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condo vs. homeowners insurance

In many ways, buying a condo is similar to buying a house: you get to enjoy the freedom of owning your living space but you also have to take responsibility for what happens to it. So how similar is insurance coverage for condos to houses? Let's find out.

Condos vs. houses: the ins and outs of your insurance

One of the key differences between home and condo ownership concerns how much of your residence you have to insure. Buying a home means you own and are responsible for the inside and outside of your place, including the land it sits on.

Buying a condo, on the other hand, only leaves you solely responsible (usually) for the interior of your place. The outside land, condo building structure, and building common areas are all typically jointly owned by you and your fellow condo dwellers and insured by your homeowners association (HOA).

Because condo living brings these slightly different responsibilities, it wouldn't make much sense to arrange your condo insurance the same as you would a homeowners policy.

Dwelling coverage

Under condo insurance

This is where the difference is most apparent. On your condo policy, you'll likely need just enough dwelling protection to rebuild the interior of your unit (everything from the wall studs in). Repairs on the outside of the building, exterior walls, hallways, elevators, etc., if they were ever destroyed by a covered risk, would fall under the HOA insurance. In some cases, your HOA includes coverage for the interior structures of your unit, too, which could lessen how much condo insurance you need.

Under homeowners insurance

Dwelling coverage under homeowners insurance should be high enough to cover the total rebuilding cost of the house and other structures on your property (fences, sheds, carports, etc.). Because the price to rebuild is often higher for homes than condos, homeowners tend to require a good deal more dwelling and structural coverage.

Liability coverage

Under condo insurance

You could be held responsible if visitors in your condo are injured, you accidentally injure someone away from home, or you damage someone else's property. You'll want personal liability coverage to help you avoid paying out of pocket in these situations. However, you typically don't need liability protection for claims involving building common areas — if a visitor slips in the pool area or falls down in the lobby entrance, your HOA insurance will typically kick in.

Under homeowners insurance

Much like condo owners, homeowners can be found liable for injuries that happen in their residence or away from home, plus property damage they cause. But homeowners also have to worry about injuries that occur on the land around their place. Because a traditional home often has room for items that a condo unit doesn't — such as pools, trampolines, and playground equipment — homeowners often need more liability coverage.

Personal property coverage

Under condo insurance

Insuring personal belongings is the main responsibility for condo owners, as your HOA master coverage does not typically extend protection to your stuff. In fact, the value of your electronics, jewelry, furniture, clothing, and all the rest of your property is perhaps the key factor in determining how much condo insurance you need.

Under homeowners insurance

Personal property coverage needs are essentially the same for homeowners. You'll want enough protection to cover the total value of all your belongings. Whether you live in a home or condo, it's wise to take a home inventory of all your stuff so you know just how much personal property coverage is enough.

Insure your home like a pro

Homeownership of any kind is a major responsibility. There's no shortage of insurance risks around every corner and tucked in every crawlspace. That's why, no matter what type of structure you call home, it pays to have some knowledge at your disposal. Check out some residential insurance tips and prepare yourself for all sorts of domestic perils, from mold to soot and beyond.

Or start your free condo insurance quote to perfect coverage for your unique pad.

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