Condominiums come in all shapes and sizes, and there are many perks of living in a condominium. You may love the idea of not shovelling snow or mowing your lawn, but there are many things you are still responsible for on top of what’s managed by the condo association.
The insurance provided by a condo corporation covers the main structure and common areas. You are responsible for covering what’s inside your actual unit, and your coverage should take into account any upgrades, improvements, loss assessments and belongings.
Fire damage is concerning for any homeowner, and may be more so for condo owners, as units tend to be closer together. At BrokerLink, our insurance experts are familiar with what your policy requirements should be and what condo boards are legally obligated for when it comes to insurance. Keep reading to learn more.
Standard condo insurance coverage
Dwelling coverage (For your condo)
If a fire completely or partially damages your condo, dwelling coverage is there to pay to rebuild or repair it.
Other structures on your property
Insurance should cover you if a fire damages or destroys another owned structure on your property that isn’t attached to your condo, as long as it’s listed on your policy. Common examples are sheds and gazebos.
Personal property (Your belongings)
Insurance companies may refer to this as contents insurance. Basically, it means all furniture, clothing, electronics and other belongings, are covered if they are damaged or destroyed in a fire. Your policy will have a limit of how much you can claim, so it’s important to ensure that you note any items of particularly high value, such as luxury handbags, art, wine or other collections. Confirm that Items in your storage locker are also included on your policy.
Additional living expenses (Loss of use)
If you are unable to live in your home while it’s being rebuilt and repaired, your insurance policy usually covers any additional living expenses, such as food and accommodation. If you have pets and must live in temporary housing that doesn’t allow them, boarding for your animals may also be covered. Your policy will pay for these items up to its limits.
Personal Liability (Damage or injury to others)
What if a fire that starts in your condo spreads to other units and causes damage? In this case, your policy can help cover the costs to repair and restore the other unit(s) – within limits, under Personal Liability, which is coverage for bodily injury and property damage sustained by others for which you are legally responsible.
How does my condo insurance cover fire damages?
Since condos are shared living environments, coverage for incidents like a fire can be complicated. Similar to home insurance, condo insurance protects your property only. Depending on the cause of the fire, the insurance policy for your condo board may contribute something toward damages. It really depends on the situation and parties involved.
Condo boards must have insurance policies that will cover the building and common areas, but your own policy is responsible for the rest. Your belongings and other damaged areas such as floors and counters will likely be covered under your policy.
Why is loss of use coverage important?
It doesn’t matter if you live in a house or a condominium, coverage for loss of use (additional living expenses) is an important part of your policy. If, for whatever reason you cannot use your home due to damages, this coverage helps you with regular living expenses, including:
- Rental payments for temporary accommodations.
- Food costs beyond what you normally spend. If you normally spend $250 a week on groceries, this cost may increase when you’re living elsewhere especially if you don’t have access to your regular kitchen appliances. As a result, this coverage would pay for anything above $250.
- Travel costs that are above your regular spend.
- Any moving or storage costs.
Multi-unit buildings like many apartment style condominiums often have complicated repair processes, so living elsewhere for a longer period is a common reality.
Contact BrokerLink anytime to learn what your additional living expense limit is for your policy. We know events like a fire can be overwhelming, so learning about what to do beforehand is one way to be prepared for a worst case scenario.
Purchase condo insurance today
At BrokerLink, we have a lot of experience helping our customers with a wide array of needs, including condo coverage. We work with several well-respected insurance companies to find coverage that fits your needs. We’ll answer all your questions, explain your policy options and we’ll make recommendations based on our expertise, your location and other factors as well.
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FAQs on condo insurance coverage for fire damage
What is a special insurance assessment?
If you live in a condo, you are familiar with condo fees. A portion of your monthly fees goes into a reserve fund, which is like a savings account for your condo association. It typically covers large repairs or unexpected expenses like needing to replace windows. If there’s not enough money in the reserve fund, you may receive notice of a special assessment. That means that you’ll need to pay the difference.
What is third-party liability?
Third-party liability is coverage that is there to protect you if you’re being sued (or threatened) due to a physical injury or damage to someone else’s property.