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Condo insurance

As a condo owner, you’re purchasing a unit that is part of a larger building. Insuring the dwelling or structure of that building isn’t your responsibility as the condo association has a policy to cover that property.

However, the condo association’s policy stops where your unit begins. Your condo insurance is a type of homeowner’s coverage for the inside of your unit and its contents. Besides covering your personal belongings, it will protect things your condo association doesn’t insure, like your fixtures, flooring, or any modifications you make to the condo.

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Do I need condo insurance?

You need condo insurance if you belong to a condominium association. If you’re in the process of buying a condo, the association will verify that you have a policy that meets their requirements before closing the sale.

Anyone who owns a condo needs this type of coverage. Purchasing a unit is an important investment, and you need to protect this asset with the right insurance.

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What condo insurance can do for you

If you’re buying a condo with a mortgage you will be required to have condo insurance.

Condo insurance will provide you with peace of mind and better financial protection.

In the event of a fire, flood, or burglary, your personal policy will replace any stolen or damaged items. You will also get personal liability coverage that protects you from a costly lawsuit in case someone sustains an injury in your condo unit.

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Your responsibility

What you are responsible for insuring varies from one condo corporation to another, but during the sale of the condo, you will receive a detailed description of the unit you’re buying. This unit description will likely be what you’re responsible for covering.

You should also ask some questions about what the condominium association’s policy covers. For instance, some condominium corporations cover the bare walls, ceiling, and flooring. Any additions like kitchen cupboards, light fixtures, or even your bathtub are your responsibility. This detailed information should be available for you from your condo association before you make the purchase.

Any changes you make to the condo in the form of home improvement projects will be your responsibility to have covered as well.

Your condo corporation’s responsibility

Your condo corporation is going to insure your building’s shared areas. These areas typically include the building itself, the hallways, the stairs, and amenities like a gym or laundry room. As a rule of thumb, you can assume that anything outside of your unit is under the responsibility of the condo association.

However, there are cases where condo corporations purchase limited coverage for the shared areas. If damage occurs, your personal condo policy has a clause for loss assessment coverage that will kick in. This clause will fill in the gaps for what the condo corporation doesn’t cover and can provide coverage for things like roof, siding, hallways, landscaping, or parking if the condo has inadequate or no insurance for a loss, provided your policy does insure it.

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Condo insurance coverage in Alberta

Condo coverage varies from one condo corporation to another, so it’s important to get that information from the condominium association when you’re looking at purchasing. Then you’ll have a good idea of where your own condo insurance needs to fill in and our insurance brokers can help you find the best policy for you.

Some policies will cover temporary living expenses if you need to evacuate, or your unit becomes uninhabitable due to a claim. The best condo insurance has add-on options for improvements and betterments as well as loss assessment coverage or even more depending what kind of coverage you’re looking for.

Liability

Communal living comes with added risk. If you cause a loss, you’re more likely to affect the people living around you – or even the entire building. And if you’re found responsible for the loss of the entire building, it could leave you in financial ruin. You get $2 million automatically in personal liability coverage to protect you when you’re at fault, or when you’re deemed responsible for property damages or injuries sustained by others, but you’ll want to check with the condo board or your mortgage company to see if there’s a minimum of liability coverage required by them. 

Liability coverage is the bare minimum amount of coverage you can have for a property. Your condo board or lender will probably require more, but you’ll want to check with both to see if there’s a minimum of liability coverage you need. Liability is your legal responsibility to pay for damages and medical expenses if someone gets hurt on your property. 

Your unit’s interior and private enclosures

Condo insurance covers the costs to replace or repair property within your unit. You may be able to file a complaint if a pipe bursts and causes water damage. Or if a hailstorm breaks your window and ruins part of your unit or private outdoor areas. 

You can elect specific amounts of coverage for the personal property you keep in your home. This amount will depend on what type of personal property you have, such as fine jewelry and electronics. You’ll need to estimate what it would cost for you to replace your personal belongings for your insurance agent. 

It’s important to adjust this coverage as the value of your personal items changes. For example, if you buy a computer, more electronics, or fine art. 

Improvements and betterments

Improvements and betterments are upgrades and enhanced features you’ve added to your unit since you’ve owned it. This portion of your insurance policy also covers upgrades made to your unit by any previous owners. 

