Navigators Insurance Brokers specializes in developing a condo insurance policy to suit your particular needs. Whether it’s a new purchase or you have questions about property assessment after making improvements, or “betterments” to your unit, an insurance policy needs to be properly worded by specialists in this area.
Having adequate protection for your condo, its belongings and the building in which your unit it located is essential. Just like owning a house, your property is a major investment of money and time. While it’s not mandatory in Ontario that you carry condo insurance, it may be required as part of your purchase agreement.
What Are the Different Types of Condo Insurance?
- Comprehensive Coverage. It basically covers the contents of your home. As long as your claims aren’t specifically excluded, you’re good to go. It doesn’t however cover uninsurable perils.
- Broad Coverage. This typically covers the main perils of insurance like fire, lightning and theft. This is a basic coverage that will not cover what is stated in a comprehensive policy.
- Standard Coverage. It offers very basic protection that only covers the perils that are specifically covered in your policy. Any additional financial risk of losses would have to be borne by the policy holder.
These basic insurance packages are protection for your unit and its belongings only. There are, however, other concerns that need to be looked at. After all, you’re not only responsible for your personal unit but for the building in which it’s located as well.
Condo Insurance and Assessment Coverage
There is a distinction between the kind of “assessment” that looks to rate the worth of your condo unit and the kind of “assessment” that is meant when referring to the building as a whole. While a part of your insurance agreement addresses your personal unit and its belongings, further wording is needed to deal with the amount you may owe if something happens to the complex.
If something unforeseen happens to the building, all owners are assessed for the damages. This type of home insurance coverage is meant to cover the fairly large-scale events like roof damage (in a hurricane), or water damage (that goes beyond the pre-existing coverage). Remaining costs are assessed as per the condo owners’ liability. So in other words, once your condo association’s insurance reaches its limit, you’re liable for expenses beyond that. That is to say, you’re liable for a portion as will be the other condo owners in your complex.
In other words, you are partially responsible for shared, building expenses. This could also include damage done to common areas, storage spaces, parking lots, attic spaces, the list goes on.
Condo Insurance and Betterments
When assessing your individual unit, you also need to take into account the increase in value of your unit if you’ve done renovations to it. Perhaps, as the new owner, you have added or installed upgrades that have increased the value of your property. These issues should be addressed as part of your condo insurance application.
Called “betterments”, it applies to anything you do to make your space “better,” which subsequently increases its value. Things like:
- New granite counter tops
- Hard wood flooring
- Kitchen cabinets
- Fixture upgrades
- Extra security systems
In most cases, there is a limit to the amount of betterments you can claim. This limit was set when you first signed your insurance policy. And perhaps you haven’t looked at it since you moved in.
This is why it’s good to look at your policy each and every year and ask yourself if there’s anything new that’s not being covered by the original policy. Even if there was a cap originally placed on the amount allowed for an owner’s improvements, that doesn’t mean that you can’t renegotiate and add that sort of protection right now. In fact, the cost is remarkably affordable and can be added on to your existing condo insurance policy for as little as $60 a year.
This is certainly more attractive than having to pay out of pocket for a granite countertop that wasn’t added to your policy. Without a re-assessment of your unit, this is exactly the sort of thing that can happen.
Revisit Your Condo Insurance Policy Regularly
A property’s value can increase due to a number of factors. This is why a full assessment of your condo’s value must be done regularly. This is what you should be discussing with your condo insurance broker. Because of the rising cost and value of certain items, you may not be aware to what value the improvements you’ve made are. And these are risks that are significant when it comes to having to replace these items.
Talk to a broker today to discuss the many areas that condo owners face risk and the many products available to lessen that risk. More than a home, your condo is an investment that must be protected at the full extent of its value.