Are you confused about condo insurance? You aren’t alone. The details surrounding condo insurance can seem a little fuzzy, which is why CondoEssentials compiled a handy guide to your condo insurance policy—and the risks it covers when you buy a condo.

But first, did you know that there are multiple aspects to condo insurance coverage? You aren’t responsible for all of it. While you are responsible for some aspects of insurance as either a condo owner or tenant, the condominium corporation is also required to provide insurance coverage for the building envelope and common use areas. Condo corporation insurance won’t protect your individual unit, but it does help to know what all is covered by that form of insurance when you are selecting the specific coverage you need for your separate policy.

What else is covered under your condo insurance policy?

Covered Home Owners Risks:

1. Your contents: The contents of your unit are covered up to a pre-defined value. That means, should any damages occur from flooding (ie: as a result of a burst pipe or a negligent upstairs neighbour), or as the result of a break-in, those damages are covered.
2. Condo upgrades: Don’t worry. Your condo insurance covers any upgrades you put into your unit, too, including hardwood floors, upgraded cabinets and kitchen counters, moldings, and more.
3. Liability: Your contents aren’t the only thing you need to protect in your condo. You also need to make sure your finances are covered. Condo insurance offers third party liability to protect your finances in the event that you are sued for damages to other units resulting from negligence (ie: flooding your neighbour’s unit, causing an oven fire that damages other units, etc.).
4. Locker: Not many people are aware of this, but your condo insurance also covers the contents of your storage locker.
5. Living expenses: Your condo insurance has a backup plan for you in the event that a flood, fire, or another disaster renders your condo uninhabitable for a length of time. Your insurer will pay a reasonable price to cover the cost of your (reasonable) accommodation for the duration of the repairs, or for a set of time.
6. Condo assessments: In some cases, if your condo corporation doesn’t have enough funds to cover the cost of damages (ie: roof damage due to harsh weather), they can pass some of the repair costs on to the condo unit owners via special assessments. These costs are often covered by your condo insurance policy, too.
7. Fair rental value: In the case of damages that prevent you from renting out your unit, your condo insurance will also provide you with compensation for your loss of rental income. The rental value will be determined based on comparable units in the area.

What if you just need tenant’s insurance?

As a condo owner, you need condo insurance—but what if you are just renting the condo you are living in? You can get tenant’s insurance, which provides you and your contents with coverage without incorporating the structural components of the unit that you aren’t responsible for.

Here are the risks condo insurance for tenants covers:
1. Your contents: You may not own the condo, but you still own your contents—your laptop and other electronics, clothes, shoes, and personal items. A tenant insurance policy will cover these items up to a particular value. Just remember to get a separate endorsement for any expensive items (jewelry, wine or art collection, etc.) you own to ensure they don’t exceed your coverage limit.
2. Liability: You also don’t have to be the condo owner to get sued in cases where your negligence (letting water flood condo units below you or causing a fire that damages a couple units) causes damage to other units. Tenant liability coverage will protect your finances in cases like this.
3. Living expenses: Even if you don’t own your own condo, your tenant insurance can still provide coverage for amenities in instances when your unit is rendered uninhabitable due to fire, flood, or other damages that are listed in your policy. Your insurer will provide reasonable living expenses so you can find alternative accommodations, either for the duration of the repairs or for a specified number of months.

Other Condo Insurance Risks for Consideration

There are a few things your condo or tenant insurance may not cover that you need to be aware of.

Roommates or tenants: If you have a roommate or if you rent out your property, your insurance policy will only cover your contents, so your tenant or roommate will have to have his/her own tenant insurance policy to guarantee full coverage. Make sure you are transparent about this with your provider. If you fail to disclose to your insurance provider that you have a roommate or tenant, your policy could be rendered void.
Jewelry and other expensive items: Make sure you get additional coverage (also called an endorsement) to cover any jewelry or other expensive items (art work, bicycles, china and silverware, collectibles, etc.) you store in your condo. You will probably have to provide appraisals or receipts for high-valued items.
Airbnb or other home sharing program: Planning to make a little extra cash on the side by renting your space through Airbnb or another program? Make sure you report this to your insurance provider; otherwise, your policy could be void.

Author's Bio: 

I'm a passionate writer, who is deeply involved with financial and medical topics.