Most builders of condominiums provide standard features to owners that are covered in the base selling price of the unit. When owners decide to add upgrades during the building process or after they’ve moved in, insurance policies need to account for the unit’s increased value. 

A home with upgraded kitchen appliances, cosmetic improvements, and other features that aren’t found in other units often justifies a higher resale price. Consequently, if your unit sustains damage or is destroyed, your policy will need to reimburse you accordingly. A policy typically covers what it would cost you to find a similar replacement home with identical or “like” features. 

Contingent and loss assessment

While your condo association takes out a master policy for the entire building covering hazards to the exterior and common areas, it may not be enough. This is where contingent and loss assessment coverage comes in. As an individual unit owner, you will get this important coverage included in your policy with the option to increase the automatic amounts of coverage if needed. 

The added coverage helps you pay for damages and losses to areas that impact your unit that would normally fall under your association’s coverage.

Deductible buy up

This coverage is there for you to help with assessments made against you by your condo board where the damage does not exceed the condominium board’s deductible. This coverage is provided automatically with a base coverage, check with your condo board to see what their deductible is and additional coverage can be purchased to top your policy up if needed. 

What condo insurance does not cover in Alberta

There is no point in purchasing coverage that overlaps with the insurance policy of your condo association. As a result, your personal condo insurance policy won’t cover anything that the condo corporation is responsible for.

Just like with any other homeowner’s insurance policy, your condo insurance policy will exclude a lot of things that aren’t the result of an unexpected event. The primary purpose of home or condo insurance is to protect you from unforeseen events.

Therefore, your insurance policy won’t cover things like normal wear and tear that result in damage to your home. You won’t be able to file a claim for rust or mold since you can prevent these things with proper condo maintenance.

The same applies to damage caused by animals. You can prevent this type of damage with proper pest control, which is why insurance companies won’t cover it.

Another thing your policy won’t cover is your vehicle. Even though you park it on the property, the best way to protect it is to purchase an auto insurance policy.

Review your policy with us to know exactly what yours includes and excludes.

Insurance companies that we work with to find you to the best condo insurance:

      

Factors that affect the cost of condo insurance

The price range for condo insurance is fairly wide because there are many different factors that insurance companies look at to calculate your premiums.

Your insurance company might set a higher premium based on the following things:

  • Previous claims
  • The location of your condo
  • Age of your condo
  • Your age
  • The value of the unit
  • Your coverage amount

Factors that decrease the cost of condo insurance

Here are some factors that can lower your condo insurance policy premiums:

  • No claims history
  • Loyalty discounts
  • Safety or security measures like alarm systems
  • Your age
  • Increasing your deductible 
  • Annual or automated payment discounts
  • Your credit score

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Submitting a condo insurance claim with Knight Archer

Purchasing your condominium insurance policy through a broker makes things easier. Our brokers can help you find the best condo insurance for your budget, and they can also assist you if you ever need to file a claim.

If there is damage to your unit or belongings or you run into a situation where the condo association’s policy doesn’t cover damage, you’ll have to file a claim with your insurer:

  • Your first step should be to reach out to your broker. They will act as a go-between.

  • Be ready to describe the nature and extent of the damage. You might also have to explain how the damage occurred.

  • Gather proof of how the damage occurred. You will usually have to take photographs of the damaged areas or items.

  • Your broker will contact your insurance company and inform them that you need to file a claim.

  • The insurance company will get back to you, and an agent will help you with the process of filing a claim.

  • Your insurance provider might need additional information from you. You might have to submit documents to support your claim, such as receipts to prove the value of the items you want to replace.

  • The insurance company will review the claim and assess the extent of the damage.

  • You will then have to pay a deductible, and the insurance company will issue a payment so you can get your condo fixed or replace the damaged or stolen items.

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Get a condo insurance quote

We have many years of experience working with condo owners and can help you review what your condominium association’s policy protects and identify the areas your personal condo policy should cover. We’ll help you find the best rate for your condominium insurance policy and provide additional assistance if you ever need to file a claim or have questions.

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If you prefer in-person or over the phone, you can always chat with one of our account executives. 

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