Owning a condo is much different than owning a home, since you do not own the building itself or the land it is in. Condominium complexes have a homeowner’s association that handles the grounds keeping and maintenance of the structures, and they have their own master insurance policy to cover damages to the exterior or accidents that happen in common areas or outside on the property, though you still have to have your own individual insurance policy for the interior of your home.
Sometimes when your home suffers damage, it may be unclear whose insurance policy should be covering the damages, your condo insurance or the HOA’s. These are some of the things that each policy covers, to help you decide which insurance company to file your claim with.
These are some of the things you would file a claim for with your condo insurance policy, not the HOA’s.
Damage to the Interior
You own your unit itself, so you are responsible for any insurance claims that regard the interior of your unit. However, some HOAs will have an “all in” policy that will cover things that were in your unit originally, like the cabinets, lighting, electrical, and plumbing. If they have a “bare walls” policy, it means that you need to cover your living space yourself.
While the HOA will cover injuries that happen in the parking lot and other common areas, if a guest gets hurt in your unit, it is your insurance policy that will cover their medical bills.
If your condo gets broken into and your property is stolen, it is your insurance that will be in charge of covering those losses.
Your Condo is Uninhabitable
If there is a fire or other significant loss that makes it so you cannot live in your condo for a time, your insurance company should cover your living expenses.
Damage Exceeds the HOA’s Policy Limit
Let’s say there was major hail damage to the roof of your building, and it will cost more to replace it than your HOA’s policy will cover. In that case, they may ask each owner of the units in the affected building to chip in. You can ask your condo insurance company to cover the difference.
HOA’s Master Insurance Policy
These are the things that your HOA’s policy should cover. It is important to obtain a copy of the HOA’s policy before you buy insurance, so your agent can explain to you what all the HOA will cover and what coverage you will need.
Damage to the Exterior
They are usually in charge of any damages to the exterior, since they are the owners of the exterior. So, if the roof sustains major hail damage and needs to be replaced, it is the HOA’s policy that will cover that.
Damage to Common Area
The HOA is usually in charge of common areas, which includes the hallways and elevators, parking, gym, and pool.
Injuries in Common Areas
If a guest trips and falls down the stairs outside of your unit, the HOA’s liability should cover the medical bills in the event of a lawsuit.
There are some instances when it may be unclear if your condo insurance or the HOA’s policy should be covering the damages to your condo. If, for example, your roof leaks and causes water damage to the interior of your condo, whose insurance covers that? The HOA insurance will cover the roof itself, but usually it will be your condo insurance policy that will cover the water damage to your interior.
If a pipe bursts in your upstairs neighbor’s unit and it leaks into your unit and causes damages, it is both your insurance and your neighbor’s insurance that will cover those damages.