Monday, December 17, 2018

Thinking about buying a condo? Here’s what you should know about insuring it

We talk to consumers a lot about homeowner and renter insurance, but condos are a type of housing that have unique insurance considerations.

The number of condos being built is on the rise in the Seattle area – more than 2,000 are slated to be built in Seattle and Bellevue through 2021. 

If the condo association owns the structure and common areas, it typically carries an insurance policy to cover damage to those areas and liability arising from those areas. The association policy may have a deductible that gets passed onto the unit owners, typically in the form of an assessment. It’s common that individual owners have little say with regard to how repairs are done, including the timeliness, quality and type – those decisions are typically made by the association.

Each unit owner should purchase their own policy that covers their contents and the space they own, sometimes defined in the policy as from “sheet rock in” or “paint in.” Unit owners can check with their agent or insurer to find out if there is coverage for the association’s deductible assessment under the unit policy.

The most common type of inquiry we receive from consumers involves claims where water damage to one condo unit affects another unit. Unless there is clear negligence on the part of the owner whose leak caused the damage, each individual condo unit policy pays for the damage to their own unit.

Questions? Contact your agent or insurance company. You can learn more about condo insurance. You can also contact consumer advocates online or by phone at 1-800-562-6900.