Insurance Rates

Homeowner’s Insurance for Condo Dwellers: Know Your Coverage Needs

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When you’re finalizing the details of your home purchase, one of the most important things you’ll have to decide on is homeowner’s insurance. Obviously, covering your home in the event that it’s victimized by a break-in or severe weather event is non-negotiable, but did you know that the type of home you buy can determine your insurance needs? Specifically, people who purchase condominiums (condos) require a very different kind of coverage than those who buy single-family homes.

When you buy a condo, you’re buying one unit in a multi-unit building. This means that there is usually a substantial amount of shared space in the structure that your condo is located in. As part of your monthly association dues (also known as “condo fees”), you’ll be paying into the complex’s master insurance policy. Generally, this policy insures the common areas in your building, including the hallways, elevators, roof, etc. Coverage varies from complex to complex, but in general the association’s master insurance policy is responsible for repairing damage to those areas and structures if they are harmed by vandalism, extreme weather, or other unexpected events.

You will be responsible for insuring the unit that you live in, for which you’ll need to buy separate coverage. These are often referred to as “walls-in” or “wall-to-wall” policies because they cover everything contained within the walls of your condo. This includes both physical structures, like your cabinets and appliances, as well as your furniture and belongings. In addition, a good wall-to-wall policy will include liability coverage, which will insure you in the event that someone is injured on your property.

The good news is that most walls-in policies are relatively inexpensive compared to homeowner’s insurance policies for single-family homes; most only cost $15-$25 per month, but, as with all insurance policies, it’s important to shop around to be sure you’re getting the best deal. It probably also makes sense to “bundle” your condo insurance with your other policies, as most insurance companies offer a discount for using their services for all your insurance needs.

If you’re buying a condo, talk to your insurance agent as soon as possible about getting the right coverage. After all, it’s one of the most important purchases you’ll make for your new home!

About Lindsay Meredith

Lindsay is a high school teacher and personal finance blogger. She lives, works, and plays in the Washington, D.C. area.

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