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Insuring your home is important no matter what kind of home you’ve got. But some homes are more complicated than others, and that can cause confusion around what kind of insurance is needed. For example, do condo owners need homeowners insurance? Or is there specific insurance just for condominiums? Is there a difference between homeowners and condo insurance?

The answer lies in the kinds of things condo owners and homeowners need to protect. Homeowners, as their name implies, own their whole home. They need to protect the entire building, inside and out, including whatever property they own that surrounds it. Condo owners own their homes too, but not the entire building they live in. Condo owners are only responsible for protecting the interior of their homes, with everything outside of those walls being covered by their homeowners association’s master policy. So yes, homeowners and condo owners do need different insurance policies.1 Let’s get into the specifics.

What is the difference between condo and homeowners insurance?

In the distinction between condo insurance vs. home insurance, it’s important to remember that condo complexes are operated by a larger condo association that has its own insurance for public spaces and shared features like roofs, elevators, and plumbing systems. Because of this master policy, condo owners have less to worry about when considering what their policy covers. Typically, they only need to insure the interior of their home. Homeowners, on the other hand, own the entire building that comprises their home. A homeowners insurance policy covers the exterior of the home and other features on the surrounding property as well as everything on the interior.1

Condo dwelling coverage vs. home dwelling coverage

Dwelling coverage for homeowners is dependent on the rebuild value of the home, or rather, the amount it would cost to completely rebuild the home from the ground up. For condo owners, the amount of dwelling coverage required depends upon the scope of their homeowners association’s master policy. This master policy’s coverage may range from only public spaces and the bare minimum of interior structures (drywall, ceilings) to coverage of the entire interior and alterations made to it.1

Condo liability insurance vs. home liability insurance

Liability insurance in the case of condo vs homeowners insurance varies more or less like other coverages do. Since condo owners typically only have to insure the interiors of their homes, their liability insurance will only cover accidents that happen inside their units. Homeowners must insure their homes inside and out, so their liability coverage extends to the whole property.1

Condo loss assessment coverage vs. home loss assessment coverage

Loss assessment coverage is only necessary if you live in an HOA community. For condo owners, this is almost certainly the case. Loss assessment coverage is an add-on to your policy that covers any damage to common areas you are assessed for (provided they’re covered in your policy).1 If you’re a homeowner in an HOA community, you’ll likely need loss assessment coverage too.

Condo personal property protection vs. home personal property protection

Personal property protection is the same whether you’re a homeowner or condo owner. This coverage protects personal property against damage and theft. Every homeowner should have it, and since no HOA master policy will include it, every condo owner should have it too.

If you are a condo owner, you should familiarize yourself with your HOA’s master policy before determining the kind of coverage you need. The master policy may cover more or less than you’re expecting. Homeowners who live in HOA communities should do the same, although they can expect to cover the exterior of their homes and whatever surrounding property they own. Homeowner insurance policies tend to cost more for this reason.1 Any homeowner who rents their property out should also have extra coverage, as a standard homeowners policy won’t usually cover renters.

Speaking to an insurance agent should help you assess what type of coverage is best for your situation. Whatever kind of home you have, properly insuring it is crucial to protecting it and all the people and belongings inside. Get a free quote today for homeowners insurance or condo insurance, and learn how Nationwide can protect you and your home.

[1], Accessed December 2021.

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