Condominium Insurance Explained
Yes your Condominium or Strata has insurance, but it’s not going to cover you! Here’s what you need to know about condo owners’ insurance.
In British Columbia, the word ‘strata’ is synonymous with ‘condominium’. Strata unit ownership is typically defined by the divided by the walls, ceiling and floors within the building and includes any improvements to your unit.
As an owner, you have title to your own unit, but you also enjoy a share in the common property, amenities such as a secure lobby entrance, a rooftop patio, swimming pool, parking garage and other features.
The definition of what the unit owner owns depends on the condominium or strata declaration.
The Definition of Common Property
Common property is defined as any area that is available for use by all condo owners. Some examples of common property may include the lobby, elevators, gardens, gym, swimming pool, and other recreational facilities.
Unit owners share the expense of maintaining common areas by paying monthly maintenance fees. Limited access common property – such as a balcony or storage locker – maybe common property or a common element even though a unit owner has exclusive use.
If my condominium corporation has insurance, why do I need it?
Your condominium (or strata) corporation’s insurance policy may cover insured losses to the condominium building and common property but it DOES NOT cover your personal items and contents, liability, or any improvements you make to your unit.
What if your unit and belongings sustain damage due to a fire? What if you are held liable for personal injuries sustained by a visitor who slips and falls in your home? There’s also the possibility of damage (fire, water, etc.) as the result of activities in a neighbouring unit. While these scenarios may seem unlikely, condominium insurance would typically provide coverage in these circumstances.
Condominium insurance is more than just a policy protecting your personal contents and potential liability; it represents peace of mind.
Have questions about your coverage? Speak with your insurance representative to ensure you have adequate coverage and limits that reflect the value of your real property interests and personal property and the cost to replace it.
Condominium insurance differs from that of conventional homes. Coverage is available under two separate policies; that of each unit owner and that of the condominium corporation.
Typical Unit Owner Coverage:
You can anticipate that your condominium or strata policy may include coverage for:
- Your personal property such as clothing, appliances and furniture, as well as items stored in your locker
- Additional living expenses, in case you can’t live in your unit in the event of an insured loss in certain circumstances
- Your personal liability for any bodily injury or property damage unintentionally caused to others.
When you purchase a condominium unit you are required to purchase individual contents coverage to protect not only your personal property, but for legal obligations to others as well.
Be sure to speak with your insurance representative about the possibility of optional coverages that might be beneficial: increased unit improvement coverage; contingency coverage if your condo corporations’s insurance is insufficient; loss assessment coverage; condo or strata directors’ and officers’ liability coverage; and, in some parts of British Columbia prone to earthquake, earthquake coverage provides for any losses or damage due to actual shaking of the earth.
Your coverage needs for condo insurance will depend on the cost to replace your personal property and the amount you’ve spent towards any enhancements and improvements, if applicable.
Typical Condo Corporation’s Insurance Coverage:
- The buildings shown on the condominium plan.
- Common property such as hallways, stairs, roof, pools, garages, driveways, etc.
- Fixtures built or installed as part of the original or standard construction such as floor and wall coverings, electrical and plumbing fixtures.
- Condominium assets such as furniture, equipment, etc.
- Liability of the condominium corporation for claims of property damage and bodily injury suffered by others.
Have questions about Condominium or Strata insurance? We can help!