Condo Insurance in Massachusetts

What is Condo Insurance?

Condominium owners have unique insurance needs, because they own the unit they live in but share common spaces with fellow condo owners. Condo insurance is designed to meet the unique insurance requirements of condominium owners in Massachusetts.

Condo insurance is similar to homeowners insurance, but it’s designed to meet the particular insurance needs of condominium owners.

Most condo policies insure what a condo owner actually owns, which generally is their unit and personal belongings. The walls of a condo and common areas usually aren’t covered in a condo policy, because they’re typically the responsibility of the condo association and insured by the association’s master policy.

Condo policies also usually provide liability coverage, which may help pay legal costs and settlements associated with an accident that the policyholder is responsible for.

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What Parts of a Condo Does Condominium Insurance Cover?

A good condominium policy will cover what the condo association’s master policy doesn’t cover.

Some associations maintain “bare walls-in” masters policies, which typically only cover the walls of a condo (and sometimes its electrical and plumbing systems). These policies generally don’t cover anything inside a condominium’s walls.

Other associations have “all-in” or “single-unit” master policies, which provide more robust coverage. These policies usually cover the walls of a condo and the fixtures in it. The list of covered fixtures may include cabinets, countertops, appliances, wiring, plumbing, and carpet.

If an association has an all-in or single-unit master policy, condominium owners may only need a condo policy that covers their own belongings. When an association has a bare walls-in policy, owners should look for a condo policy that provides coverage for cabinets, appliances, wiring, plumbing, and flooring so they don’t have any gaps in their coverage.

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Who in Massachusetts Should Get Condominium Insurance?

Anyone who owns a condominium in Massachusetts should consider getting a condo policy. Lenders often require condo owners to maintain coverage, so anyone with a mortgage on their condo likely has to have insurance. Even people who aren’t required to have a policy ought to consider one, though, because few people can afford to replace their belongings, rebuilt the interior of their condo, or fight a liability lawsuit without some financial assistance.

What is an HO-6 Condo Policy?

Within the insurance industry, homeowners (including renters and condo) insurance policies are often identified with a code. HO-6 is the code generally used for basic condo insurance policies. While HO-6 policies might not be completely identical, they usually have similar protections.

What is HO-32 Unit Owner Special Coverage?

HO-32 unit owner special coverage is an endorsement that can be added to most HO-6 condo policies. This endorsement normally broadens an HO-6 policy from a “named perils” basis to “open perils” coverage, which generally offers more robust protection. Named perils coverage usually only covers the risks explicitly mentioned in the policy, while open perils coverage typically covers any risks that aren’t excluded within the policy’s paperwork.

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What is HO-35 Loss Assessment Coverage?

HO-35 loss assessment coverage is another protection that can be added to most HO-6 condo policies. This coverage is typically designed to protect against the possibility of being responsible for a claim against a condo association’s master policy. If a claim is filed against a master policy, the condo owners may be assessed a special assessment to collect the policy's deductible. Loss assessment coverage may pay any such special assessment.

Do Condominium Owners Who Rent Their Units Need a Condo Policy?

Landlords are exposed to risk that they ought to insure against no matter what type of dwelling they rent out. This is true regardless of whether a landlord has a single-family home or a condominium.

Condo owners who lease out units they own usually need property coverage for their unit and liability coverage for themselves. The property coverage is usually obtained through a condo policy. Liability coverage might be provided by a different homeowners policy, the condo policy or another policy.

Additionally, condo owners should encourage tenants renting their condo to acquire their own renters insurance policy.

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What Types of Exclusions and Limits Do Condo Policies Have?

Every condo policy has its own terms, conditions, exclusions and limits, which is why it’s important to read each policy’s paperwork carefully. Nevertheless, there are some liability risks and types of property that many condo policies either exclude from coverage or limit coverage for.

Some liability risks that are often mentioned in exclusions and limits include accidents relating to:

  • Recreational vehicles (e.g. snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, mopeds, etc.)
  • Boats (especially ones over a certain size or with a certain size engine)
  • Home offices (and the items kept in them)

Some types of property that often receive no or limited coverage include:

  • Furs and jewelry
  • Cash, securities and manuscripts
  • Fine arts and antiques
  • Pewterware and silverware
  • Firearms
  • Business property

How Can Condominium Owners Find Condominium Insurance?

When shopping for condominium insurance, it’s important to carefully review both the condo association’s master policy and any condo policy that’s being considered to make sure there won’t be any coverage gaps. Without knowledge of the technical terms used in the insurance industry, doing this can be challenging. Therefore, condo owners should contact an independent insurance agent who can help them review their association’s master policy and all available condo policies. An agent will have the expertise to find a condo policy that complements an association’s master policy well.

At Scotti Insurance, we know how important properly insuring your condo is. It’s your home, where you live and where your possessions are. Let us help you make sure your Massachusetts condo is properly protected with a robust condo insurance policy.

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