Whether you buy a single-family home or a condo in Nashville, you’re a homeowner, pure and simple. But that doesn’t mean your experiences and needs are the same.
As a single-family homeowner, your responsibilities run from the roof to the foundation, so your insurance coverage needs to be just as broad.
Condo owners are a little different. Everything inside your unit is yours to maintain and repair, but the shared parts of the property — anything from the lobby to the plumbing that runs from the street — fall under the HOA’s purview.
That means you need a more specific home-insurance option, tailored to what a condo owner needs to protect.
The difference between condo and standard home insurance
What you don’t need, as a condo owner, is an insurance policy that reaches as broadly as standard homeowners insurance does.
Your condo association will have a master insurance policy that covers the whole structure, including the exterior and common areas. (You contribute to it via the HOA fees you send in every month.) So you don’t need individual coverage that’d rebuild up to the roof in the event of a catastrophe. You mostly need to fill in the gaps inside your doors.
The good news: You’ll most likely get to pay a lot less for your individual insurance policy than a single-family homeowner does. (The part of the building inside the walls of your unit is much cheaper to insure than an entire structure.)
Condo owners and single-family homeowners do have a few particular insurance needs in common:
— liability coverage, to protect you and your assets if, say, someone was injured inside your home
— coverage for the belongings inside your home
Condo insurance (or an HO-6 policy) covers those needs for condo owners, taking into account what the master policy already has covered.
What an HOA master insurance policy does and doesn't cover
Master HOA policies can differ pretty considerably. Some completely stop where your walls start. Others go little further.
With many new condo development policies I come across these days, the HOA would cover a basic unit rebuild, but only to the original finishes. So if you’ve made any improvements or upgrades to your unit, your own condo policy outside of the HOA will come into play and be particularly valuable.
Say you’ve added stone countertops and put in hardwood floors, and a tree falls on your building… you’d likely be back in formica and vinyl without good condo coverage.
Also worth noting: Condo insurance policies can help if damage to your unit leaves you without a place to stay, covering temporary living expenses too.
What to know when you’re shopping for condo insurance
Like home-insurance shoppers, you want to make sure:
— you have adequate liability coverage, especially if your assets are considerable
— you’ve done a complete and accurate inventory of your property, and documented all your valuable stuff (with photos/serial numbers where you can)
— if you have particularly valuable belongings, like art or jewelry, you explore supplemental insurance (like a personal articles policy) to get that adequately covered
— you fully examine your HOA’s master insurance policy, to make sure you’re clear on where specific gaps are, and to be sure you’re comfortable with the level of coverage there too.
Also good to know: In all likelihood, your condo policy dwelling limits will be much, much lower than the price you paid for the condo. Don’t fret — much of the value of your condo is in the location and the structure itself, not from the studs in inside your unit.
An insurance broker and real estate lawyer can help with questions you have about the needs and policies you’ll be dealing with as a condo owner. And it’s always worthwhile to ask a lot of questions. This is your home, and a huge investment. Covering all your bases is just smart.
Need help sorting out condo insurance coverage in Nashville? I’d be glad to get you some quotes, and answer any questions you might have. Just give Tucker Coverage a call, or send an email.
Any other insurance-related topics you’d like to see tackled on our blog? I’d love to hear from you.