Condo Owner Insurance vs House Insurance: 7 Differences You Have to Know

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condow owner insurance vs house insuranceThe words “home insurance” is an umbrella term that covers single family homes, condos, cottages, seasonal homes and more. Don’t be fooled. Not all insurance is created equally – especially when it comes to condo owner insurance and single family home insurance. Today we’ll look at seven key differences between these two types of insurance.

Condo owners, this is information you need to know. If you are a new condominium owner and look for condo insurance coverage, this info will come in hand.

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FactorHouse InsuranceCondo Insurance
1. PriceA house insurance policy can easily cost double for the same square footage as a condo since it covers more risks (e.g. your house, gardener, pool etc).You’ll pay less for condo owner insurance because you are protecting a portion of the building, not the whole thing. Your property management company typically insures the common areas, roof, etc., while you are responsible for your “portion” or unit. According to Daniel Mirkovic from SquareOne Insurance, the average personal condo insurance policy in Canada costs between $27 and $33 per month, but can be as low as $20 a month.
Find out more about Condo Insurance rates in Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton.
2. Policies involved in the coverageA policy on a typical single family home has one componentCondo insurance has two components. First is your personal insurance. This covers the interior of your unit. Second is the commercial condo policy which is put in place by the condo corporation. This covers common areas (pool, lobby, corridors). Part of your condo fees support this commercial condo policy – but it is still vital to have your own insurance in place. If the interior of your condo is damaged, or you have a liability claim (someone slips in your kitchen), you are liable, not the corporation. Likewise, not all condo corporations cover the yard. You may be responsible for keeping a townhouse condo pathway free of ice and snow, which, again, increases your personal liability. Find out more about split of responsibilities for condo insurance
3. Building coverageWith house insurance, the structure and the building envelope are covered by the policy.With condo insurance, the commercial policy covers the majority of the building envelope. If your windows are damaged, front door vandalized, roof shingles blown away or parking pad impacted, this usually falls under the commercial policy. However, if theft occurs from your locker, your stove burns down part of your kitchen or you are robbed, your personal condo insurance policy takes the hit.
4. Other structuresIf you have a freehold with several additional buildings located on it e.g. a separate standing garage, a shed or a small storage building, these can be covered under your house insurance policy. Your condo insurance policy does not cover anything outside of your condo unit with the exception of your locker. Make sure, though, that you let you insurance company know that you have a locker to be included into your policy.
5. Adjacent areaYou can add riders to your home insurance policy to cover landscaping, gardens and even trees.Your personal condo insurance only covers your unit.
6. Amount of coverageYour house insurance covers contents, house upgrades and liability. Insurers are also concerned with the value of the physical house and how much it will cost to rebuild (e.g. could be $250,000 to $500,000 coverage required to clean up the debris and rebuild it from scratch). Only your contents, unit upgrades and liability can be covered by your condo insurance policy. That is why you see lower coverage limits of $100,000 for a condo.
7. Claim processingIt’s a little easier to process a house insurance claim as there is just one owner – you (though some claims can be really expensive e.g. in case of a sewer back up)Condo insurance can be more complicated if a claim involves the unit owner and the condo corporation. There are simply more details to sort out. E.g. leakages through a balcony door or pipe bursts in the wall can be complicated claims to sort out.

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While there are several key differences between condo and home owners insurance, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing your preferred place to live. The important thing is to make sure you have the right protection in place whether you are enjoying the convenience of a condo or the pride of single home ownership.

Remember, every condo corporation is different. You must know what they cover and what’s up to you to cover. This process involves a good review of the condo documents and insurance policies.

Need help deciphering your condo coverage? Worried that you are overpaying? Not sure what is covered and what is your responsibility? InsurEye will help with a custom condo insurance quote. Your condo insurance rates could be as low as $15-$20 per month for the coverage you need – so you can enjoy condo living knowing you are fully protected.

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