Understanding Insurance: Condo Owners

Congratulations! Now What?

Your first home purchase can be one of the most exciting times of your life… but it can also be the most stressful. If you’ve rented before, you’re probably used to decorating and setting up utilities, internet, and cable, but this might be your first experience with homeowner’s insurance. 


If you don’t know anything about condo insurance, deciding which type to buy can be daunting. Before making any decisions, though, owners should understand what they need to insure, and what the strata corporation’s policy covers.


Strata Vs. Owner


Generally, the strata insures all common property in your building – places like the lobby, hallways, staircases, and elevators. The strata’s policy will also often cover original fixtures and fittings, like the cabinets, countertops, and floor coverings in your unit.


However, this coverage does not extend to improvements like hardwood floor renovations, new countertops, or internal structural changes, as the owner of the unit is responsible for those. 


The owner of the condo is also responsible for insuring all of their personal belongings. These belongings include all contents of your condo or storage unit, such as furniture, appliances, clothing, jewelry, and electronics. Setting up personal insurance for these assets is quite straightforward, as well as affordable.


Better Safe Than Sorry 


Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned owner, it’s always best to confirm the details of your strata’s insurance policy. According to Sarah Thompson, vice-president, marketing and real estate at HUB International Insurance Brokers, “It’s important to note the strata’s deductibles, as the unit owner may be charged back the deductible if they are found responsible for a loss that originates from their unit.”


Once you have this information, you can move forward with your insurance. If you’re a first-time buyer, it’s a good idea to consult an insurance broker to help you navigate your options.


Consultation Checklist


When consulting with a broker, follow this checklist provided by the Condominium Home Owners Association of BC and ask the following questions:


What’s the limit of coverage offered to me for the improvements in my unit?
If my unit is uninhabitable due to an insured loss, what amount of coverage is provided for the additional living expenses I incur?
If the strata suffers a loss that originates from my unit, what amount of coverage does my policy provide if I’m charged back the strata’s deductible? (Bring a copy of the strata’s insurance coverage with you so your broker can see the strat’s policy deductibles)
If there’s damage in my unit to original strata property, (floors, ceilings, walls, but not improvements and betterments of personal property), and the damage falls below the strata corporation’s deductible, what amount of coverage does my policy provide to repair this damage?
What’s my limit of coverage provided for assessments made necessary by the strata’s earthquake deductible?

Get ready for your first home with the Home Buyer’s Completion Checklist and Tips for First Time Home Buyers.


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