Many Canadians are opting for a condominium lifestyle these days. While there are many similarities to house ownership, there are certainly some additional perks. Condos are often more affordable than houses, and they require less maintenance! There’s no snow to shovel, no grass to mow, and someone else to keep the hallways and lobbies clean.
As with any living space, there are always risks, and with condominium buildings, there are even more. Condo buildings are more susceptible to extensive damage, such as a fire spreading through several units. So just like homeowners, condominium owners want to feel safe and protected in their homes, and having condominium insurance can do just that.
Do I need fire insurance for my condo?
There are two types of condominium insurance. While the condo corporation has one to protect the common areas of the building, it does not protect your unit. As such, you need to have your own condominium insurance to safeguard your home and belongings from unexpected events, such as a fire.
Fire insurance is an essential part of your condo insurance. Condo owners are at a greater risk of experiencing a fire because of their close proximity to their neighbours. If a fire starts in one unit, it is likely to spread and affect other units. Plus, neighbouring units are still at risk for smoke and water damage even if the fire is put out before it spreads. So, while fire insurance is not mandatory, it is certainly worth the peace of mind it brings.
You can also purchase additional fire insurance or as a separate policy if necessary. Talk to your insurance representative if you think you need additional coverage.
What are the essentials of a fire insurance policy?
Personal Liability Insurance
This insurance policy protects you in the event that you cause bodily injury or property damage to another person, such as a neighbour or visitor. Because you are so close to your neighbours, the risks are far greater than if you lived in a standalone house. If a fire were to start in your unit and spread to other units, this would cover the costs to repair and restore those units.
Personal Property Insurance
Also known as contents insurance, this policy helps you replace all of your personal belongings within your unit if they get damaged or lost in a fire, such as:
- Electronics (e.g., TV, laptop, desktop computer, phone, tablet, etc.)
- Media (e.g., DVDs, books, records, etc.)
Some policies also include items in a storage unit, so make sure you confirm whether yours is covered.
Loss of Use Insurance
In the event that a fire displaces you temporarily while it’s being rebuilt, this policy will help cover your additional living expenses, such as:
- Short and long-term rentals (e.g., hotel fees, motel fees, etc.)
- Food costs above what you would typically spend
- Travel costs above what you would typically spend (e.g. more gas for commuting to work)
- Storage costs (e.g., temporary storage unit for belongings that weren’t damaged)
- Moving costs
It may also cover the cost of boarding any pets, so if you own any, be sure to confirm whether this is included.
Ensure you find out what your policy limit is for additional living expenses. As a condo owner, you may be displaced longer than if you lived in a standalone house because the repairs are generally more complex in a multi-unit dwelling. You will want to make sure you have enough coverage so that you don’t run out of money before your unit is fixed.
What is not covered by fire insurance?
Some High-Value Items
Generally, high-value items, such as certain jewelry, designer bags, art and other collectables, are not covered by fire insurance. As such, if your condo catches fire, standard fire insurance will not cover the replacement cost of these items. If you owe a lot of high-value items, you’ll want to look into getting additional insurance.
Arson, Illegal Activity, Fraudulent Activity
If it’s determined that the fire was intentionally set or is a result of illegal activity, your fire insurance policy will likely not approve your claim. You also may not be covered if it’s discovered that you lied about your claim or provided false or misleading information about it.
A Vacant Unit
If your condo will be or has been sitting vacant for more than 30 days, there’s a possibility your policy won’t cover you in the event of a fire. Below are some examples:
- You are in the process of selling your unit and have already moved out
- You recently purchased the condo but haven’t moved in yet
- You are away travelling or on vacation
- You rent out your condo, and it’s in between tenants
- Your condo is currently undergoing renovations
You may want to consider adding on vacant condo insurance if any of these apply.
Are accidental fires covered by condo insurance?
Yes. Your condo insurance policy will cover fire damage costs as long as the fire is declared accidental. Your condo corporation’s insurance policy typically covers structural damage costs, as well as damage to the building’s common areas, while your condo insurance policy will protect your unit, belongings and personal liability.
What is considered an accidental fire in condo insurance?
An accidental fire is an unexpected and sudden fire that was not caused by something preventable. Common causes of an accidental fire include the following:
- Kitchen fires
- Gas leaks
- Faulty electrical wiring
- Faulty appliances
Comprehensive fire insurance coverage with Oracle RMS
Getting condo insurance is easy with Oracle RMS. Plus, knowing you are protected in the event of a fire can give you the peace of mind you need. As your condominium company’s insurance will not cover your unit specifically if it is damaged in a fire, having condo insurance will protect you from financial responsibility for the damages. Get a free condominium insurance quote from our trusted insurance partners today.