Just as homeowners need to insure their homes, condominium owners need to insure their condominiums. Condo owners’ insurance needs aren’t identical to those of homeowners, though, because condominiums aren’t single-family homes. Condo insurance gives condominium owners in Massachusetts the unique mixture of insurance coverages they need.
Condo insurance policies usually include both property and liability protections. The property coverages they offer typically include personal property coverage and structural coverage, but the amount of protection provided by these coverages can vary.
The structural coverages that condominium policies provide may be minimal or robust. In some cases, policies cover offer almost no structural coverage -- providing little property coverage beyond their personal property coverage. Other policies provide lots of protection for a condo’s fixtures (e.g. flooring, cabinets and countertops).
How much structural coverage condo owners should look for depends on what protections their condo association’s master policy provides. Condo owners whose condo associations maintain policies that provide lots of protection for individual condominium units may need to purchase little structural coverage on their own. Owners whose associations have policies that only cover individual units’ walls will likely want a condominium insurance policy that has plenty of structural coverage.
The personal property coverage afforded by condominium insurance policies can differ in a few ways.
First, policies can have different personal property deductibles and limits, which greatly impact how much personal property protection a policy provides. A deductible determines what a policyholder must pay out of pocket before an insurer will begin paying for a covered claim, and a limit determines the maximum amount an insurer will pay for a covered claim.
Second, many policies have specific limits for high-value items, such as furs, firearms, electronics, jewelry, and artwork. Some policies may offer only limited coverage for belongings like these, while others might provide much more protection. Policies that limit coverage for high-value items often have add-on protections that policyholders can purchase to increase the protection provided for such belongings. Purchasing an add-on coverage will typically increase a policy’s premiums, though.
Finally, policies might provide either actual cash value or replacement value coverage for personal belongings. Actual cash value normally only covers belongings up to their fair-market value, which is frequently less than their replacement cost. Replacement value personal property coverage typically provides enough coverage to replace any items that are lost or damaged in a covered claim.
Condominium insurance policies generally don’t provide coverage for condo complexes’ common areas, and condominium owners usually don’t have to worry about procuring insurance for these areas. Common areas are usually the responsibility of a condo association and insured through an association’s master policy.
Anyone who owns a condominium in Massachusetts should consider purchasing a condominium policy. Condo owners who have a loan on their unit might be required by the terms of their loan to maintain coverage for the unit. Those who don’t have a loan might not have to get insurance, but few condo owners could afford to replace their condo unit without the help of an insurance policy. Therefore, even condo owners who have the option of not getting a policy normally should still have one.
Condo owners in Massachusetts can quickly and easily get quotes for condo insurance by contacting an independent insurance agent. An independent agent can request quotes from multiple insurers and then they can help a condo owner compare the different options available to determine which one is best.