WHY YOU NEED INSURANCE FOR YOUR CONDO WHETHER YOU’RE AND OWNER OR A RENTER
1. Your lease or condominium by-laws require it.
Check your lease agreement or your condominium by-laws. There’s a good chance you’re required to have an insurance policy with at least $1 million in liability coverage. If you don’t have a policy and you cause damage to the unit or building you could potentially face serious financial hardship.
2. Your condominium corporation’s insurance policy doesn’t protect you.
It’s true, part of your monthly condo fees pay for insurance held by the condominium corporation. However, this insurance only protects the actual physical structure of the building and the common areas and not your personal property or liability arising out of your actions.
3. You own more than you think you do.
Have you added up the replacement cost of all your personal belongings including clothing, handbags and shoes, electronics, computers, furniture, carpets, dishes, bedding, pictures, and bicycles? You’ll likely be very surprised at how much it comes up to. Do you have the financial resources to replace your property if it was destroyed by a fire or significant water damage? Condo insurance starts at as little as $21 a month - a small price for peace of mind and financial security.
4. You will be held responsible for any damage you cause to your unit, your neighbours unit and personal property or to the building itself, even if totally accidental.
This damage could come about from:
- The waterline attached to your fridge (ice maker), dishwasher or washing machine springs a leak while you’re at work
- A kitchen fire that spreads smoke into adjacent units
- Your toilet overflows with water entering into the units below
- A visitor suing you for injuries sustained in a fall in your unit
- Being sued by an innocent person who is injured by someone who drove intoxicated after leaving your party
In all these instances – and there are many other possibilities – you could be held liable for damage you cause to other units, to others personal property or for personal injuries. A small water leak that runs for six hours could easily cause $40,000 damage to the unit immediately below you. A lawsuit could run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for personal injury (have you seen all the ads on TV?). Your insurance policy will have $2 million in liability coverage to protect you.
5. A fire in the building forces you out of your unit for a week or longer.
Where would you live if you were forced out of your home? Your condo policy includes living expense coverage which will pay for accommodation in a hotel or another rental property if you must vacate your unit due to an insurable loss.
6. The condominium corporation has inadequate insurance to cover a significant fire or water damage claim.
As a unit owner you can be assessed for any shortfall the condominium corporation faces due to carrying an inadequate amount of insurance. A condo owner’s policy includes loss assessment coverage which will cover such assessments up to a specified amount.
7. You own valuable items.
It’s highly likely that replacing a high priced item that you’ve invested in such as an Cervelo road bike, a Nikon DSLR camera kit or a Tag Heurer watch that was stolen or damaged in a fire would cause you some financial hardship. You can protect yourself by adding a low cost endorsement to your policy that would specifically protect these types of items.
OTHER HELPFUL INFORMATION
1. What is the difference between a condo owner’s policy and a renter’s policy?
The central features of both an owner’s and renter’s policy are very similar;
- Liability coverage to protect you for negligent acts such as damage you cause to other units or to the building itself.
- Contents coverage which will replace any of your personal property destroyed by a covered claim such as smoke, water and fire.
- Additional living expenses to cover costs of temporary accommodation when forced out of your unit.
A condo owner’s policy has a few additional features due to the unique nature of a condominium building. These include:
- Unit Improvements and Betterments coverage for improvements (including flooring, cabinetry, appliance upgrades and bathroom renovations) made to the unit by you or the previous unit owner.
- Loss Assessment coverage, which provides protection should the condo corporation assess you for a portion of an uninsured loss.
- Unit Additional Protection responds in the event of a loss where the coverage or limits of the condo corporation’s policy are inadequate.
- Assessment of a Corporation Deductible provides coverage if you are assessed a portion of the condo corporation’s deductible from their master policy.