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Condo Insurance Ontario

Condominium living requires insurance specialized to meet the needs of condo residents. Morison Insurance has the industry experience and knowledge to provide you with the best possible advice to look after your Ontario condo insurance. Many condominium unit owners do not realize they need their own separate condo insurance policy in addition to insurance held by their condo association or corporation. Condo insurance in Ontario provides personal property coverage and personal liability.

Our expert condo insurance brokers at Morison Insurance will ensure you have adequate coverage for your protection.

What Is Condo Insurance?

In Ontario, condo insurance provides protection against losses or damage to your condominium, your belongings, improvements you have made, and liability for insured damage or injury to others while in your condo. Your condo is your home, so it makes sense to protect your residential investment. 

Finding the best coverage for your condo in Ontario

The best advice is to first speak to your condominium corporation representatives to better understand what kind of insurance policy you need. Do you own your house and the land it sits on? Do you own your unit only? These are frequently asked questions about condo insurance in Ontario. Once you know this, your dedicated condo insurance broker can provide expert advice regarding what coverage you should have to meet your specific needs.

If you have a freehold condo where you own your home and the property that it sits on, you likely require homeowners’ insurance. This is because homeowners’ insurance covers your home and property. Note that in a freehold condominium, you may still have a condominium corporation that will provide coverage for shared premises such as parking lots.

When you own a condo unit in a high-rise or multiple-unit building, the condominium corporation (sometimes called a homeowners’ association) that manages the building will have condo insurance for the building and common areas/property. For example, the condo corporation will often insure the building's exterior, hallways, lobby and recreational areas. As a unit owner, you and the other condominium owners are considered policyholders of the corporation’s insurance policy. You pay for this coverage through your monthly fees. However, as a condo unit owner, you are required to get a personal condo insurance policy to protect your unit from the wall studs inward. It also protects all of your possessions that are housed within your unit.

If you are unsure about what kind of insurance coverage you require, speak with a condo insurance broker who will provide expertise to ensure you have the right coverage for your home. 

Is Condo Insurance Mandatory In Ontario?

Condo insurance is not mandatory in Ontario. That said, there are a few reasons why it is good to have:

  • If, like most of us, you have a mortgage, the financial institution holding the mortgage will require that you have condo insurance. Should you not have a mortgage, this coverage is still wise protection for your residential investment, which is often the biggest investment many of us have.
  • Often condominium corporations will require that the unit owners have their own coverage.
  • Condo insurance is smart protection because, as we all know, losses or damages can be expensive. With insurance, you are reducing your exposure to paying the costs to cover any losses on your own.

Why Buy Condo Insurance In Ontario?

It is important to buy condo insurance to protect your home in case of a loss. Condo insurance protects your financial investment in your condominium home. It covers what is inside your unit—damage or loss to your unit, your belongings, any improvements you may have made to your condo and your personal liability.

Why Is Condo Insurance In Ontario Important?

Ontario condo insurance is important because without it if you have a loss, you will have to cover the costs of the loss on your own. When you have a condo insurance policy, the insurance company agrees to cover the costs of losses or damages specified in the policy up to the policy limits. Costs are covered after the deductible is paid by you. Often the cost of a loss can be quite high.

It’s also important to know that if you are borrowing money to buy your condo, you will need to have condo insurance. Your mortgage lender will require you to have condo insurance in the process of purchasing your new home. Should any damage occur to your unit, or should you cause any accidental damage to someone else’s property in a unit nearby, condo insurance will cover your damages and liabilities. Most importantly, this type of policy lets you enjoy condo living with full peace of mind knowing you are properly covered.

How Much Ontario Condo Insurance Do I Need?

You need enough condo insurance coverage to protect the value of items in your unit, third-party liability coverage and repairs for losses to your unit from the wall studs in. Consider the value of your belongings. You need to insure them to their replacement value. You should think about asking for $2 million in liability coverage. This will help to protect you if you are sued should someone be injured while at your premises. Consider the amount of protection you need in case of damages to your unit from perils such a fire or theft. It's important to get the advice of a condo insurance broker who can help you to determine how much insurance you need.

What Do You Need To Insure With Condo Insurance?

Think about what you need to protect. An insured peril is an unexpected event that is accidental. You should insure the unit in case of damages such as fire, theft and other perils. Do you have expensive jewellery? An expensive bike? Do you want extra coverage for art? What is the value of your expensive belongings? How much personal liability coverage should you have? A condo insurance broker will discuss coverage options that are suited for your individual needs.

Is Ontario Condo Insurance Purchased By The Condominium Corporation Enough?

No, the condominium corporation’s policy does not cover your personal insurance needs as a condo owner. There is no coverage in the corporation’s policy for your personal unit, the belongings inside it or your personal third-party liability.  In order to protect your personal belongings inside your unit, you require personal condo insurance coverage. A condo insurance broker can assist with this. 

Do Condo Owners Need Condo Insurance For Common Areas That May Exist In Your Building?

