Condominium ownership is different in certain aspects from owning a traditional single-family home. For example, when you own a condominium you’re also part-owner of what are called “limited common elements.” Condominium units are part of larger condo communities, each having limited common elements such as building exteriors and framing, lawns, roads and walkways. Limited common elements in condo communities are communally insured against loss and liability through condo insurance master policies.
When you own a condominium you’re expected to carry homeowners insurance much like any other homeowner. However, because your condominium is also covered by your condo community’s master insurance policy for certain elements, your insurance needs are different. Condo homeowners insurance usually covers loss and liability involving possessions and people within condo units while insurance master policies cover other issues. Condo insurance master policies also come in two varieties, “bare walls-in” and “all-in.”
According to Bankrate.com, bare walls-in condo insurance master policies “cover all real property from the exterior framing inward.” However, bare walls-in condo insurance doesn’t cover fixtures and installations within your condo unit. Under your condo community’s bare walls-in condo insurance policy, your condo’s countertops, kitchen and bathroom fixtures and your flooring probably wouldn’t be covered. Basically, you need a greater level of individual homeowners insurance for your condo interior under bare walls-in condo community insurance policies.
All-in condo insurance master policies provide a greater level of interior coverage for condominium owners. If your condo’s interior is damaged by fire, for instance, your condo community’s all-in insurance policy would cover many of its interior elements. All-in condo insurance covers fixtures, installations and additions to the interior surfaces of your walls, floors and ceilings. You’d only need a limited amount of individual homeowners insurance under a condo community’s all-in insurance master policy.
Most condo communities carry group master insurance policies featuring deductibles that are paid as a group by all owners. If your condo community’s buildings were damaged by wind, the community’s condo association would make a claim against the insurance master policy. The deductible amount attached to your condo community’s master insurance policy is also spread among all owners. A condo community insurance master policy with a $5,000 deductible and 20 owners would cost each owner $250 per deductible payment ($5,000/20 = $250).