Your Associations’ Master Policy is Limited and May Not Cover You At All.
Your Condo or Homeowners Association (HOA) carries a Master Insurance Policy, which provides property and liability insurance coverage for the building and its common areas. However, depending on the structure of your Association’s Master Condo Deed and/or Trust bylaws, the Master Policy may or may not cover you for the costly building assets inside your condo, such as the walls, floors, kitchen cabinets, bathrooms, and other fixtures.
“All-in” or “Bare walls”, Which Do You Have?
Your Master Condo Deed and/or Trust will be structured either as “All-in” or “Bare walls” or “Studs-in”. If you have an “All-in”, then the Master Policy will typically cover the aforementioned assets inside your condo unit. However, a “Bare walls” or “Studs-in” will not protect the assets inside your unit, leaving you at a great risk of personal loss.
Your first step should be to find out which structure you have. For this you should refer to your Condo documents or contact the Association trustees.
If you find out that yours is “Bare walls”, there is a way to protect yourself. A Personal Condo Policy (known as an HO-6) can be designed to protect you and the physical assets inside your unit.
What Your HOA’s Policy Will NOT COVER
Here’s a Partial List of What Your HOA Policy Will Not Cover You For, But A Personal Condo Policy Will.
- Personal Property: Your furniture, clothing, television and other personal items are not covered by the HOA’s insurance. An HO-6 will cover these, and you have an option to buy Replacement Cost coverage and even Schedule special personal items like jewelry, watches or paintings.
- Personal Liability: If a friend or guest gets injured while in your unit (for example, trips on a rug or stairs) you could be liable. An HO-6 will cover medical bills and your legal liability if you are sued.
- Additional Living Expenses: If you can’t live in your Condo because of fire or water damage, an HO-6 will pay for the reasonable additional expenses related to temporarily moving into a hotel or apartment. An HOA’s policy will not cover this.
- Loss Assessment: If your HOA has a covered loss but their coverage limit is insufficient to pay for it all or their deductible applies, as a unit owner you will be assessed to make up the difference. With an HO-6 you can insure for this by adding Loss Assessment coverage.
- Water and Sewer Backup/Overflow: It happens more than you think. Water backs up from a sewer below or overflows from drainpipe above, and the result can be disastrous to your unit and home. A Water and Sewer Backup/Overflow endorsement can be added to an HO-6 to insure against such a disaster.
To Sum It Up
If you own a Condo and don’t have your own Personal Condo Policy (HO-6), then you are really exposing yourself to a lot of risk and potential hardship. There is no one size fits all insurance solution when it comes to insuring a Condo. So, it is definitely worth talking with an experienced Independent Insurance Agent to make suggestions and help tailor a policy that properly protects you and your assets.
If you have questions or would like a free policy review or quote, please contact us.
Kiley & O’Toole Insurance Agency
Independent Insurance Agents since 1985