Condominium ownership and rental are popular housing styles in the United States. Because they offer both the affordability and flexibility of apartment-style living with the increased privacy and personalization options of single family home dwelling, condos attract people from all walks of life. The same features that set them apart from both apartments and houses also raise unique challenges in insuring them against damage and destruction, though – challenges that require specific insurance to cover. Here, we look at exactly why Floridian condominium residents should purchase South Florida condo insurance, and why some may actually be required to.
Condo Insurance: Tailored to Specific Needs
The first factor in understanding why you need condo insurance in South Florida rather than simply rental or homeowner’s insurance is knowing that condo insurance is tailored specifically to the needs of the condo owner. In a condominium – much like in a rental community- the outside of your residence, the halls or surrounding walkways, and all communal areas are owned and maintained by the property owner and staff or community association members. These areas are also insured by these same individuals or groups.
The problem is, the items inside the individual residences are not insured. Everything you can see from inside your home – and perhaps even the exterior, depending on how your community is constructed – are your responsibility once you sign your financing paperwork to purchase your home. Having condo insurance ensures that your individual residence within the community and all of your possessions will be protected in the event of an emergency.
In South Florida in particular, flooding is very common. While it’s great to remain optimistic that your upper-floor condominium will never be affected or damaged by flooding, it isn’t practical in a state so prone to ocean-related weather problems. Condo insurance in South Florida sometimes includes additional coverage for flooding, which is something you won’t find in most homeowner’s policies. It’s also something that most financing companies require in this state.
The Law of the Lender
While protection for your residence is the obvious reason for choosing to invest in South Florida condo insurance, another, perhaps less-obvious motivator is that your lender may not offer you financing for your home without it. South Florida faces unique weather challenges that make living without property insurance a dangerous gamble. For those hoping to get help with financing a new condominium-style home, most lenders will require condo insurance. This protects your new home – and your lender’s investment in it.
Also, understand that there are two basic types of coverage levels when it comes to condo insurance. These two types are “bare walls” coverage and “all in” insurance. Bare walls coverage is so named because it covers the structure of your condominium, from the exterior walls inward. All in coverage is much more comprehensive, covering fixtures and major contents of your home, giving you more protection against casualty. Be sure to discuss which type of coverage your lender or condo association require and whether they recommend adding additional insurance for your belongings and valuables.
Keeping up with the Condo Association
Are you interested in joining your community condo association? If you are purchasing a condominium in certain areas, you may not have a choice in the matter. Regardless of if you’re joining for the benefits or simply signing up by default, many Florida condo associations require members to hold a South Florida condo insurance policy.
What does being part of the condominium association offer you? That depends on the community in which you reside, but just a few of the most common advantages of belonging include:
- Improved property maintenance when compared to those that are managed by residents alone.
- Access to amenities, such as pools, spas, gyms, dog parks, play areas, and more.
- Higher standards for residents to live and maintain their homes by, creating safer, more beautiful communities.
- Increased protection from crime when compared to communities where residents are responsible for reporting issues alone.
- Quicker response to problems such as the need for repairs, etc.
- Rules and regulations that guide you in the upkeep of your home and help to give more uniform appearances to homes, making them easier to sell should you choose to relocate.
As mentioned above, most condo associations do not welcome membership or residence by a person who is unwilling to purchase South Florida condo insurance, so be sure that you have a policy in place the day you move in. This will prevent problems and help you make a seamless transition into cool, comfortable South Florida condominium living!