The condominium corporation’s insurance covers the building and common areas within the building—such as hallways, pools, fitness rooms, party rooms, elevators, recreational facilities and other areas that may be part of the building (the roof, for example). The corporation’s policy typically covers property losses and liability.

Your condo policy should include 'Common Elements Loss Assessments' to provide for your portion of a claim should one occur.

Does Personal Ontario Condo Insurance Provide Coverage For Personal Liability Losses That May Occur While Others Are In Your Unit?

A typical personal condo insurance policy includes personal liability coverage. Often $1 million or $2 million in liability coverage is provided. It is a good idea to purchase $2 million in liability protection. The additional coverage typically costs only $10 to $20 more per year, and you receive an additional $1 million in liability protection. This is a small amount to pay for vastly more coverage, especially when you consider that liability awards—which can involve lawyers and the courts—can be very expensive. More details on liability insurance are provided later in this article.

Does Ontario Condo Insurance Cover The Possessions In My Unit?

Yes, your personal items (such as furniture, appliances, art, jewellery, camera equipment and computers) are covered by a condo insurance policy. There are limits to the coverage provided for some expensive belongings such as jewellery, art, sports equipment and other high-value items. You can purchase extra coverage—these are called endorsements—to provide protection for these kinds of items so you can recover their replacement value. Be sure to talk to a condo insurance broker about standard coverages on condominium policies to determine if you need additional coverage to meet your lifestyle needs.

These are just a few of the important questions that you should get answers to before you purchase Ontario condo insurance. Be sure to speak with a qualified condo insurance broker to get answers to all of your questions before purchasing a policy.

Some Ontario Condo Insurance Terms You Should Know

There are a lot of terms, coverages, limits, enhancements and exclusions that may make Ontario condo insurance feel like a confusing hassle. The best thing you can do to make sense of it and get your condo protected is to speak to a condo insurance broker. A broker will make the process quick and easy. He or she will explain your options and provide expert advice.

Personal Liability Coverage

Personal liability coverage protects you in case of property damage or bodily injury to others when inside your unit. We strongly advise that you get as much liability coverage as you can afford. When a claim advances to court, legal rulings can far exceed $1 million. In these cases, the condo owner would be required to pay for the difference between the liability coverage stipulated in the condo insurance policy and the amount of the court ruling.

Translation: If you are found liable for $1.5 million in damage and only have $1 million in liability coverage, the condo owner (the insured) must pay the additional $500,000 out of their own pocket.

The additional cost to increase your coverage from $1 million to $2 million in liability coverage is very reasonable—usually $10 to $20 more per year. The extra liability protection you receive for this small additional cost makes additional liability coverage a wise investment.

Here are a few examples of when liability coverage can protect you financially in the event of damage or bodily injury:

  • A visitor to your home trips while in your unit and breaks their hip.
  • Construction workers in your unit damage your neighbor’s wall.
  • A friend slips on a rug in your condo and injures their back.

Deductible

A policy deductible is the amount you will have to pay to cover a claim before the insurance company pays for losses covered in the policy. For example, if your deductible is $1,000 and you have a loss for $3,000, you will pay your deductible of $1,000 and the insurance company will pay $2,000.

Personal Belongings

Personal belongings include items such as a washing machine, dryer, TV, computer, sofa, clothing and similar items possessions inside your condo. Make sure you have enough contents protection to permit you to replace these items should they be lost due to a covered peril. As is the case with property insurance policies, you may want to film a video of your possessions so you have a record of your personal items in your condo.

How Does Personal Condo Insurance Work?

Getting condo insurance in Ontario begins with reaching out to a broker and sharing some details about your condo, your lifestyle and the amount of protection you need. A broker can help you to determine how much insurance you may want to have. If you require additional protection, extra optional coverage is available. The broker will provide details about your condo and your insurance needs to several insurance companies to get a tailored quote for you. Not all insurance companies provide the same coverages or prices. A broker will go through the insurance quotes with you and answer any questions you may have. You will then be able to choose which condo insurance policy best meets your needs.

What Does Condo Insurance Cover?

Condo insurance covers your property and liability. Property coverage includes losses to your condo, any upgrades made to the unit and the contents. It also provides additional living expenses if you are unable to live in your condo while repairs are made following an insured loss. Liability coverage includes damages or losses to others while inside your condo, regardless of whether you are present at the time of the loss or not. You are also covered for items in a locker if you have one in your condo building. This is because your locker is considered to be part of your insured unit. Find information about some more specific coverages below.

Unit Betterments And Improvements Protection

Your condo corporation’s master insurance policy covers the building and common areas. It doesn’t provide coverage for any upgrades made by you or any previous owners in your unit. Betterments and improvements coverage is an important coverage included on a condo policy.

It's important to note that some companies automatically offer a separate limit for this coverage, whereas others require you to include the amount into the content limit. Any betterments and improvements done to the unit (whether from the previous owner or by the current owner) must be accounted for in order to have coverage. Even something as simple as a new coat of paint is considered part of betterments and improvements. Should a loss occur, the condo board will only replace what was original to the unit when it was first built.

