GEICO offers 5 need-to-know answers about condo insurance

Washington, D.C., May 27, 2015 – Ah, the joy and convenience of condominium living offers a different experience from owning a single family home. Condo owners don't have to worry about mowing the lawn, shoveling the sidewalk or cleaning out those pesky gutters. If you are a condo owner, chances are you have to deal with some unique insurance needs that typically bring on questions about your condo association's master policy. GEICO offers five things that will help you better understand condo insurance.

Why do I need condo insurance when I am already covered by my condo association?

Many condo owners assume that since they pay a monthly pay condo association fee, they are fully covered by the condo association's master insurance policy. Unfortunately that’s not the case. Your condo association insurance only covers the building's exterior structures, commonly owned property such as walkways, hallways, pool area and liability for the condo association. The condo owner assumes all responsibility for the interior of their unit.

What does a typical condo insurance policy cover?            

Condo insurance is designed specifically to protect owners from assuming risks and goes well beyond what's covered in a basic condo association insurance policy. Condo insurance covers specific components of your unit, which includes floors, walls and ceilings, fixtures, and protects against property damage, bodily injury liability and loss of use. Condo insurance also provides coverage protection from windstorms, fire and lightning, theft or break in, smoke and vandalism. If your building is destroyed, the condo association's insurance will pay to rebuild the common areas and your unit, but you will be responsible for all of the unit's interior items depending upon what's in your condo association's master insurance policy.

How does condo insurance differ from homeowners insurance?

One of the key differences between condo and homeowners insurance is that condo owners are typically responsible for insuring just a portion of the property that they own. Like homeowners insurance, condo insurance does cover interior structures like cabinetry, flooring, countertops and lighting but does not cover exterior walls and exterior structures. Condo insurance is similar to homeowners insurance in other aspects because it covers you from theft, damage, vandalism and fire and also protects you from personal liability if someone is injured in your home and loss of use if you have to live somewhere while your home is being repaired.

How much coverage should I have?

You need to determine which part of your condo you are responsible for insuring and decide how much coverage you will need. Condo owners should have a complete estimate of the value of their personal property by documenting (video or photographs) the interior of their unit (property and structures). Keep a list of estimated replacement costs, which will help to determine how much insurance to purchase and also allow you to calculate your losses if you ever need to file a claim. It's important that condo owners understand what's covered in their condo association's master insurance policy so you don’t purchase too much or too little insurance.

Will I need any special coverage?

As with homeowners insurance, you will need special coverage if your condo is in an area prone to flooding or hurricanes. If you are living in a flood zone, the U.S. government offers optional flood insurance to all homeowners. In addition, your mortgage company may require all you to have flood insurance. Your condo association's flood coverage will only cover damage to the exterior building and will not cover damage to your condo unit or any personal contents inside.

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GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company), the second-largest auto insurer in the U.S., was founded in 1936 and insures more than 27 million vehicles.

To make changes, report claims, print insurance cards and purchase additional products, policyholders can log into their car insurance policy, connect via GEICO Mobile, phone or by visiting a GEICO local agent.

Homeowners, renters, condo, flood, identity theft and life coverages are written through non-affiliated insurance companies and are secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc. Commercial auto and personal umbrella coverages are also available.

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