If you own a condo in Orange County, your HOA has some coverage, but the rest isup to you. The HOA’s master policy insures the building structure and any common areas that are collectively owned by the unit owners. This includes the walls, grounds, roof, plumbing, and so on. But most HOA’s have a “bare walls” policy and this means your personal belongings and any improvements to the interior of your unit are not covered. For example, if your kitchen cabinets are destroyed in a fire your HOA probably does not cover this. So how do you cover the cost of damage caused by a slab leak or theft of your personal items?
Condo Insurance is designed to cover for your personal possessions, interior improvements, appliances, and any living expenses caused by an incident.
After you’ve determined what’s covered by the association’s master policy, a personal Condominium/Co-Op policy will help to safe guard you from losses to your personal property and the interior of your unit. As such, you will need to estimate:
- The cost to repair or replace the inside of your home if it were damaged, including fixtures, kitchen cabinets, plumbing, wiring, built-in appliances, etc. (if not covered by the association’s master policy)
- The cost to replace the contents of your home
To assist you, we will provide a form for you to conduct a thorough inventory of your home. This will help you to determine your personal property policy limits, which will ensure you have the right amount of coverage in the event of a covered loss.
We recommend insuring your personal property for its Replacement Cost Value rather than Actual Cash Value. The longer you own your belongings the less value they hold. Replacement Cost Value insures you can replace yesterday’s purchases at today’s price tags.
In addition to your belongings, the Liability to Others portion of your policy covers you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that you or a family member—and some cases, pets—cause to other people. It pays for both the cost of litigation and any court awards, up to the limit of your policy, and covers you at home or away.
Liability limits typically start at $100,000. For more coverage, consider an Umbrella or Excess Liability policy, which provides broader coverage when liability limits are exhausted in underlying policies. In the event a visitor is injured in your home, Medical Payments coverage allows the person to submit medical bills directly to your insurance company. The benefit is that expenses are paid to the injured person, up to the policy limit, without a liability claim being filed against you.
Additional coverages to consider:
- Unit assessment coverage: Unit Assessment coverage reimburses you for the expense passed on to you by the association due to a special assessment, as long as the cause of loss was covered by the association’s policy.
- Sewer back-up: Additional water back-up coverage insures your property for damage by the back-up of sewers and drains (does not include flood protection). It is not always included in a Condo/Co-op Insurance policy.
- Flood or earthquake: These can strike anywhere, so it’s important to understand your risks and check into coverage options. We’d be happy to provide more detailed information to you about covering losses due to a flood or earthquake.
Check Your Condo Association Coverage First
When selecting condo/co-op coverage, it’s important to determine what is covered by your association’s master policy and what items are your responsibilities. Typically, your condo/co-op association carries an insurance policy for common areas, such as the lobby, walkways, boiler, basement, etc. In most cases, the association’s coverage stops at the exterior walls. However, it may also cover other parts of the interior, too. It is critical to determine what the association’s master policy covers and what is your responsibility.
Call ERM Insurance for insurance on your condo in Orange County. Multi-policy discounts are available and we are always happy to answer any of your questions. (949) 222-0444