Loss Assessment Protection

Occasionally the condo corporation may assess all of the unit owners an amount—a special assessment—to cover significant repairs to the condominium building if it has been damaged and the condo corporation insurance policy is not adequate. If that happens, there is a special assessment levied on all the condo owners. The Loss Assessment endorsement is a special endorsement that is included under your Condo Policy. Your Morison condo insurance broker is happy to discuss the limit options available.

Personal Property Protection

Your condo policy will also provide coverage for all of your personal belongings at your chosen limit. This includes your furniture, clothing and electronics. Make sure to discuss any special coverage limits on contents that may be applicable with your condo Insurance broker at Morison Insurance

What Does Ontario Condo Insurance Not Cover?

Every policy has exclusions that condo insurance purchasers should be aware of. Common exclusions are wear and tear, maintenance and some types of water damage. Other exclusions may include:

  • Business pursuits or any business use of the premises except as provided under “Business And Business Property"
  • Bodily injury or property damage caused by any intentional or criminal act or failure to act
  • War, invasion, act of a foreign enemy, hostilities, civil war, rebellion, revolution, insurrection or military power

It is important to know what is and what is not covered by your condo policy. An expert condo insurance broker can help review your coverage options.

A special note about those who may be using their unit for Airbnb uses: you need to tell your condo insurance broker about this use, otherwise a loss may be denied by the insurance company.

Also note that if you are renting a condo or you are renting a portion of your condo to a roommate, the renter will be covered by the commercial insurance policy for the building but they should have tenants’ or renters’ insurance to cover their own contents. You, as a condo owner, should tell your broker if you are renting all or a portion of your premises.

What Does Condo Insurance In Ontario Cost?

Condo insurance typically costs about $30 per month or $360 per year before taxes. Be aware that if you have more things you want to insure, the cost will increase. Condo insurance is generally much less expensive than most home insurance policies. Some factors that come into play when determining your condo insurance premium are how much your personal possessions are worth, how old your building is, your insurance history and your claims history.

Below are two condo insurance profiles with policy prices for four Ontario communities. Details are provided for general information only.

Scenario #1: Retired couple - 65 years old - $75,000 in contents - insured for 25 years - no claims - mortgage free - multi-policy home insurance discount included.

Condo Location

Condo Insurance Price (Annually)

Toronto, Ontario

$391 plus tax

Oakville, Ontario

$376 plus tax

Hamilton, Ontario

$301 plus tax

Kitchener, Ontario

$263 plus tax

 

Scenario #2: Two occupants – 30 years old - $75,000 in contents - no claims – one mortgage – multi-policy discount included.

Condo Location

Condo Insurance Price (Annually)

Toronto, Ontario

$450 plus tax

Oakville, Ontario

$398 plus tax

Hamilton, Ontario

$410 plus tax

Kitchener, Ontario

$356 plus tax

How Can I Save On Ontario Condo Insurance?

There are several ways to save on your condo coverage. Here are some of the more popular ways to save:

  • Increase your deductible. This can lower your premium. With a higher deductible, you are agreeing to pay more of the initial costs if you have a claim. From the insurance company’s point of view, you are reducing their potential costs in the event of a claim, so they reduce the premium.
  • Maintain a good claims record. Fewer claims will help to lower your premium.
  • Buy in a newer building. There is a lower likelihood of losses in a new building.
  • Bundle your policies with one company. When you bring several insurance policies to one company, you will often lower your costs.
  • Speak with a condo insurance broker. They can help you to get all of the condo insurance savings you qualify for.

Is Condo Insurance Different Than Homeowners Insurance?

Condo insurance is different from homeowners’ insurance in several ways. Homeowners insurance covers the home, outbuildings, property and liability. Condo insurance covers the unit and the contents, and provides liability coverage.

Who Pays The Condo Insurance Deductible?

The insured person pays the deductible on an Ontario condo insurance policy.

5 Benefits To Condo Living

  1. No more outside chores. Yay! Someone else gets to shovel snow, cut the grass, repair the building, clean the windows.
  2. Amenities aplenty. Fitness room? Pool? Party room? Party patio? Condos can offer super amenities.
  3. Share the costs. No more roof repairs to pay for all on your own. Maintenance costs are covered by the collective—every unit owner contributes through their condo fees.
  4. Location. You can be right in the heart of an urban area and have your oasis of calm. How serenely perfect is that?
  5. Greater security. Often condominium high-rises have 24-hour concierge and security services.

How Can I Buy Condo Insurance?

You can buy condo insurance from Morison Insurance. We are an award-winning team of insurance professionals who help many condo owners to get personalized policies. Your protection is our top priority. Get started today by calling 1-800-463-8074 or by filling out the contact form on our website.

 

 

This content is written by our Morison Insurance team. It is provided for general information only. Insurance needs differ from person to person, and this article is therefore not a substitute for professional advice about your individual insurance needs which can be obtained by speaking to one of our brokers.

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