As the owner of a condominium, you have different insurance coverage needs than homeowners and renters. In fact, your coverage needs could even be different from someone else who owns a similar condo in the same town. The key is figuring out where your condo association’s master insurance policy leaves off so that you can determine where your personal policy should begin. Here at Mark Leonard Insurance, we know how important it is to get your private coverage right so that you can avoid potential shortfalls in your insurance protection.
We offer condo insurance policies that protect you against a wide range of potential hazards and perils. Although your exact coverage may vary, a typical policy usually pays for damages caused by:
- Fire and Smoke
- Theft and Vandalism
- Falling Objects
- And more
In addition to these perils, you may also be able to add additional coverage for other hazards, such as earthquake damages and sewer backup. Flood damage is excluded from coverage, but we can help you find a stand-alone flood insurance policy if you feel the need to protect your condo and belongings against groundwater damages.
Types of Condo Insurance Coverage
Wisconsin condo insurance policies usually include several different types of coverage. Each is different in the types of claims they cover, but together they serve to provide you with comprehensive protection against unexpected financial loss. Your policy may include:
Structural Property Coverage
Most condo owners are part of a condo association, which is made up of member residents who share responsibility for certain common areas in the building. Those areas are usually covered against structural damages with a master insurance policy, for which a portion of your association dues helps pay for.
The master policy may also extend to cover the rebuilding or restoration of your condo, although the extent of that coverage can vary. Some policies cover the full restoration of a condo to its original construction, whereas others only cover the rebuilding of exteriors walls – no paint, fixtures, flooring, cabinets, or special finishes included.
When you purchase your condo insurance, you will need structural property coverage that covers the structural portion of your unit that is not covered by the condo association’s master insurance policy. At Mark Leonard Insurance, we can help you figure out what is and is not included in your master policy so that you can begin building more personalized private condo insurance that fits your needs.
Personal Property Insurance
When you purchase your condo insurance, you’ll need to decide on your personal property coverage limits. This is the coverage that compensates you for the loss of the things you own, from your furniture and electronics to your apparel and shoes. We recommend taking inventory of your actual possessions, sorting them by category (i.e. fine jewelry, kitchenware), and then consulting with your independent agent about how much coverage you might need in the event of a loss. In some cases, it may be necessary to schedule extra coverage in your policy for high-value items that may have only limited protection under your standard personal belongings coverage.
In addition to choosing a personal property coverage amount, you will also need to decide whether you want actual cash value (ACV) coverage or replacement value coverage. The difference could means thousands of dollars in your settlement after a loss. ACV coverage is usually offered by default and only covers damaged or stolen items for their depreciated value. If you opt for replacement coverage instead, you would receive a check from the insurer for the cost of replacing your old items with brand new ones.
Whether someone slips and falls on a spilled drink at your annual New Year’s party or your child accidentally knocks another child off the monkey bars on the playground, there are endless scenarios that could lead to litigation. If you are served with an bodily injury or property damage lawsuit because of an incident that occurs in your condo or as a result of negligent actions, your condo insurance liability coverage can help pay for your legal fees, court costs, and any judgments or settlements against you – all up to the limits in your policy.
If you have adequate liability limits, you may not pay any out-of-pocket expenses during litigation. If your limits are too low, however, you could be held financially responsible for any expenses and excess damages not covered by your condo insurance. Instead of risking a shortfall that could lead to asset liquidation or wage garnishment, we recommend consulting with an independent agent to discuss ways to manage your financial risk vulnerability.
Medical Payments Coverage
Medical payments coverage compensates guests in your home for the medical bills associated with any injuries they acquire during their visit. Although medical payments coverage limits are typically low, they do not require establishment of liability. In other words, the coverage pays regardless of fault, which could help deter a potential lawsuit.
Temporary Living Expenses
If your condo is destroyed by a disaster, you may need to relocate to a hotel or temporary rental unit until the condo is restored or rebuilt. During that time, you may have to pay hotel charges or rent on top of your usual mortgage. Temporary displacement coverage helps pay for these extra living expenses, as well as things like Laundromat fees and restaurant meals if you lose access to a kitchen, washer, and dryer.
If your condo association’s master policy falls short of covering property damages or liability, any excess may be divided up and levied against residents. Condo insurance can include coverage for these loss assessments, minimizing your risk of facing an unexpected expense.
Why Choose an Independent Agent?
If you are in the market for a new condo insurance policy, be sure to shop independent. At Mark Leonard Insurance, we understand the unique needs of condo owners and are committed to building personalized policies with comprehensive protection. We will shop and compare rates on your behalf, as well as identify potential money-savings discounts for things like bundling condo and auto coverage or installing a monitored security system in your unit.
For more information about Wisconsin condo insurance or to request your free quote, contact our office today.