I own a townhouse. Do I really need all that coverage?

The difference in coverage between a condo, townhome, and single family home can get confusing. Does the homeowner’s association cover anything? Should my policy only cover personal property or also the structure? Who’s responsible if there’s a storm that damages the roof? A leaky pipe? It’s a lot to think about, so we thought it’d be a good idea to break down a few different scenarios and what type of insurance policy is needed for each. It’s important to note that you can figure out what ‘type’ of home you own by looking it up in the county records. Under property type, you’ll see either: condo, townhouse, duplex, or single family dwelling.

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Townhome. As far as insurance goes, a townhome is written just as a single family home would be written. A regular homeowner’s insurance policy (or dwelling fire policy, if the townhome is rented) would be written for this structure. Although a townhome is attached to other structures and there may be a homeowner’s association, there is no master insurance policy that takes care of the outside of the structure. Therefore, the townhome needs to be fully insured as a regular home.

Condo. If the home is reading as a ‘condo’ in the county records, it means the condo association has a master insurance policy with certain levels of coverage that adhere to the outside of the building. You and your neighbors are probably helping to pay for this master condo insurance policy with your monthly or yearly condo association fee. For homeowner’s insurance, a condo would be written under an HO-6 policy, which covers from the walls in. If the condo is rented out, it would still be written as an HO6, but the homeowner’s insurance company would be notified that a tenant would be living in the condo.

Duplex. While you may be paying a homeowner’s association fee for your duplex, the homeowner’s insurance would still be a full policy that covers the entire structure. Duplexes are not required to carry a condo insurance master policy with certain limits. Therefore, the homeowner’s insurance policy would be written on an HO-3 form or a DP-3 if the duplex is rented out.

Single Family Dwelling. A single family dwelling would always be written with a regular homeowner’s insurance policy or a dwelling fire policy if the structure is rented to a tenant. Under no circumstances would a single family dwelling be written as an HO-6, or condo, insurance policy. This would leave out the entire structure for coverage, causing big gaps and dangerously low coverage.

We hope this has cleared up the confusion of the types of homeowner’s insurance policies and what structures should be insured on which forms. Have questions or want to make sure your home is insured on the correct policy form? Give our office a call today! We’d love to help!


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