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HO-6 is homeowners insurance for owners of co-ops or condominiums. It provides personal property coverage, liability coverage and specific coverage of improvements to the owner’s unit. Typically the owner’s condo or co-op association provides insurance that covers the outside of the dwelling — or home structure. 

Condo insurance is important since your association’s policy will not cover your belongings or provide you with personal liability coverage if someone is harmed inside of your residence.

Key Takeaways

  • An HO-6 policy covers the interior of your unit, improvements you’ve made to the building, additions or alterations and all your personal property.
  • The condo association master policy is there to protect the building and its inhabitants. This includes general liability for the association and property damage coverage for common areas.
  • The average condo insurance cost nationwide is $759 with a $1,000 deductible, $300,000 in liability and $60,000 in personal property coverage.

What does HO-6 insurance cover?

HO-6 insurance coordinates coverage with your condominium or cooperative’s master policy. A standard HO-6 condo insurance policy covers several things:

  • Interior damage to your unit
  • Improvements, additions and alterations you’ve made to the interior of the unit
  • Personal property
  • Liability
  • Additional living expenses/loss of use
  • Loss assessment coverage (optional)

However, you may also want to purchase extra coverage. For example, extra personal property coverage for valuables, such as jewelry, fine art or fancy computer equipment. Additional liability coverage protects you if someone is injured or their property is damaged while visiting and sues you for damages. 

Depending on where you live, you might also need additional coverage for earthquakes, flooding or windstorms.

A basic condominium master policy, on the other hand, covers two things:

  • General liability for the association
  • Property damage coverage for the common areas

There are several types of condo master policy, and the type your association has will determine how much coverage you need. The options are:

  • Bare walls: Limited to the basic structure of the building, including fixtures and furnishings collectively used
  • Single entity: Covers the building structures, common areas and fixtures in individual units, but not personal property or improvements
  • All-in or all-inclusive: Covers the structure, fixtures in individual units and additional upgrades made by you or a previous owner.

Perils covered by an HO-6 policy

Many HO-6 condominium owner policies are named perils and cover a list of specific incidents:

  • Fire 
  • Lightning
  • Windstorm or hail
  • Explosion
  • Riot or civil commotion
  • Damage caused by aircraft
  • Damage caused by vehicles
  • Smoke
  • Vandalism or malicious mischief
  • Theft
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Falling objects
  • Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
  • Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam from plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or automatic fire-protective sprinkler system, or from a household appliance.
  • Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning, or bulging of a steam or hot water heating system, an air conditioning or automatic fire-protective system.
  • Freezing of plumbing, heating, air conditioning or automatic, fire-protective sprinkler system, or of a household appliance.
  • Sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated electrical current (does not include loss to a tube, transistor or similar electronic component)

However, some HO-6 policies are open perils, which means they cover anything that isn’t specifically excluded.

What isn’t covered by an HO-6 policy?

An HO-6 policy provides coverage for a condo unit and any personal property inside it. However, there are some things that an HO-6 policy does not cover: 

  • Wear and tear
  • Flooding
  • Earthquakes
  • Damage caused by termites
  • Exterior damage
  • Roof damage
  • Policyholder’s medical expenses
  • Damage to common areas such as hallways or lobbies

How much does condo insurance cost?

The cost of condo insurance depends on many factors, such as where you live and how much coverage you need.

The average condo insurance cost nationwide is $795, for $60,000 in personal property coverage, with a $1,000 deductible.

“Florida is the state with the highest condo insurance rates of $1,610. Extreme weather conditions like hurricanes and strong storms are responsible for these high rates.”

The weather is a major factor in those costs. The Sunshine State is prone to hurricanes and strong storms. Insurers view condos in that state as a higher risk than say Alaska, Alabama, Arizona or California, which have the lowest average condo insurance rates.

You can’t completely offset higher rates in your state, but you can lessen the blow by shopping around. Get quotes for the same level of coverage from at least three home insurance companies. Make sure you ask about discounts, including bundling discounts.

