Condos are protected by two types of insurance policies — your personal condo insurance policy and your HOA’s master policy. If you want your personal property protected against damage and theft, you should get personal protection since master policies will generally only cover the exterior of the building.
Finding the best condo insurance is a game of maximizing coverage for the price while ensuring you’re not paying for coverage you don’t need.
Condo insurance coverage
If you want complete peace of mind, you have to know exactly what is covered by your condo insurance, and what things you’re going to have to get separate coverage for.
What condo insurance covers
Your personal property
Your stuff is valuable. Condo insurance makes sure that the things you own are covered against damage or theft.
Most elements inside of a unit like the wiring, ceilings, walls and the plumbing are not covered by a typical master’s policy but are covered by personal insurance.
Master policy coverage limits
If the damage costs exceed that of your HOA’s master policy, then this coverage will make up the difference.
This covers your living expenses in case you are forced to move out of your condo temporarily due to damages.
If there’s an accident and someone gets injured on your property, condo insurance will cover part or all of the legal or medical expenses that may accrue.
What condo insurance doesn’t cover
Many of the coverage gaps in a typical homeowner’s policy exist for condo insurance as well. Getting coverage for these exclusions usually requires you to pay for a separate policy.
General wear and tear
This covers the normal degradation of your building caused by simply living on the property. It is not damage or deterioration caused by neglect or abuse.
If you live in a high-risk area, then you have to get a separate policy to cover damage caused by floods. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is generally the primary provider of this type of insurance.
If your unit and belongings are damaged in an earthquake, your stuff won’t be covered. Deciding not to purchase a separate policy for earthquakes when you live in a low-risk area can save you money.
Damage caused by pests
Condo insurance doesn’t cover pest removal or the damage caused by pests. If you have termites, bed bugs, roaches, mice or birds causing problems, you’re going to have to pay out of pocket.
If you intentionally hurt someone on your property, you are 100% liable for the medical and legal repercussions.
How much does condo insurance cost?
Condo insurance premiums vary significantly and are highly contingent on which state you live in. For example, the average annual premium for Florida is $942, while in Wisconsin it’s only $249.
Check out this table to figure out how much you can expect to pay.
|State||Average Annual Premium Price|
|District of Columbia||$367|
Data collected from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners: Insurance Report 2017.
What factors go into pricing condo insurance
Like any type of insurance, the price of condo insurance depends on a combination of circumstantial and personal factors.
HOA’s master policy
If there are gaps in your HOA’s master policy, you will have to pay more to cover the difference.
While your state of residency is one of the most significant factors in determining the cost, it’s not the only locational factor. If you live in a high-risk area near a coastline, on a fault line or anywhere where there’s extreme weather, your premiums will undoubtedly be higher.
Like most insurance policies, better credit equates to a better rate.
Condo age and condition
Modern units are typically more energy-efficient and are in far less need of repairs. If you have an older one, you can expect higher premiums.
Up to you
Amount of coverage
The more coverage you get, the higher your premium. To ensure that you don’t overpay for coverage you don’t need, get a policy that matches the value of your property.
The deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before your policy kicks in. The lower the deductible, the higher your premium.
Each insurance provider will have its own set of unique discounts you might qualify for. When trying to find the best policy, you should always look at the discounts offered to see how much you can lower your rates.
When do I need condo insurance?
There are gaps in the HOA’s master policy
If your HOA’s policy caps out at a certain point and the damage costs exceed this level, then you’ll be stuck with the remaining bill if you don’t have coverage.
Damage occurs on the inside of your unit
Since most master policies only cover the exterior, you need to have the policy to cover any damage that occurs inside your condo.
You live in a high-risk area
Some locations in the U.S. are more prone to disasters than others. Those that are exposed to these risks should protect themselves with an insurance policy.
The unit is vacant for an extended period
Many people only use condos part of the year making them prime targets for burglars. Protect your things from theft by getting a policy.
You are displaced from your home
If the damage to your condo is severe enough to displace you, condo insurance will ensure that your living expenses are covered while you wait for repairs.
A guest gets injured
Anytime someone gets hurt on your property, you are potentially liable for the legal and medical costs if you lack the proper coverage.
How much condo insurance should I get?
Everyone’s policy is going to be different since condo insurance should always be tailored to your personal needs. Even so, there are at least two common factors you should take into consideration when determining how much you need.
The first thing you should look at is what your HOA’s master policy covers. Avoiding any policy overlap is a great way to save some money.
Second is that you should consider the overall value of your unit including everything inside. The more valuables you have, the more coverage you should get. It’s also a great way to ensure you’re not overestimating your policy amount.
Overall, picking the right amount of coverage is a balance between having enough while ensuring you aren’t over-covered.
What are the best companies that offer condo insurance?
Progressive: Fast and easy claims processing
USAA: Best for military service members
Liberty Mutual: Great bundle discounts
Amica: Superb customer service
Farmers: Expansive policy options
What insurance do you need for a condo?
Homeowners insurance is mandatory if you have a mortgage, but condo insurance isn’t mandatory. The type of insurance you need is determined by your HOA. While some require additional coverage, others don’t.
Regardless of what you are required to have, you should look into covering anything you don’t want to pay out of pocket to replace.
Who has the cheapest condo insurance?
With an average of $249 per year, people in Wisconsin have the lowest premiums. In terms of insurance companies, it depends. There are many factors that go into the cost that it’s difficult to crown one company as the absolute cheapest option.
However, a good place to start looking would be Liberty Mutual due to its extensive list of discount bundles.
Who has the best condo insurance?
Depends on what you value the most from an insurance provider. If you’re looking for great customer service, then Amica should be your go-to, if you want more policy customization then Allstate is a great choice.
How much should I insure my condo for?
You should always get a policy that covers the entire value of your condo and your belongings.
If you can’t afford complete coverage then you should focus on protecting your most valuable assets or the things that will cost you the most out of pocket in case of damage.