Every person is unique, and as such, their insurance needs are unique, too. Whether you’re looking to purchase a condo in the city or a condo townhome in the suburbs, you might have some coverage questions. We’re here to answer the most common questions about a condo insurance policy that we have been asked by condo owners.

Is condo insurance mandatory?

No. You are not required to have condo insurance in Ontario, however, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need it. Banks and financial lenders require you to show proof of insurance. Condo corporations will also require owners to have a plan before they can move in. So even though it is not mandatory, you shouldn’t risk missing out on a great property by not having it.

Do condo fees include insurance?

No. You condo fees do not include your personal insurance. Your condo fees will typically cover maintenance, utilities, and a portion of the building insurance. Therefore, through the condo corporation (as an owner), you have joint responsibility for its insurance. For example, if a visitor slips and falls, injuring themselves in a common area like the parking lot, the condo corporation insurance covers any damages.

What is not covered by condo insurance?

Condo insurance does not cover your high value items, such as expensive jewelry and collectibles. If you want these items insured, you should look into taking out additional insurance, called an endorsement. Endorsements can offer you a wide range of extra add-on protection. Similarly, you don’t have coverage for your home-based business or for renting out your condo on Airbnb. Lastly, accidental water damage is also not part of a standard policy. Ask one of our isure representatives about an endorsement for water damage in case of flooding in the building.

What is condo corporation insurance?

It covers the common areas of your building. This includes the walls, floors, elevators, roof and other common areas. It also provides liability protection for the property.

Does this type of insurance cover damage or injury in common areas? 

Any damage in the common areas of your building, like the front entrance, party room or pool, is covered by the Homeowners Association (HOA) insurance, which your condominium corporation—and part of your maintenance fees—foots the bill for.

How much condo insurance should I have?

If you are wondering about coverage limits, you must have coverage for your contents and liability. Knowing how much you need can be difficult for you to guess. It depends on your risk tolerance, living situation and amount of personal property that you have. The average condo owner commonly has $1 million in liability and $50,000 in personal contents. You can lower or increase these amounts to fit your budget and lifestyle.

Does a condo policy cover water and fire damage?

Your condo homeowners insurance coverage takes care of the costs that come from accidental water or fire damage. It’s important to stress that accidental refers to unexpected and not preventable damage. If you allowed mould to build-up, causing damage to wood/walls, you would not be covered, as this can be prevented with proper maintenance. Similarly, you would not be covered for leakage or seepage damage that occurs over a period of time.  Water dripping from pipes under your sink for a long time would be an example of leakage. However, if you have an unexpected pipe burst or leaky appliances, youare covered under a basic policy.

Fire damage is very different. The nature of the fire determines which policy the claim for damages will be managed i.e. yours, the condo corporation or both. Your plan may have to cover some of the damage. Your condo corporation may also share responsibility for the damage. Be sure that you read your condo contract carefully to be clear about what your condo corporation will cover. It is also a good idea to read over your policy to have a clear understanding of what your policy includes. You can expect that both insurers will work collectively to manage the situation.

Do I need extended water damage coverage?

Water damage is the most common type of claim for personal condo insurance. Under your regular personal condo insurance policy, you will likely be covered for water damage caused by a leaking appliance or a burst pipe. However, you policy does not cover every type of water damage. If you add the extended water damage option, you will be protecting yourself from damage caused by water that enters your condo from a flood elsewhere in the building.

Do I need condo coverage for Airbnb?

If you are thinking of renting out your unit, be sure to speak with your board about their home sharing rules before you place your ad. Not all buildings allow it, so make sure to talk with your building manager first. Although Airbnb does provide some host protection, it is not enough. Speak with your isure broker to get the right coverage in place before you rent out your unit. It’s also important to know that not all insurers offer home sharing policies.

Is townhouse insurance the same as condo insurance?

The main difference between condo and townhouse insurance is how much the policy covers. Condo insurance covers your personal contents inside your unit. If you have a townhouse, your insurance policy would cover your personal contents, but also the building structure and the land. Your townhouse policy is very much the same as a home insurance policy.

Does condo coverage include appliances?

Yes. Your policy can include protection for appliances and other fixtures. Check to see they are included and if not, you may be able to add it for appliances.

Does condo insurance cover special assessments?

A special tax assessment is levied on you, the taxpayer, in order to fund a local project. This would usually be something like road construction or maintenance. It is unrelated to the HOA’s tax assessment. Your basic condo policy may not cover special assessments. Many policies do offer this coverage but if you are not sure if you have this, speak with your isure broker.

Is a storage locker covered by condo insurance?

Yes. A storage locker houses your personal belongings, sometimes outside your unit. And as all of your personal items are protected under your policy, your items stored elsewhere in the building are also covered.

Why do I need personal condo insurance?

Your condo insurance policy will protect your unit and all your belongings. Although, most condo buildings will have Condo Corporation Coverage, it will not cover your personal items. It only covers the building itself and common areas, like the fitness centre, elevators and lobby. When you purchase a personal condo insurance policy, you’re protecting:

  • Your belongings and property.
  • Improvements you make to your condo unit, including upgrading your countertops, cabinets, flooring, etc. (Remember to notify your insurer whenever you upgrade your home as it may change your coverage).
  • Yourself with personal liability insurance. If you cause damage in another unit or if a visitor gets injured in your unit, you’ll be covered.
  • Yourself from events that cause damage to your unit or the units around you. For example, if a pipe were to burst in your unit and causes water damage to your downstairs neighbour’s unit, you could be on the hook for the condo corporation’s policy deductible.

I rented out my condo. Are there different options I should be aware of?

 If you rent out your condo, there are two perils that you can consider adding to your personal condo insurance policy:

  1. Unit Protection – If your occupant causes damage to your unit, it may not be covered under your current coverage. Speak with an isure broker to go over your policy to see if you require more coverage options.
  2. Rental Income Protection – To help protect your monthly rental income, you can add protection for fair rental value and additional living expenses. This is a great option, as it may protect your income if your unit becomes uninhabitable.

If you have any concerns, please feel free to contact us and one of our isure brokers will be happy to answer any of your insurance questions!

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