Today’s housing market has led to a boom in condo ownership. Condominiums have become the new starter home, as rising real estate prices have made other types of housing unaffordable for those not yet on the property ladder. There are also plenty of perks to condo ownership, and it fits many people’s lifestyles.
But condo ownership is not the exact same as homeownership. Instead of dealing with your own repairs when you need them, you have to pay condo fees along with your neighbors to maintain the building. Insurance also works differently.
If there is a fire in your condo or in your building, you’ll have to make a condo fire insurance claim. It works a little differently than with a house because the condo board is responsible for the structural insurance and repairs.
These are three tips you should have on hand if you need to make a condo fire insurance claim.
#1 Budget Your Expenses Carefully
One of the most expensive parts of a condo fire for you is going to be living somewhere else while repairs are made. You generally have to keep up with mortgage payments, condo fees, and property taxes, even if you’re unable to live in your condo. That means the cost of renting out another apartment will be added on top of all that.
Additional Living Expenses coverage in your insurance policy should help – but there’s a limit. Make sure you know what that limit is and keep your spending within it unless you’re prepared to pay out of pocket while you wait for repairs to be done.
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#2 Prepare to Wait
Filing an insurance claim on a multi-unit building and then following through with the repairs can be a lengthy process. If someone was at fault for causing the fire, the process could even take longer, as the insurance company may wait for a period of up to 2 years for all parties to file a suit before making payments.
Keep the complications in mind when you’re preparing a budget for your Additional Living Expenses.
#3 Work with Your Insurer on Lost Belongings
In a condo fire insurance claim, there will be two insurers. First, the condo board or corporation will have its own structural insurance. This is paid for through the fees that all owners pay, but the board will be the one dealing with the insurance company.
Your personal condo insurance covers your belongings, as well as costs related to the loss of use of your dwelling. Your personal insurance policy should cover everything lost to fire, smoke, and water damage left as the result of extinguishing efforts. That includes electronics, media (books, DVDs, Blu-Rays, records, etc.), clothing, linens, laptops and devices, artwork, and even dry and frozen foods. Anything that’s not permanently installed is considered Contents.
When it comes to fixtures and improvements that you’ve made within your unit, these should also be covered by your personal condo insurance rather than the board’s policy.
You will want to begin compiling a list of all of the items lost to damage in order to submit it to the insurance adjuster. Some people create a home inventory list when they get insurance to make sure that they have enough coverage. The more detail you can provide about your belongings, the better. Without specific descriptions and quantities, you still get Contents coverage, but you may have to provide receipts or proof of purchase as evidence of what you owned.
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