Condo insurance, much like car or health insurance, is a good thing to have. In Canada, it’s not illegal to go without, but it makes your life a lot easier if you have it. Some lending institutions may disqualify you without it, while landlords often insist their tenants have some form of it, as well. Here are some common myths about this type of insurance:
A condo board’s insurance will cover me too
While it’s true that in Canada a condo board is required to have insurance, this type of coverage only covers common areas of the building (like hallways and amenity spaces) and the exterior of the structure, like the siding and roof. If your unit is damaged by water or something else, the condo board’s insurance won’t cover it.
I can get condo insurance to cover renovations
Unless you’re replacing something that’s been damaged (and even this is subject to regulations), your insurance does not cover renovations or upgrades like new flooring or countertops. In fact, you’re responsible for informing your insurer of any new upgrades, and your premiums may reflect this.
My insurance will cover a sublet or short-term occupant
Read your policy carefully. Not all insurance policies cover damage to a unit if there is a visitor or a short-term occupant in it. If you’re thinking of cashing in on the Airbnb craze, for example, be aware that your policy might not be valid as long as someone else is the primary occupant.
If something happens—like a roof leak—and damages several units, the condo board will cover it
Remember, a condo board’s insurance only covers damage to the common areas of your building. Depending on the nature of the incident, your personal insurance company and that of the board might split the costs, but if you don’t have personal insurance, nothing in your own unit will be covered.
My insurance means any item that’s damaged will be replaced
This one depends on your provider and the policy itself. You might qualify for a replacement, but likely one that’s equal in value to the item you had previously. In come cases, you might not qualify for a replacement at all.