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Generally, a condominium unit is owned by a single person or family. Whereas the building, and all its amenities, are jointly owned by all the units. In insurance-speak, you’re coverage responsibility is for your unit and your personal liability. Common areas such as the elevators, the lobby, as well as the building itself is covered by the condominium corporation’s insurance. The corporation will also likely have coverage for certain parts of your unit that are core to the construction of the building, like your windows. However, the corporation’s insurance doesn’t cover everything, much like your own insurance, there will be limits.
A typical comprehensive condominium insurance policy includes coverage for your contents which protects your personal property inside your unit. Everything from your furniture and clothing to your TV and hardwood floors, up to a specified amount. It also covers your liability should you be responsible for damage to someone else’s property (for example, a neighbouring unit) or cause an injury to someone in your unit. Personal liability coverage will protect you against claims up to a specified amount. It also helps to cover any additional living expenses, in case you’re forced to temporarily relocate in the event of an insured loss - i.e. damage within your unit or damage within a neighbouring unit that makes it unsafe to be in your unit. If you’ve chosen to rent your condo, and your tenant unexpectedly moves out, it will cover the lost rental income for a period of time.
When you own a condominium unit, you also own a share of the building and property itself. Your condominium fees may cover maintenance, utilities, and a portion will also go to paying for the building insurance. Through the condominium corporation, all the owners bear joint responsibility for its insurance. For example, if a visitor slips and falls injuring themselves in a shared area like the parking lot, the condo corporation insurance would be used and not your own.
Condominium insurance is not necessarily mandatory, but most condominium buildings will require its owners to have condominium insurance. If you take out a mortgage to purchase the condominium, then insurance would be required as a stipulation of the mortgage. Remember, you are not covered by the buildings insurance.
Make a complete list of damaged or stolen items. Call your insurance provider as soon as you can and ask about what you’re entitled to, especially if you can’t live in your condominium due to the damage. A claims adjuster will be in contact with you to fill out a proof of loss form. Ask about using your own contractor, or if you have to use one they’ll supply, to repair the property.
While not mandatory, insurance companies like to do credit checks before selling insurance to a condominium owner. This is because insurers see a relationship between someone’s credit rating and the likelihood that they’ll make a claim. If you have a good credit rating, you might receive a discount on your premiums as the insurer won’t expect too many claims on the policy.
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