How to buy condo insurance

You can purchase HO-6 insurance through an insurance agent or broker. You can also buy HO-6 insurance through an online insurer. Read the insurance company’s reviews online before purchasing a policy and follow these steps to get an HO-6 policy:

Step 1: Determine the value of your personal belongings. This includes everything from furniture and clothing to electronics and art. Be sure to get an accurate estimate of the replacement cost, as this will be used to determine the amount of coverage you need.

Step 2: Get quotes from multiple insurers. Standard coverage doesn’t vary much from one company to the next for an HO-6 policy, but rates and customer service do, so shop around for home insurance quotes from at least three different companies.

Step 3: Compare rates and coverage. Compare the rates and be sure to ask about any discounts available, such as bundling your condo insurance with other types of coverage.

Step 4: Review the policy. Be sure to carefully read the terms and conditions of any policy before purchasing it. This will help you avoid any surprises down the road.

How much HO-6 condo insurance do I need?

The amount of condo insurance coverage you’ll need depends on what the condo association master insurance policy covers. If the master policy is a bare walls policy, you’ll need more coverage. But, if the condo association’s insurance is an all-in or all-inclusive policy, you may not need quite as much coverage. Determining how much condo insurance you’ll need can get tricky for this reason.

We recommend speaking with your insurance agent to discuss the master policy and what you need in an HO6 policy to fill all the gaps.

Additional condo insurance coverage to consider buying

You can choose to add optional coverage to your condo insurance policy for more protection. However, not all states offer these coverages. Contact a local agent to learn what is available in your area.

  • Water backup: Water backup insurance helps you pay for repairs in your unit caused by water coming from the drains or sump pump.
  • Personal injury: Personal injury coverage helps pay for legal fees and damages if someone sues you because of something you said or wrote that harmed their reputation or business.
  • Identity theft: This coverage helps pay for legal bills and lost wages if someone steals your identity or if you have to deal with fraud. You can also get a specialist to help you through this process.
  • Extended coverage for personal property. Extended coverage for personal property offers increased coverage limits for valuable belongings, such as jewelry, cameras and antiques. 

Frequently asked question

What is the rule of thumb for condo insurance?  

The below mentioned are the factors that can affect condo insurance rates: 

  • The cost of repairing your condo is determined by the age of your property, the assessed value of your unit, and several other factors. Furthermore, according to the condo association’s rules, unit owners may be required to maintain a certain level of insurance. 
  • The homeowners in disaster-prone areas – such as flood zones, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, mudslides, hail, and earthquakes – will have to pay more for their condo insurance coverage because these events are not covered by standard insurance.  

These factors are the thumb rule to deciding how much condo insurance you will need. Considering the above-mentioned factors, the homeowners can decide if they wish to add any extra coverages apart from the ideal HO-6 condo insurance policy.  

What is the walls-in insurance coverage?  

A basic condominium master policy will cover two things – general liability for association and property damage coverage for shared areas. This policy usually chooses from the 3 available types of coverage: bare walls, single entity, and all-in or all-inclusive.  

Wall-ins mean that some portion of your home’s inside is covered by the association. Basic flooring, cabinets, plumbing, and electrical equipment are typically covered under the association’s insurance coverage. Any upgrades you make are not covered.

Does HO-6 insurance cover special assessments issued by your HOA?

Individual condo policies vary, but even if yours includes loss assessment coverage it might not help with a special assessment for roof replacement because insurance doesn’t pay out on wear and tear.

Does condo insurance cover theft?

Yes, condo insurance covers theft but you will need to check your policy for any exclusions. For instance, your policy may not cover high-value items such as expensive jewelry or rare art pieces if you don’t have a specific endorsement. 

Does condo insurance cover water damage?

Condo owners are usually protected against water damage caused by their plumbing, water heaters or appliances or air-conditioners. Wear and tear and flooding are excluded.

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Shivani Gite
Contributing Writer

 
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Shivani Gite is a personal finance and insurance writer with a degree in journalism and mass communication. She is passionate about making insurance topics easy to understand for people and helping them make better financial decisions.