Do I Need Condominium Insurance in Florida and South Carolina?

You recently bought a condominium in Florida or South Carolina. A condo is not a house, so you may believe that you will not need to purchase your own homeowner’s insurance. However, you will need your own coverage. Here is why.

What type coverage do I need?

Typically, a condominium owner is responsible for only his or her own portion of the property. The “master policy” for the condominium complex insures the property of the complex owned in common—exterior buildings, fences, swimming pools, etc. Part of the association fees you pay each month go toward the upkeep and insurance for those common areas.
Within the four walls of your unit, you need insurance. To determine what you need to insure, you may need to review your association’s master policy. It may cover property units from the exterior framing in, but will not cover your fixtures or the flooring in your unit. On the other hand, your master policy may cover fixtures and installations within your unit. If your association’s master policy is this type of “all-in” coverage, your needs for coverage are more limited. However, you still need coverage of your own.

Liability coverage for your specific unit

No matter what your master policy covers, you need your own liability coverage for guests who visit your home or for events that might occur away from your premises. For example, suppose you take your dog to a local off-leash dog park and in its ball-catching zeal, your dog knocks over an elderly person. She breaks her hip. You could be sued and your association’s master policy would not cover you. Liability coverage in today’s litigious world is no longer a luxury; if you have any assets, it is a necessity. Your condominium policy provides that broad liability coverage you need when bad events occur.

Additionally, your insurance may respond if a neighbor has a leak that damages your unit. Your insurance company would likely repair the damages to your unit and then subrogate, or pursue the other unit’s insurance for reimbursement.

What type policy do I need?

The condominium insurance policy you need is the HO-6 or condo-owner’s policy. The HO-6 policy covers your interior walls and your personal property within your unit. Here is a breakdown of HO-6 coverages:

  • Coverage A – Dwelling: The value you and your agent determine is sufficient to rebuild or replace.
  • Coverage C – Personal Property: Covers your personal property such as clothing, furniture, and electronics.
  • Coverage D – Loss of Use: Among other things, this covers you in case you must rent a temporary location in which to live, due to a covered loss. Usually set at 40 percent of Coverage A.
  • Coverage E – Personal Liability: Covers you if you are found to have been negligent under the law.
  • Coverage F – Medical Payments to Others: Provides “no-fault” coverage for minor medical expenses incurred by guests who suffer injuries on your property.

 

How much coverage do I need?

An experienced Florida or South Carolina insurance agent can help you best determine the level of coverage you need to protect yourself in the event of a small loss or widespread damage after a hurricane.

Our Frontline Insurance agents will review the local market value of your home, and enter variables like type of construction and square footage into a sophisticated computer program that helps to determine the replacement cost value of your unit. The amount of coverage you choose is critical, because the worst possible time to recognize you are underinsured is after a loss.

Additionally, your agent will question you about any special personal belongings you may have, for example, fine arts, guns, coin collections, or antiques. You must insure these special collections with care so that you have the comprehensive coverage you need in case of a loss.

What about special exposures?

Many Southeastern homeowners rent their homes to others for short or long periods. This is critical information because you need to make changes to your condominium policy to ensure that you have coverage when you rent or lease your unit to others, even family members. If you are considering shopping for condo-owner’s coverage, contact a Frontline Insurance agent in your community for more information.

Please remember that the comments contained in this blog are general in nature and that coverage under any specific policy of insurance will depend upon the terms and conditions of such policy.