Do you need Homeowner’s Insurance for Condos?

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An Interesting Note about Condo Insurance

I get the question often – why do I need personal/condo/tenant insurance when the condo building has insurance?

Well, the answer is both simple and complicated.

NOTE: I am not an insurance provider. This post serves as a reminder to get insurance. For more information about an insurance policy that fits your needs, contact a licensed professional.

First, you need home owner’s insurance to protect your things against something unexpected, i.e. they’re ruined or robbed.

Second, you need home owner’s insurance to protect against damage to the rest of the building that you caused, intentionally or not. This could be anything from leaving the water in the bathtub which ends up flooding the units below you, to a cooking fire that leads to the sprinklers being turned on and some fire damage, to a dishwasher leak causing damage to the ceiling and floor of the unit below you. If you, as an owner, are responsible for a certain part of the condo building (which always includes the inside of your own unit. See your building bylaws for more) then you are responsible for the costs should these items cause damage.

I was reading through the Strata Documents for a condo building today and noticed an interesting bit of information. The building was a high rise, about 9 years old and from what I could gather from the Strata Meeting Minutes, the building was very well managed with an attentive strata and knowledgeable property manager.

In one set of meeting minutes, it was noted that one owner was using too much laundry detergent, which was bordering on a bigger issue for the building. The Strata reminded residents of the following:

Residents are reminded that when doing laundry, do not overuse the soap detergent as the suds or foam may restrict the flow of water down the drain pipes.

Every time the washer is in use, the pump action will force the suds or foam and water upward and may exit through the largest pipe (namely the toilet) in units 2 or 3 levels above, which may result in unexpected flooding to the units.

When replacing your old washing machine, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to use a particular type of high efficiency liquid laundry soap to prevent generated excessive suds or foam (the liquid soap detergent will be marked with a symbol “he” for high efficiency, indicting it is safe for all washers).

Thank you for your attention and anticipated co-operation. 

This type of damage would likely be charged back to the owner where the issue originated. If the owner has proper insurance, their insurance should cover the damage (though the owner may need to pay a deductible).

Let this be a reminder to you to ensure that your insurance is correct for your lifestyle and your condo’s insurance policy. You can get your condo’s insurance policy from the Strata/Property Manager (it is also typically attached to the most recent AGM Minutes). Take policy to your insurance provider to ensure that your personal insurance is thorough enough to cover a variety of potential issues.