Condo Master Policy in New Hampshire
What is a Condo Master Policy?
A condo master insurance policy refers to the insurance needed by a condo association that typically covers the entire building structure(s) as well as shared areas, like the roof, walkways, parking lots and elevators for both physical damage as well as liability protection.
As condominium associations usually are responsible for the common areas of their complexes, they would need to secure master condo insurance in the name of the association.
Because master policies can be complicated, associations should consult with an agency experienced in insuring such risks, like HPM Insurance. Experience matters as a condo association can be as small as a two-family condex, or as large as a sprawling complex with multiple high-rises and hundreds of residents.
Which Condominium Associations in New Hampshire Need Condo Association Insurance?
Condominium associations in New Hampshire need to have condo association insurance in place. Without insurance, or the right insurance, recovering from a major disaster or lawsuit can devastate an association's financial reserves. In some cases, an association may even be forced to levy a large assessment to unit owners in order to cover the costs.
If Unit Owners Have Condominium Insurance, Does the Association Still Need a Master Policy?
Absolutely! A condo policy for an individual will typically only respond to just the unit insured, and not common areas. If there is not a master policy in place, and wind causes damage to the roof, the individual's condo policy would not likely pay the claim given a roof covers the entire building, over multiple units, and not just the single unit.
If an Amazon delivery person slips on the stairs leading up to the building and is a common area, a master policy would need to be in place to cover the potential liability and defense costs.
Given a unit owner can not always control what happens in common areas, a master policy is essential.
If there is a Master Condo Policy, Why Do Unit owner's Need Insurance?
A condo master policy typically protects the liabilities and property owned by the condo association, as indicated in the association's bylaws. These documents ordinarily show which part of the unit is owned by the association (like original fixtures, flooring and wall coverings) and what is owned by the unit owner (like upgrades to the unit, cabinets, built-ins or flooring.)
The details of the bylaws matter and the master policy should reflect such. It is critical to have an understanding of where coverages align and where there may be some gaps as these can often be filled with an individual condo policy.
Say, for instance, you purchase a condo unit and don't bother to take out a condo policy in your name because you skimmed the bylaws and feel the master policy is adequate. If you had a small kitchen fire that damaged your granite counters, oak cabinets and hardwood floors, you might be sorry to learn that the master policy will provide minimal coverage (if any.) Perhaps the bylaws were written to have the master policy cover studs out, so nothing on the interior, or maybe the bylaws only cover the permanent fixtures originally built into the unit. As you sunk money into a kitchen renovation but did not notify the association, again, you may be stuck paying for repairs.
Another reason why every unit owner needs a condo unit policy is that they need liability and personal property coverage. A master policy would most likely never cover the personal property of a unit owner. The same holds with personal liability coverage. How could an association be responsible for any number of actions done by unit owners, within their own homes, not to mention outside the condo complex?
What Common Areas Does Condo Association Insurance Cover?
Depending on the association's bylaws and a policy’s specific terms and conditions, condo association insurance may be adapted to cover a wide range of common areas. A particular policy might help protect:
- Fences, landscaping, courtyards and outdoor walkways
- Entryways, foyers, stairwells, elevators, and hallways
- Pools, exercise centers, business centers, and community rooms
- Shared walls between units and exterior walls
- Maintenance sheds and utility rooms
If a complex has a particularly unique common area, a knowledgeable agent can help look for coverage that will adequately protect the area.
How Much Do Condo Master Policies Cost?
Condo master policies vary in price as their premiums are based on multiple factors. Some of the thing insurers may consider when setting rates include:
- The location of a complex
- The replacement cost of the complex
- The number of units
- The square footage
- What sorts of common areas a complex has
- The age and updates of the buildings
- Claims history
- Safety equipment (alarms, sprinklers)
Condo associations can find out how much a policy for their specific complex will cost by talking with an independent insurance agent. Independent agents aren’t linked to any one insurance company and can request quotes from multiple insurers. With their help, it’s easy to see how much different insurance companies will charge for certain coverages.
How Can Condo Associations in New Hampshire Get a Condo Master Policy?
For help finding a condo master policy that will give your condominium association robust protection, contact the independent insurance agents at HPM Insurance. Our agents have helped many associations throughout New Hampshire insure condominium complexes, and we’re ready to work with your association in finding a robust and affordable policy.