What is Condo Insurance?
Condominium owners have unique insurance needs. They tend to need more coverage than renters but not as much coverage as homeowners. Condo insurance policies are uniquely designed to give condominium owners in Massachusetts the insurance coverages they need.
Condo insurance is an important coverage that most condominium owners should carry. Without this insurance, condominium owners are dangerously exposed to potential risks, and they may be in violation of their condominium association’s bylaws or mortgage’s requirements.
What Are HO-6 Condo Form Policies?
In the insurance industry, homeowners insurance policies (including condo and renters policies) are often identified via a standardized code. “HO-6” is the code used for basic condo policies. Not every HO-6 policy will be identical, but most HO-6 policies are similar to each other.
In addition to HO-6, condominium owners may also come across “HO-32” and “HO-35.”
HO-32 is the abbreviation for unit owner special coverage, which typically expands a condo policy from a named perils policy covers only to a more robust open perils policy. Named perils policies usually only cover listed perils, while open perils policies normally cover perils as long as they aren’t excluded within the policy’s paperwork.
HO-35 is the abbreviation for loss assessment coverage. This coverage may help pay a condominium owner’s share of a claim against their condo association’s master policy.
What Coverages Do Condominium Insurance Policies Offer?
Most condominium insurance policies offer three primary coverages:
- Structural Coverage, which may help cover a condominium’s physical structure
- Personal Property Coverage, which may help cover a condominium owner’s belongings
- Personal LIability Coverage, which may help cover certain liability lawsuits filed against a condominium owner
These three primary coverages can often be supplemented with additional coverages and endorsements, including unit owner special coverage, loss assessment coverage and others.
What Structural Coverage Do Massachusetts Condominium Owners Need?
Why levels of structural coverage Massachusetts condominium owners need depends on what protections their condo association’s master policy provides for in-unit structures. There are three main kinds of condo association master policies:
- Bare walls-in policies usually only cover the walls (and possibly electric and plumbing) of a unit, leaving the condominium owner to find structural coverage for all features
- Single entity policies usually cover the walls and standard features of a unit, leaving the condominium owner to find structural coverage for upgraded features
- Modified single entity policies usually cover walls, standard features and upgraded features, leaving the condominium owner with few structural coverage needs
To find out what kind of master policy their association has, condominium owners should request a copy of the master policy from their board of directors.
Do Condominium Insurance Policies Cover Floods and Earthquakes?
Most condominium insurance policies don’t include coverage for floods and earthquakes in their standard protections. While a few policies might offer these as optional coverages, condominium owners that want flood or earthquake coverage usually obtain it through a separate, peril-specific policy.
Flood insurance may be purchased either through the National Flood Insurance Program or on the private marketplace, depending on whether a condominium owner qualifies for the NFIP. Earthquake insurance is typically purchased on the private marketplace.
How Can Massachusetts Condominium Owners Get Condo Insurance?
When searching for the right condominium insurance policy, condo owners must both check policies on their own to make sure they provide good coverage and see how the policies’ coverages will interact with their association’s master policy to ensure there aren’t any coverage gaps. This can involve wading through technical jargon, and cross-checking different terms and conditions.
For help with this process, condo owners in Massachusetts should contact a condo insurance specialist from Flavin and Flavin Insurance. An independent agent who’s familiar with these policies will have the freedom to show condo owners the best available policy and the expertise to make sure it provides the coverages condo owners need.