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Condominium Insurance: Who is Responsible for What?

When insuring a single family home, it is obvious who holds the responsibility for the property. But condominiums, with their entangled mix of public and private spaces, make determining who should be held accountable much trickier. When it comes to arranging for condominium insurance, who is responsible for what?

The Responsibilities of the Condominium Association

By and large, the condominium association is responsible for maintaining insurance on the building's exterior, meaning its roof, exterior walls and foundation. The condominium association also typically assumes the responsibility for any of the common areas like public hallways, swimming pools, tennis courts, gyms, locker rooms, gardens and clubhouses.

The Responsibilities of the Condominium Unit Owners

Generally, the owners of each condominium unit must secure the necessary insurance for the interior of their unit. This coverage should include the walls, ceilings and floors, as well as any of their respective finishes like paint, tile, hardwood or carpeting. The unit's electrical fixtures, cabinets, doors, windows, major appliances, and kitchen and bathroom fixtures should also be covered by the unit owner's insurance policy.

Owners are responsible for insuring all of their own personal possessions, too. They should purchase appropriate coverage for things like computers and other electronics, clothing and jewelry, furniture, and house hold goods like pots and pans.

Condominium unit owners may need to reassess their insurance needs after making any major alterations or improvements to their units. These changes may affect the level of coverage they require.

It is also important for condominium unit-owners to maintain their own personal liability insurance.

Owners of condominium units should always read their specific by-laws carefully because responsibilities for condominium insurance can vary from one condominium association to the next. Reading the bylaws will allow unit owners to pinpoint their responsibilities and ensure they have the proper coverage when purchasing condominium insurance.