Published: February 2015
It may be the prospect of a carefree lifestyle that prompted you to buy a condo. The idea of taking it easy and letting a condo association manage the details of keeping the property running smoothly, such as removing snow and mowing the lawn, certainly has its appeal.
But you're not entirely absolved of all duties. There are some responsibilities — like getting insurance — that you need to take on to make sure your lifestyle is protected inside and out.
While your condo association likely has a master insurance policy that offers some protection for the building and common areas, it typically doesn't provide coverage for any of your personal belongings.
If something happened to your condo and your personal property was ruined, you'd likely be responsible for repairing or replacing your own furniture, clothes, electronics and other possessions.
That's where a condo owner's insurance policy can help.
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), a personal condo policy can help protect your personal property, structural improvements you make to your condo unit and additional living expenses if, for example, you are displaced after a fire in your unit. A typical condo policy also provides liability coverage.
So, how much personal property coverage do you need?
It all depends on the value of your belongings. One way to assess how much coverage you need is to figure out what it would cost to replace all your belongings. You can start by taking an inventory. Essentially, it's a catalog of all the contents in your place (with photos or video, and receipts, if available). Tools like apps and online estimators can help, or you can try a printed worksheet if you're more the analog type.
Once you have an idea of what your possessions are worth, you should talk with an insurance agent about your options for coverage and limits.
Coverage limits. First, the limits. Most policies have a limit, or a cap, of how much they'll typically cover on a loss. So, you'll want to review your inventory and the estimated value of all your possessions, and compare it with the personal property coverage limits on your condo policy to determine whether you are adequately protected.
It's worth noting that certain types of property, like jewelry, typically have their own unique limits. So, if you have expensive jewelry or other valuable items, the III says you might want to talk to your insurance agent about options for raising your limits on those items or categories of items.
Getting the right insurance in place for your possessions can help give you peace of mind and, what's more, it can grant you the luxury to sit back and think about all the other things that, as a condo owner, you won't have to do.