If something unexpected happens to your home, you need to know you’re covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy. If you live in a high-rise condo, you may wonder what your policy covers. Will your policy protect your furnishings? Will the car that you park on premises be covered by insurance?

To understand high-rise condo (or HO-6) insurance, and so you can sleep at night, we’ve put together a handy guide. 

[ Read: The Best Homeowners Insurance Companies ]

What Does House Insurance Cover?

Generally, homeowner insurance covers damage and loss to a residence, furnishings, and other assets in your home. Most homeowner’s insurance also has a liability clause that protects against accidents in the home or on the property. Homeowner’s insurance is not renters insurance, mortgage or home warranty insurance, and usually does not cover natural disasters. You can purchase additional insurance for even greater protection of your belongings. 

At a glance, homeowner’s insurance covers:

  • Your residence
  • Personal property
  • Damage to another person’s property and liability for injuries 
  • Any other structures on the property

[ Read: Homeowners Insurance Buyer’s Guide ]

Does House Insurance Cover Damage to High-Rise Condos?

Tim Surber, Agent/Owner of Tim Surber State Farm Agency in Yakima, WA. says,  “to cover a condo whether high-rise or not, you want a Condo owner’s policy. This is a type of homeowner’s but specifically designed for condos. And yes, a condo owner’s policy would cover damage to the condo. However, there are things to consider.” 

Surber goes on to say, “Most condos are in a homeowner’s association (HOA). That condo owner’s association ‘owns’ the building or buildings that the condos are in and is responsible for maintenance or damage to the exterior. The condo owner’s condo policy covers damage to the inside of the individual condo. So if, say a fire, causes damage to the outside and then spreads to the inside, the person’s own condo policy will cover the damage inside their condo to their personal property.” 

What is Included in These Policies?

Condo insurance–a type of homeowner insurance–generally helps pay to repair your unit and your personal belongings if they are damaged by things like fire or vandalism, or if you are robbed. Referred to as “walls-in” coverage, this type of policy typically covers:

Personal Liability Coverage

If someone is visiting you and is accidentally injured, and you are at fault, personal liability coverage may help pay for their medical bills or legal expenses.

House Guest Medical Coverage

If one of your friends gets injured while visiting, and you are not at fault, guest medical coverage may pay for your friend’s medical expenses.

Building Property Protection

If you damage an interior wall when installing a fixture or some other upgrade, building property protection may pay for the damage when you move out or replace the fixture. 

Personal Property Coverage

Suppose any of your belongings, such as furniture, clothing, electronics, etc., are stolen or damaged in a covered claim, like from a fire. In that case, personal property coverage may help pay to repair or replace your items.

You will likely have the option to choose from different types of personal property coverage, such as replacement cash value or full replacement cost coverage (which doesn’t take depreciation into account). Each policy comes with limits, which is the maximum you would be reimbursed for a claim. And, your policy may have a deductible that has to be paid out before your coverage kicks in.

Loss of Use Coverage

Loss of use coverage covers any costs related to lodging or transportation if your condo is uninhabitable. 

Loss Assessment Coverage

“The other important coverage in this situation for condo owner’s and their insurance policy is Loss Assessment,”  Surber adds. “This covers the individual condo owner in the case the association assesses the cost of damages either not covered by the association policy or just general damage to the exterior that needs fixing. In this case, the cost is divided up amongst the condo unit owner’s in the association.”

What’s Not Included in These Policies?

Generally, if your high-rise condo has an association, which nearly all do, they are required to carry either “bare walls” or “walls-in” coverage. This coverage is not your responsibility. However, if the association only has bare walls coverage, your condo insurance may kick in if, say, the toilet overflows. 

Bare walls 

Bare walls coverage covers the building structures–from sheetrock to subfloor. Wall paint, carpet, hardwood floors, interior fixtures, like toilets, kitchen cabinets, and countertops are not covered. 

Walls-in 

Walls-in coverage covers wall paint, carpet and cabinets. This coverage calls for the association to replace the damaged or stolen items back to their original condition as when originally built. 

The condo’s HOA insurance covers the building’s common areas, like the lobby or swimming pool in case you are injured. It also covers the exterior of the condo,and the land surrounding the building if it’s damaged or a guest is injured on the grounds. 

Most high-rise home insurance policies do not cover your automobile, even if it’s parked on- premises. Your car would be covered instead under your car insurance policy. 

How much does High-Rise Condo Insurance Costs?

Rates for high-rise home insurance vary from one state to the next. For instance, the same coverage that costs you $272 in Iowa costs $588 in New York. In Louisiana, the average rate is $701, while in Wisconsin, it’s $240. If you live in areas with the likelihood of earthquakes or fire, you will probably pay more than in an area that doesn’t have many natural disasters. 

Of course, the average you will pay also depends on the amount of liability protection you buy, the amount of personal property coverage you choose, and your deductible. Condo insurance costs are usually an average of $100 to $400 per year. Of course, you might get a discount on your high-rise insurance policy by bundling an auto policy. You may also get a discount if your condo is gated or has a security system. 

John Espenschied, Owner, Insurance Brokers Group, located in Chesterfield, MO says, ”High-rise condo insurance, like any property insurance, will rise and fall based on the risk in any given city, town, or state. It’s going to be pretty much the same regardless if you are in a small condo complex of 4 units of a high rise with hundreds of units. The primary factors that determine how much you’ll pay are going to be location, age of the building, construction type, fire safety, and the amount of coverage for the interior and personal property needed.”

What Other Coverage is a Good Fit For High-Rise Condo Living?

Besides standard high-rise condo insurance, you may want to add a blanket policy that gives you additional coverage for things like expensive jewelry or electronics, if you lose your keys, identity fraud, etc. There’s even coverage you can add if you have a family member living in an assisted living facility, which will cover property and living expenses. 

The Bottom Line

High-rise condo insurance is similar to most homeowner’s policies. The main difference is that most condo policies cover everything in your high-rise condo interior, and the HOA or association covers everything on the exterior. 

Like with all insurance, costs vary from state to state and from one policy to the next. If you’re shopping around for high-rise condo insurance, decide how much you need, what the HOA covers or does not cover, and if you’ll pay a deductible. Then choose the best policy for your needs.

Photo by Carline Teteris / GettyImages