Insurance Considerations for Condominium Owners

Last Updated:
September 17, 2019
Karen Spencer
Time to Read:

Condos are becoming a popular option in Ottawa, especially with first-time homebuyers and downsizers. As a result, condo sales in Ottawa are expected to grow over the next several years as demand increases and condo developments have yet to catch up.

Renters insurance, homeowner’s insurance, and condo insurance all share some characteristics, but condo insurance is unique because of the relationship of individual owners and condo corporations.

A condo corporation’s insurance policy is designed to complement individual condo policies. This is one of the benefits of owning a condo versus a single-family or freehold home: much of the risk towards the buildings and property is shared among the owners, while the interior of each unit is insured by each owner.

In general, condo corporations have done a great job of advising owners of the gaps in coverage and what is covered by the corporation’s policy, but there remains a lot of uncertainty.

Each condo corporation has a set of by-laws and these differ from one condo building to the next. These bylaws are often the result of owner concerns but are sometimes directed by what insurance companies require to help lower risk on the property.

Here are the insurance coverages to consider as a condo owner:

Third-Party Liability

Liability insurance will protect condo owners from lawsuits relating to the condo. If you experience water damage from an overflowing bathtub and it affects another unit, you would likely be responsible for the damage to both your unit and any other units affected.

Contents or Personal Property

Anything in your unit that is not affixed will be covered by your condo insurance. This includes any clothing, furniture, appliances, bicycles, etc. Knowing the total value of your contents is vital to ensuring you have enough coverage should you suffer a loss. Limits may vary from $10,000 to $50,000 or even more.

Also, we encourage our customers to include replacement cost to ensure if contents need to be replaced, they are done so at the cost of replacing the item and not it’s current “value”.

Improvements and Betterments

Any built-in features added or upgraded by you or previous owners. The value of the Improvements and Betterments is based on what was added after the basic unit finishings.

Additional Living Expenses

Provides funds for the household to live elsewhere while your unit is being repaired after an insured loss.

Loss Assessment

Coverage for your share of any special assessment resulting from an insured loss. This may include the condo corp's deductibles or when a loss exceeds the coverage limit.

Contingent Coverage

If the condo corporation's policy is insufficient, this covers your individual unit.

Having an insurance broker on your team is the best way to protect your condo. Ask us for a review.