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When it comes to protecting the place you live and the things you own, it’s important to specify just what kind of abode you have. You might think that home insurance covers every kind of dwelling, but that’s not exactly the case. What does home insurance cover? And what does condo insurance cover? We’ll dig into the differences here. 

Do you need home insurance for a condo?

You should have insurance for your condo, but owners should opt for condo insurance specifically. That lends the question — what’s the difference?

Home insurance is a type of property insurance that protects a private residence and its contents. Examples of homes include detached, semi-detached or row houses. Coverage typically extends to surrounding structures on the property, including fences, sheds and garages.

Condo insurance is a type of property insurance that protects a specific unit and its contents within a building often shared by other homeowners and/or tenants. Common areas such as a lobby, elevators, swimming pool or a parking garage are typically insured by the condo association as part of a master insurance policy. Some condo building coverages includes items in each unit, e.g. carpets, cabinets, appliances.

Difference in home vs. condo insurance coverage

Most home insurance policies will cover:

  • Damage to your home or total loss
  • Damage, theft or loss of your personal belongings
  • Personal property stolen from your vehicle
  • Injuries to others who visit your home or property
  • Living expenses if you’re unable to live in your home due to a loss covered by your policy (usually up to a maximum amount)
  • Accidental damage you cause to someone else’s property
  • Flood and sewer backup
  • Home sharing
  • Identity theft recovery

As for condo insurance, a standard policy will cover:

  • Damage to the inside structure of your unit
  • Damage, theft or loss of your personal belongings
  • Damage to improvements that you or others have made to your unit
  • Damage to other units or common areas caused by an accident in your unit, e.g., water damage in the unit below you if your bathtub overflows
  • Living expenses, to a maximum amount, if you’re unable to live in your condo unit because of a loss covered by your policy
  • Damage to common areas
  • Flood and sewer backup
  • Home improvements like new flooring and appliances or fixtures
  • Home sharing
  • Identity theft recovery

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Is condo insurance cheaper than home insurance?

The average condo insurance policy in Canada is costing its owner between $27 and $33/month. On the flip side, the average cost of home insurance is between $48 and $66/month. The difference is driven primarily by square footage, and the absence of other on-site buildings like sheds and garages.

Condo insurance covers damage to common spaces

You’re finally allowed to have a party again, and it’s a rager — so much so that one of your guests had a bit of trouble leaving your condo party room’s glass door the way she found it. It’ll be your responsibility to fix, it probably won’t be cheap — but that won’t be an issue if you have condo insurance.

Condo insurance covers damage to other suites

This is a major benefit for two reasons. First is obviously financial: money to cover the costs. The second is more nuanced, but equally important.

If you damage your neighbour’s place, you’ll want to enthusiastically volunteer to cover the repair because when the dust has settled and everything’s back to normal, you still have to live next to them. Feeling free and clear to say “Yup, it was an accident, but I got you covered,” and being able to follow through will go a long way.

Condo insurance covers capital improvements to condos

If you plan on renting out your condo, this is a fabulous benefit. It’ll keep improvements you make to your home covered, like renovations between tenants, or a facelift before you move in.

Buying condo insurance

Before you buy condo insurance, it’s important to know what is and isn’t covered as part of the condo corporation or building association’s policy. This will help you avoid wasting money on coverage you already have.

You’ll find answers in the master insurance policy you got with your condo. Chances are, you won’t find coverage for contents in individual condo units beyond interior walls, and maybe appliances. Some condo corporations also require owners to help pay for damage to common areas.

How to buy condo insurance 

Most home insurance providers offer condo insurance, as well. You can choose to buy from:

  • An insurance broker who sells insurance on behalf of a group of insurance companies. 
  • A direct writer or insurance agent who works for a single insurance company. 
  • A digital portal to many insurance companies that can all give you a quote right away. 

Not quite sure what you need?

We’ll crunch the numbers from both sides of the equation to find the home (or condo) insurance policy that makes the most sense for you. Get a quote today.

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