Condo Insurance in Massachusetts

What is Condo Insurance?

Owning a condominium unit is a unique situation, and it creates unique insurance needs. Condominium owners typically need less insurance than homeowners yet more than renters, and their coverage requirements can differ slightly from those of both homeowners and renters. Condo insurance policies give Massachusetts condominium owners access to the particular insurance protections that they need.

Condo insurance is an important protection that most condominium owners should carry. Without a policy, owners can be dangerously without protection against a host of perils.

What Does “HO-6” Stand For?

Condominium unit owners often come across “HO-6” when searching for insurance. This is an abbreviation that’s used within the insurance industry to identify a specific type of condominium insurance policy that provides a standard set of protections. Similar abbreviations are used for other kinds of homeowners policies. (Condominium insurance is often technically considered a specialized form of homeowners insurance.)

In addition the “HO-6,” there are several other abbreviations that condominium owners might see in policies. Two that owners should be familiar with are::

  • “HO-32,” which is normally for more robust open-perils policies

  • “HO-35,” which is normally for “loss assessment coverage”

Loss assessment coverage might help pay a unit owner’s portion of the condominium association policy’s deductible if there’s a claim filed against the association's master policy. 

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What Coverages Do Condominium Insurance Policies Offer?

Generally speaking, condominium insurance policies offer three main coverages:

  • Structural Coverage, which might offer protection for a condominium itself

  • Personal Property Coverage, which might offer protection for a unit owner’s belongings

  • Personal Liability Coverage, which might offer protection against some liability suits

Along with these three coverages, some policies may offer additional protections. For example, policies might add HO-35 loss assessment coverage or other coverages.

While this is broadly true, the exact coverages that a policy has can vary. Therefore, unit owners should review their policy carefully to make sure the policy offers all the protections they need.

Do Condo Policies Cover Earthquakes and Floods?

The majority of condo policies exclude earthquakes and floods from the perils they cover. A few policies may include protections for these events, but most condominium unit owners that want earthquake and/or flood coverage will need to purchase a separate policy.

Earthquake insurance is typically purchased on the open market. Flood insurance might be purchased on the open market or through the National Flood Insurance Program. To purchase through the NFIP, a condominium owner’s property must qualify for the program.

Who in Massachusetts Needs a Condo Policy?

Anyone who owns a condominium unit in Massachusetts should consider getting a condo policy. This includes:

  • Residents who live in a condominium

  • Residents who use a condominium as a second home

  • Landlords who lease condominiums

  • Students who purchase a condominium

Often, condominium owners are required by their association’s bylaws and/or their loan’s stipulations to carry a condo policy.

What Factors Affect a Condo Policy’s Premiums?

Insurance companies take into account many different factors when determining a condo policy’s premiums. Some of the items they might consider include the:

  • Location of a condominium

  • Size of a condominium

  • Number of units in a condominium complex

  • Coverages selected for the policy

  • Past claims history of the condominium unit owner

How Can Condominium Owners in Massachusetts Get Condo Insurance?

A condo policy should be chosen so that it covers whatever an association’s master policy doesn’t without duplicating any coverages the master policy does afford. To do this, it’s necessary to carefully review an association’s master policy prior to comparing condo policies.

For help with this process, condominium unit owners in Massachusetts should talk with an independent insurance agent who specializes in condo insurance. Such an agent will know what to look for in a master policy and how to select a condo policy based on the master policy protections (or lack thereof). The agent will know what options are available, which type of condo policy will be best suited for the situation and how to compare condo policies of that type.

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