We get it. Finding the right insurance for your condo can be difficult. That’s why Square One created a new way that helps you comprehensively insure your possessions, as well as your condo-specific risks, in one simple policy.
Condo insurance policies usually start with coverage for personal belongings, personal liability, and additional living expenses that are incurred as a result of a covered claim. From there, most insurance companies split their additional condo coverage into two categories, each referring to a different set of needs:
Condominium additional protection provides coverage if your condo corporation decides to assess a portion of their deductible against your unit, or for shortfalls in the condo corporation’s master policy. It also helps with damage to the building, or common areas within parts of the building that you are responsible for.
Condominium improvements protects additional upgrades made by you or a previous owner. In the event of an insured loss, the condo corporation will only repair the unit to its original condition. This coverage protects the changes made since the original construction, and often relates to things like new countertops and renovated kitchens/ bathrooms. It also covers floors, glass and other fixtures that the law dictates you are responsible for insuring.
Great, but how do I decide what needs to be covered, and under which section to buy that coverage?
At Square One, we like to keep things simple.
Our standard condo insurance policy provides a foundation of coverage for your personal property, as well as additional living expenses in the event of a claim, and your personal & premises liability. It’s designed to cover you if your stuff is lost or damaged, if you accidentally injure someone or damage their property, or if someone is injured in your condo. Then, our optional Condo Owners Protection adds all-in-one coverage for improvements made to your home, additional protections pertaining to your condo corporation, and Condo Concierge Services. (See: What’s included with Condo Owner’s Protection for details.)
Whether or not you choose to include Condo Owners Protection, you have the option of adding a variety of additional coverages. These either cover things you own (bicycles, jewellery, etc.) or offer protection against specific situations that might result in your financial loss (identity theft, legal protection, etc.). For a full breakdown of available condo coverages, visit us at Square One Insurance for a free online quote.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a look at Condo Owner’s Protection in a little more detail.
Condo Concierge Service provides unlimited access to a team of professionally trained insurance experts. Provide them with a copy of your condo corporation’s insurance and they’ll help you understand the risks that you are exposed to, and recommend appropriate coverage limits.
You also get access to the Telephone Legal Advice hotline. This resource provides confidential general legal advice and information relating to any personal (non-automobile related) legal or tax problem. Having issues with a noisy neighbour? In a dispute over the use of common areas? Or maybe you’re just going through a divorce and need some legal advice. Help is at hand, with Square One’s Condo Concierge Services.
Countertops, bathrooms, kitchens and floors; all areas of the home that need occasional updates. If you live in an older building, upgrades may even have been done before you purchased the unit. In the event of a loss, you may find that the condo corporation is only willing to replace your marble countertops with the Formica laminate of the original build. Through no fault of your own, your home just lost value. Upgrade to Condo Owners Protection and that’s one less thing to worry about.
Condo Owners Protection also protects against any shortfalls in your strata’s own insurance which they decide to levy against you, and amounts assessed against your unit for repairs to common areas of the building. Finally, if your strata is forced to make a claim with their insurer, Condo Owners Protection protects you in the event that they decide to spread the cost of their deductible amongst the condo owners.
Condo insurance isn’t compulsory, and your condo corporation already covers the building for certain situations. However, they don’t cover your personal property – at all – or the extra costs that you might incur if you were forced out of your unit while necessary repairs are made following a loss. Aside from the obvious benefits of peace of mind from the risks outlined above, buying condo insurance offers great value for your money. Many consumers aren’t aware that condo insurance often costs only slightly more than a tenant’s insurance policy, while providing similar coverage as a home insurance policy. Considering the broad range of risks (and the huge resulting expenses) that you take on when you buy a condo, condo insurance is a steal! With multiple parties like the condo corporation and many different unit owners or renters, there are a lot of things that can go wrong without it being your fault. For this reason alone, condo insurance can give you peace of mind.
Your unit is damaged by water from another condo, but the owner refuses to admit responsibility. What do you do? With Condo Owners Protection, you have up to $1,500 in coverage for the cost of investigating the situation and determining whether your policy needs to respond, or whether it is the responsibility of someone else.
With Square One, you set your own earthquake deductibles for damage to your belongings, as well as improvements and fixures in your unit for which you are responsible. The strata or condo corporation may have a much higher earthquake deductible for damage to the entire building. In the event of a loss, this deductible might be divided amongst the unit owners. You will need to purchase coverage for this possibility under our Condo Owners Protection. Not sure how much you need? Our Condo Concierge Service gives you access to a team of experts who can help you determine how much coverage you need to cover your portion of the deductible if the building is damaged in an earthquake.
If you buy your condo insurance with Square One, it is. We treat items in your storage unit as we would if they were in your condo. However, other insurance providers may not do the same, so be sure to check with your insurer.
Negligence determines who is responsible for loss or damage suffered by others, but what determines negligence? To avoid being considered negligent, the courts want to see that reasonable action has been taken to prevent a loss. What constitutes reasonable action depends on the situation. For example, someone who carelessly tosses a cigarette from their balcony might be considered negligent (and therefore liable) if the resulting fire causes damage to the building, or to property belonging to others. For example: the person who carelessly tossed that cigarette may be personally liable for damage to the patio furniture on the balcony below, as well as structural damage to the building.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact Square One at 1.855.331.6933 and a licensed insurance agent will be more than happy to help.
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