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What's the difference between condo insurance and homeowner insurance?

stephen polinsky on Nov 19, 2008 10:59:00 AM


Owning and maintaining a home can be expensive these days. Upkeep and maintenance often requires constant attention, and homeowners may find themselves repairing or replacing nearly everything in sight at one time or another-to say nothing of the grass that always needs mowing, the sidewalks that need sweeping or the pool that needs cleaning.

For those who choose condo living over the luxury of the single-family home, life affords a few less responsibilities. Though condo owners must sacrifice privacy and share space with other unit owners in their building, they can choose to watch the NFL game on Sunday, rather than mow the lawn-and stay inside when winter storms dump several feet of snow-while neighboring homeowners are shoveling out.

No matter which type of home you choose, home insurance is required protection before taking possession. That way, when you come home from work to find your door standing open and your electronics missing, you'll have the coverage you need to replace them without going broke. And when your friend comes to visit and ends up biting the dust on your kitchen floor, you'll have the resources you need to cover medical bills following the accident.

So what's the difference between condo insurance and single-family home insurance? When you live in a free-standing home, you insure the home's structure, other buildings and items on the property, and the possessions kept inside your home.

When you live in a condo, on the other hand, you don't need to insure shared spaces like pools or sidewalks, the building your condo is housed in, or any structures that don't belong expressly to you. Those items are usually covered by your condo association's insurance policy instead-leaving you responsible only for your own possessions, appliances, décor, interior-facing walls and other items not commonly shared with neighbors.

If you're looking for a way to build equity (yes, even in these hard times) with less responsibility and cheaper insurance coverage than traditional housing, consider buying a condo. You'll save money and protect your home, too-but your insurance bills should be cheaper!


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