What is Condo (HO6) Insurance?

HO6 condo insurance is a policy that protects your condo and its contents from accidental damages.
Written by David Ghanizadeh-Khoob
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Condo insurance, otherwise known as HO-6 insurance, is basically
homeowners insurance
for condominiums. HO-6 condo insurance covers your home and its contents, while also covering you for any personal liabilities or cost-of-living expenses should emergencies or repairs make your condo temporarily unlivable. 
HO-6 insurance is also known as “walls-in insurance,” because it covers the contents of individual units rather than the building at large. 
Depending on where you live, your condo insurance may not cover all of the perils that you need. Flooding, for example, is often not a listed peril. As a result, it is important to read what is included in your HO-6 insurance policy and add any additional coverages that you might need.
Often you can save money on your condo insurance by combining it with your car insurance policy. The insurance policy comparison app
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Here’s what you need to know about HO-6 insurance. 
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What does the condo association cover?

The condo association typically covers the building itself, including any shared spaces, under a master insurance policy. Unless stated otherwise in your area's bylaws, your condo association or homeowners association (HOA) will purchase this master policy. You usually then pay into this as a part of your condo fees or homeowners association fees. 
Three types of coverage are available in this master insurance policy:
  • Bare walls coverage covers the building itself and anything that the condo association owns. This includes the structure of the building as well as any common area furniture, swimming pool, parking lots, etc.
  • Single entity coverage includes everything covered by a bare walls policy and adds coverage for fixtures that were built into your condo unit. So this would cover things like counters, sinks, and walls in your unit, but not “improvements” to your unit – things like renovations, or new appliances.
  • All-in coverage is almost exactly what it sounds like: it covers everything in single entity coverage as well as improvements or additions, but not your personal items. Basically, this covers anything that is collectively owned by the condo association or HOA.
As you might expect, the coverage purchased by your condo association or HOA will affect which HO6 insurance you would want to purchase. Before purchasing condo insurance, it’s a good idea to ask to see the HOA’s declaration page to find out the scope of your master insurance policy.
Key Takeaway Master insurance policies can vary greatly. You should find out what coverage your association has purchased before choosing your HO6 policy.

What does condo insurance cover?

So your association insurance won’t cover everything. As a result, you will have to insure the rest of your belongings and property with an HO6 policy. HO6 condo insurance will cover all of the things that are yours in your unit. 
If you renovate and want to protect the increased value of your condo, you will need HO6 insurance. If you want to cover your personal items or medical expenses of anyone injured in an accident on your property, then these things will not fall under your master insurance policy.
HO6 condo insurance policies typically include coverage for the following categories:
What it covers
Building/dwelling coverage
Building coverage covers the unit itself against things like fires, storms, plumbing incidents, or vandalism. If your condo association has all-in coverage, you may not need as much dwelling coverage.
Personal property coverage
This covers personal items inside your condo like furniture, electronics, and clothing from damage or theft.
Personal liability coverage
Personal liability coverage helps cover legal expenses if you are sued for accidentally harming others or damaging someone else’s property. It can also help cover medical expenses for anyone accidentally injured on your property.
Loss of use coverage
Should you have to vacate your condo due to an accident, loss of use covers associated costs. This includes things like hotel stays and transportation while your condo is being repaired or rebuilt.
Loss assessment coverage
If there is a claim made for damage to the common area of your condo building that exceeds the limit of the master policy, the additional cost goes to the members of the condo association. Loss assessment coverage helps cover your portion of any such claim.
The scope of your HO6 condo policy will depend on your master policy, but also your risk tolerance, budget, and perceived value of your possessions. 

What is not covered by condo insurance?

The short answer is that anything not listed in your insurance policy will not be covered. There are some potentially unexpected things that are not covered. For example, flooding is typically not included in basic HO6 condo policies. 
Some other events that usually are not covered include:
  • Regional hazards: Things like earthquakes, sinkholes, floods, or hurricanes are typically not included, however, coverage for these events can be added to your policy.
  • Intentional harm to others or property: Condo insurance will only cover accidental damage or injury.
  • Wear and tear: Unfortunately, your HO6 policy will not cover your worn-out socks or golf clubs
  • Damage from municipal water sources: Although your policy covers plumbing issues, it may not cover you if, say, a sewer line backs up.
There may be some other perils that were not listed that are not covered by your policy. Termite and sinkhole damage are two more examples. The bottom line is that you will have to read your policy and see what is covered to assess if you want to add additional coverages.

Additional coverage

Depending on where you live, your risk tolerance, and any specific concerns you might have, you may want to add additional coverages to your HO6 condo policy. If you live in an area prone to earthquakes or flooding, you would have to purchase additional coverage for these perils. This will affect the price of your policy but is usually added without much fuss.
If your condo isn’t your primary residence, you may want to invest in vacant condo insurance. In general, your condo is considered vacant if you leave for at least 30 days—and when insurance companies look at a vacant property, they see a high level of risk. Your provider may drop coverage for any damages during your absence because the property was unattended. 
vacant condo insurance
is often pricey, but it beats the alternative of being on the hook for an expensive crisis while you’re not even at the condo. 

Is condo insurance required?

Lenders typically require an HO-6 policy. So if you still have a mortgage on your condo, you will likely need to purchase condo insurance. Even if you don’t have a mortgage, your condo association will probably require certain coverages and limits.
Even if you don’t have any formal requirements, condo insurance is recommended. If you are uninsured you could be left with an awfully large bill should an incident happen to your home.

Finding affordable insurance

The best way to find affordable condo insurance is to assess what is covered by your master policy, think about what coverage you need, and compare and contrast various insurance providers. 
It can take time to find the best rate and coverage for your condo. Fortunately, the insurance comparison app
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The average cost of HO6 condo insurance is around $430 to $620 per year. However, that price can vary greatly depending on where you live and the extent of your coverage.
In the event of an accident, HO6 condo insurance covers the structure of your property, your personal items, personal liability for any lawsuits against you for accidental harm or damage to others or their property, and expenses incurred by having to leave your home while it is rebuilt following an accident.
It is important to note that many regional hazards are often uncovered. Depending on where you live you should check if relevant perils are covered, and add them to your policy if they are not.
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