Monday, January 31, 2011

Winter 2011

As a condominium owner, there is comfort in knowing building maintenance, roof repairs, landscaping, and insurance will be taken care of. An insurance policy provided by your homeowners association will most likely cover the exterior building structure and common areas, but what about potential structural damage to your unit and coverage for your personal belongings? Without a personal insurance policy, you could be left paying for damages out-of-pocket if your unit floods, is damaged in a fire, or is burglarized.

You will need two separate policies to protect your condominium investment:

1. Your own personal insurance policy
This provides coverage for your personal possessions, structural improvements to your condo, and additional living expenses if you are the victim of fire, theft, or other disaster listed in your policy. This policy also includes liability protection.

2. A “master policy” provided by the homeowners association
This covers liability risk and physical damages for the common areas you share with others in your building including the roof, basement, elevator, and walkways.

If you have questions about what coverage is in place, talk to your homeowners association, insurance professional, or family attorney.

If you are currently renting a home or apartment, you should strongly consider renters insurance. No one likes to think about the possibility of a fire or a burglary, but these are real possibilities worth insuring against.  Here are a few things you should know about renters insurance:
  • Renters insurance protects your valuables from property losses, including flood, fire, theft, and vandalism. 
  • Renters insurance provides liability protection to protect you from lawsuits resulting from someone injuring themselves while visiting your home.  Potential liability risks include slips and falls, accidents at parties, and pet attacks.  
  • The amount you receive if your belongings are damaged or stolen depends upon whether your policy is for “actual cash value” or “replacement cost.” 
  • The best way to determine how much renters insurance coverage to buy is to conduct a home inventory. Check out for free software you can use to create your own home inventory.
  • Renters insurance is very affordable.  In addition, discounts are usually available to those who have multiple policies with the same company and for those with safety features, including smoke detectors, dead bolt door locks, and fire extinguishers.   

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