Owners of condominiums are normally responsible for insuring the condos they own. They generally aren’t expected to insure the common areas of the building their unit is in, though. Insuring the common areas of condominium complexes, including everything from the shared walls between units to amenities that everyone in a complex has access to, usually falls on condo associations. Helping associations in Massachusetts with their insurance needs is precisely what condo association insurance is for.
Condominium association insurance generally protects the common parts of a condominium complex. The exact coverages that policies offer can vary, but they often include:
A good policy will provide both property and liability coverage for any spaces that aren’t owned -- and, thus, aren’t insured -- by the individual unit owners of a Massachusetts condominium complex.
Some condo association insurance policies also provide coverage for features that are found inside condo units. Not all offer this coverage, and policies can be classified according to the level of protection they provide for features inside of condo units.
Bare walls-in policies provide only the most essential insurance coverage. They typically insure little more than the walls, floor, and ceiling of a unit -- sometimes not even including coverage for a unit’s plumbing and electrical. Additionally, the coverage for the walls and ceiling may only extend to the actual building of the structure, and not to painting the walls and ceiling.
Single entity policies normally provide coverage for standard build-outs of units. In addition to insuring a condo’s walls, floor, and ceiling (and plumbing and electrical), they usually also offer protection for any standard features. These features might include ceiling fans, cupboards, countertops, fireplaces, vanities, and similar items.
Modified single entity policies offer robust coverage. In addition to insuring a unit’s structure and standard features, these policies frequently also offer protection for any upgrades that condo owners make. If a unit’s laminate countertops have been upgraded to granite or tile when it’s not standard, a modified single entity policy will usually provide coverage for these changes.
Because these policies offer different amounts of coverage for features inside units, the type of condominium association insurance policy that a condo association selects impacts how much insurance coverage condo owners need to purchase. If a condo association in Framingham, MA gets a bare walls-in policy, for instance, condo owners there may need a more robust condo insurance policy to ensure they’re best protected. If an association in Boston, MA, in contrast, opts for a modified single entity policy, its condo owners may need only need to purchase liability and personal property coverage themselves.
An independent insurance agent who is licensed in Massachusetts can help condo associations in the state with their insurance needs. A knowledgeable agent can review an association’s risk exposure and insurance needs. Moreover, an independent agent is able to help an association compare policies offered by different insurers in Massachusetts, in order to find the condominium association insurance policy that’s most suitable for the association’s situation. After a policy has been selected, an agent can also explain how the chosen policy impacts individual condo owners’ insurance needs.