Condo vs. Homeowner’s Insurance

Condo Insurance operates a little differently than Homeowners Insurance. Since most condo associations in Florida are bound by Florida Statute 718, the condo association will obtain coverage for the Building and common areas. Unit owners are generally only able to insure the interior “livable” portion of their units, not including structural elements of the Building. You may sometimes hear condo insurance referred to as “contents-only” or “walls-in” coverage. These terms can be misleading, so let’s clarify by giving some examples.

Condo policies include coverage for non-structural items as follows:
  • Finished flooring (tile, carpet, wood plank)
  • Moldings (crown, baseboard, window casing)
  • Wall finishes (paint, texture, wallpaper)
  • Countertops
  • Cabinets (built-in shelving, vanities, entertainment centers)
  • Permanently installed fixtures including lighting and window treatments
  • Permanently installed appliances such as washers, dryers and hot water heaters

Removable appliances that simply slide in place and plug into the wall are known as “personal property” and are covered under section C of the condo insurance policy. Other items that fall into this category are furniture, accessories, clothing, and electronics. Think of personal property in general terms as items that would fall out if the unit were to be flipped upside down. Certain collectibles, high valued items, and jewelry will not be covered unless they are specifically listed and extra premium is paid. Building elements such as drywall, studs, electrical wiring, and air conditioning systems are all the condo association’s responsibility and should be covered under the commercial property policy maintained by the condo association.

Let’s look at a claim example to demonstrate the division of coverage between a condo association’s policy and a unit owner’s policy. In this example, a kitchen water pipe suddenly bursts causing damage to cabinets, flooring, and walls. Since the damage was extensive, certain portions of the wall need to be completely replaced. The unit owner’s insurance will pay to remediate and repair cabinets and flooring. It will also pay to repaint and retexture walls, but NOT replace the damaged portion of the walls. The association will be responsible for replacing those sections of drywall that were heavily damaged and leave unfinished for paint and texture by the unit owner’s insurance (a clear division of coverage).

These policies work in tandem, with one picking up where the other left off. It’s important to notify the condo association when filing a claim to ensure that each party can work together quickly. Many times, the condo association’s policy will have a high deductible and may not trigger coverage under its commercial property policy. But, the condo association is still responsible for making those repairs.

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