building. For example, misadventures in the kitchen that start a fire and cause damage to the units of neighbours, would likely be covered by your condo insurance policy. 

Upgrades

  • Upgrades you’ve made to personalize your home
  • Just like any other homeowner, there’s always something you may want to improve or change.
  • If you renovate your unit and make upgrades to it (say for example, you add a Jacuzzi bathtub, lay better carpet, install hardwood, add new cabinetry, or a granite countertop) the value of these improvements will be factored in, in the event of a loss like fire. 

Living expenses

  • If you cannot live in your condo unit while repairs are being made after an insured loss, your condo insurance will also help to cover some of your additional living expenses, such as moving costs, a hotel room, storage and more. 

Types of Condo Insurance

What kind of condo insurance do you need?

At first glance, condo insurance can seem confusing. Is it the same as home insurance? What is covered by the condominium building’s insurance policy? Do you need a different policy if you rent out your condo? What if you are a tenant renting a condo from someone else? In this section, we explain the different types of condo insurance.

Scenario 1: You own a unit in a condominium building.

Your condo is your home, so you need home insurance right? Not quite! A home insurance policy is designed to cover the physical structure of the house, plus the belongings inside. As a condo owner, you don’t own the entire building, so you don’t need the same coverage. The building insurance policy is the responsibility of the condo board. It covers the main building structure and any common areas. As a unit owner, you contribute towards the premiums via a portion of your condo fees, but you don’t have to purchase a separate policy.

What you should purchase is personal condo insurance (sometimes called condo home insurance or condo owners insurance).

In general, personal condo insurance plans cover these four components:

  1. Your personal belongings, whether they are inside your unit or storage locker, in the event of theft or damage (including damage from a flood or fire).
  2. Any improvements you have made to the unit (e.g. new floors or countertops that have increased the value of your condo).
  3. Liability coverage in case you are sued for an accident that caused injury, or an accident that caused property damage (e.g. you leave the bath running and the excess water causes a flood in the unit below).
  4. Extra expenses if you have to temporarily vacate your condo (e.g. there is a fire and your unit is badly damaged, this provision can help cover moving costs, storage fees and alternative accommodation until you can move back in).

None of these coverages are included in the building insurance policy, which is why you can’t rely on it for complete protection.

Scenario 2: You are renting a condo from the owner.

Many people rent their condos, not from the building management, but from the individual condo owner. The owner hopefully has insurance, but their coverage is unlikely to extend to your possessions.

As a result, you need condo rental insurance, (also known as renter’s insurance or tenant insurance).

Condo rental insurance will include coverage for your possessions, liability protection against lawsuits, and help with living expenses if you have to temporarily vacate the unit.

You are not required to have a lease for this type of tenant insurance, and it is surprisingly cheap for such an important purchase.

Scenario 3: You own a condo, and are renting it out to somebody else.

As a condo owner, you are used to personal condo insurance (see Scenario 1), but now that you are a landlord, you need to inform your insurance company and change your policy.

When you find a suitable tenant, you should request that they purchase tenant insurance (see Scenario 2). Your condo landlords insurance will cover the fixtures of your apartment, but it won’t cover the tenant’s possessions, or any damage caused by the tenant to your property. Landlord insurance, in conjunction with tenant insurance, will ensure you get the protection you need.

Whether you need condo insurance, tenant insurance or landlord insurance, InsuranceHotline.com can find you the best deal. Compare quotes today.

Your most asked condo insurance questions, answered (FAQs)

What’s condo insurance cost? 

Just like all insurance, the cost of condo insurance will vary depending on where you live (for example, condo insurance in Toronto may cost more than it does in a small town), the condo insurance coverage options you choose, your deductibles, and the limitations of your policy.

To answer the question of what does condo insurance cost, you’ll likely find that condo insurance coverage will cost about $250 to $350 per year for $50,000 in contents coverage. Of course, you’re best to get a condo insurance quote here at InsuranceHotline.com for the coverage you need.

Whether you’re living in a condo in Vancouver, need condo insurance in Toronto, or just bought a condo in Halifax, let InsuranceHotline.com help. We compare condo insurance quotes from over 30 insurers to help you get the condo insurance coverage you need at the best available price.

What is loss assessment condo insurance? 

Although most condo buildings are insured under their homeowners association (HOA), there are cases where the cost of damages to common areas outside of your unit surpasses that of the coverage amount of the shared policy. In these instances, the remaining cost is typically divided and shared among condo owners. Since each condo owner partially owns the building, loss assessment insurance coverage can prevent you from having to pay out of pocket (up to your insured amount) if this happens.

Examples of instances where this might happen include a guest being injured in a common area such as a lobby or pool, there's been extensive exterior damage to the outside of the building due to weather, or extensive interior damage such as to elevators, lobbies or carpets due to something like fire or an explosion.

Ask your insurance provider to learn more about this type of insurance.

Does condo insurance cover water damage?  

Water damage that occurs in the building typically is the responsibility of the homeowners association (HOA). For example, if a pipe bursts or (in some cases) when the sewage system backs up.

However, condo owners are typically responsible for water damage that occurs in their own unit. Where it gets complicated is when a leak from a neighbouring unit causes damage to your unit or belongings in your unit. In this case, you may have to go through your own insurance first to have the damage repaired. Your insurance company may subrogate any payment for repairs to your unit from your neighbour's insurer once it’s established that the cause of the damage was their fault.

Does condo insurance cover items stored in my storage unit or locker space? 

It depends. Just like a home insurance policy, condo insurance policies typically cover your property from insured perils even when it is off premises, such as a laptop carried in a briefcase, items left in your car or a camera you bring with you on vacation.

However, if your storage unit or locker space is rented out separately from your condo, you may require additional insurance depending on your policy. It's always recommend you double check with your insurance provider to ensure your belongs are covered. Even if the storage unit is included with your condo, your provider likely wants to be made aware of items stored outside of your condo unit.

Additionally, there may be limits to coverage for items stored in condo storage units, so you'll want to be clean on that with your provider as well.

What if I rent my condo? 

Don’t own a home or condo? Be sure to check out our renters insurance guide.