If you’re thinking of buying or renting a condo in Canada, one thing you must put into consideration is condo insurance.
The housing market in Canada has been booming lately, especially in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. With the rising housing prices, many locals are forced to move to the city outskirts to find a home. Other residents hoping to stay in the city for work or take advantage of the city nightlife have to get creative and find affordable homes in the heart of downtown.
Condominiums are making it possible for many locals to get a foothold in the aggressive and expensive housing market. With condo communities popping up all over Canada, condo insurance is becoming more sought out.
The chances you might be looking into condo insurance are high as it is on average more affordable than home insurance and surprisingly, even tenant insurance. The reason for this is attributed to the size of condo units.
Condo units are considerably much smaller than townhouses or semi-detached homes in general. Condo insurance also includes a master condo policy covering specific risks of its own, which as a condo owner it is reassuring that your place of residence will be fully insured.
What Can I Expect to Pay for Condo Insurance?
The condo insurance rate varies from province to province. In Ontario, the average condo insurance rate is around $345 per year. In comparison to the average tenant rate of $452 or the average homeowner insurance rate of $1,521, condo insurance is considerably more affordable.
Now, let’s look at other provinces’ insurance rates. In British Columbia, it’s triple the amount of Ontario as condo homeowners pay an average of $924 annually. In Alberta however, it’s less expensive as homeowners can look to spend around $408 yearly. Insurance companies like Square One offer some of the cheapest and most well-rounded insurance policies.
Does Condo Insurance Work the Same as Home or Tenant Policies?
Condo, home, and tenant insurance policies have many things in common, but they do not work the exact same way as one might expect. Let’s dive deeper into the reason.
As a homeowner, you are legally responsible for your house and any damages or maintenance it incurs. With tenant insurance, there is a clear legal distinction between landlord and tenant.
In fact, any tenants looking to move into a new place will sign a contract outlining what the tenant is responsible for and what the landlord will cover in case of incidentals, maintenance, and damages.
Condo insurance policies are a bit trickier to dissect. Partly because of how varied policies can be across provinces and territories, but also because ownership and responsibility are divided between the condo company and the condo homeowner.
That creates a grey zone as to what will be exactly covered by the condo company and what the condo unit owner will have to cover by way of their insurance.
Will My Condo Corporation Cover Everything?
Short answer – no, it is unlikely. As mentioned before, condo policies are so varied depending on location. As such, it is common to find that each condo association will have its own custom insurance agreement with its condo unit clientele.
Most condo associations will have clauses in their policies that state that condo unit owners are responsible for most if not all of their condo units whether there are damages, repairs, or maintenance needed.
Unless condo unit owners can link the issues or damages to the condo association, the maintenance and repairs lie with the condo unit owner. In the case of other parts of the building such as the elevators, hallways, lobby, garage, and several other public common zones, your condo association will be responsible for those.
It is also important to note that condo associations will most likely ask you to contribute to the master insurance policy for public common zones, but it is highly recommended that you still look for a personal condo insurance policy for your own unit.
What Does Condo Insurance Cover in Ontario?
Condo insurance in Ontario typically covers your personal property, liability, and any improvements or upgrades made to your unit. Here is a breakdown of what each coverage typically includes:
- Personal property coverage: This protects your personal belongings, such as furniture, clothing, and electronics, in case of damage or theft. It may also cover additional living expenses if you have to temporarily move out of your unit due to a covered loss.
- Liability coverage: This covers you in case someone is injured while on your property or if you cause damage to someone else’s property. It may also cover legal expenses if you are sued.
- Improvements and upgrades coverage: This covers any improvements or upgrades you have made to your unit, such as new flooring or cabinets, in case of damage or loss.
It’s important to note that each policy may have different limits and exclusions, so it’s important to read your policy carefully and understand what is and isn’t covered.
Why is Getting Personal Condo Insurance Recommended?
Nobody wants to spend more than what they have to but in this case, additional insurance on your condominium is always a great idea. If you happen to have your condo property financed or mortgaged then most lenders will legally require you to buy personal condo insurance.
This is simply to cover what your condo master policy does not. On the off chance someone gets injured inside your unit or your actions cause damage to a neighboring unit, your personal condo insurance would cover that. Another example is that if your toilet was flooding your home and the new floors installed were ruined, you would be covered.
Otherwise, you are looking at footing a huge bill out of your pockets. Put simply, condo unit owners still need coverage for liability, belongings, and property damage just like home or tenant owners.