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What is HOA Insurance?

When you look online for a Homeowners Association Insurance package, there are many elements and options to consider. Getting the best level of cover, while still being able to offer value to the community is essential. Here, we discuss the typical types of insurance that a homeowner association should consider buying and explain what each offers.

What is HOA insurance?

Homeowners Insurance provides coverage for the con building, along with the main common areas that are owned by the HOA. A homeowner's insurance policy is paid for by the dues of the members. If you are a member of an HOA, you will usually payout for two types of insurance coverage; condo or home insurance and HOA insurance.

Does an HOA need to buy insurance?

Yes, an HOA needs to buy general liability coverage, and in most cases, there will also be a D&O policy in place. If you work as a trustee, employee, officer, director or perhaps a volunteer at a community homeowner association, there is always a chance that you could be held personally liable for the actions and decisions that are made on behalf of the association. 

What is an HOA insurance Master Policy?

This may also be referred to as a ‘Master Policy’ or ‘collective’ insurance policy, and it insures against a property loss to the common areas that belong to an HOA. This could include shared spaces such as the gym, tennis courts, swimming pool, and more.

A master HOA insurance policy is a form of liability and property insurance that the HOA will collectively pay for as part of their dues. HOA insurance can vary between co-op and condo associations. There are some HOA insurance providers that will provide coverage for individual condos, along with the shared spaces, and there are others which only offer a minimal amount of coverage to the shared areas only.

If you belong to an HOA, even though you will have an HOA master insurance policy in place, you will still need to buy your own home insurance policy to fill in any gaps in coverage and get protection for your personal liabilities and property.

What does an HOA insurance policy cover?

At the very least, an HOA insurance policy will provide coverage for the common areas and structures that are collectively owned by the HOA. As a member of the homeowners association, you will be covered for the following:

  • Property damage to the common areas and the building
  • Liability expenses – but this is only for the regions the HOA is responsible for

Please note, that not all HOA master policies will cover liabilities that relate to guest injuries in your property. Although some HOA insurance policies will offer this coverage, there are some which will not. This is why it is essential to check the schedule of coverage in the main HOA insurance policy.

HOA Insurance vs. Condo Insurance

If you own a condo, then in order to find out how much insurance you need to buy for your individual unit, you will need to review your individual master HOA insurance policy.

The main difference between a condo and HOA insurance policy is the coverage for your personal property. A master HOA policy will not offer coverage for your belongings. When you buy condo insurance, you should also ensure the policy includes:

  • Liability coverage
  • loss-of-use coverage
  • Dwelling coverage
  • Medical payments coverage
  • Loss assessment coverage

There are two core types of HOA property insurance:

All-in HOA Insurance

This type of HOA insurance will provide coverage for everything that is included in a bare walls-in policy. However, it offers additional coverage for a range of fixtures and fittings such as sinks, countertops, and built-in appliances. This will not provide you with coverage for any renovations that you make to your condo (for this, you will need to buy supplemental dwelling coverage as part of your HO-6 condo insurance policy).

Bare Walls-In HOA Insurance

This type of coverage will usually only insure the structure of the condo. It will include the plumbing, framing, drywall, wiring, and insulation.

What types of coverage should an HOA buy?

  1. General liability insurance
  2. Property insurance
  3. Social host liability insurance – applicable if the HOA has a clubhouse or similar
  4. D&O insurance
  5. Garage keeper insurance – if the HOA has a garage allowing non-member use
  6. Discrimination claims insurance – if the HOA can foreclose on residents, this is key
  7. Workers compensation insurance – if the HOA employs people, they will need this

If you want to buy a comprehensive HOA insurance policy, then you need to consider the value of purchasing the best insurance for your members and the property, compared with a lower cost, a lesser level of coverage. Speaking with an expert homeowner insurance company is the best way to make sure you get the right policy for your individual community needs.

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