Condo Insurance in Massachusetts
Among the many things to plan for when buying a condo in MA will be insurance. Whether you are a first-time buyer or not, securing the right policy is essential to protect you from significant losses if anything unwanted happens to your home.
As a condo unit owner, you should be covered by two insurance policies:
- Condo Association Coverage (HOA Insurance or Master Policy) which insures the exterior of the building and common areas
- Personal Condo Unit Insurance (HO-6 Policy) insures everything inside your unit, including possessions and dwelling coverage for your unit’s structure.
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What is condo insurance?
If you own a condo, you may be familiar with a master policy, but may not know about HO-6 condo insurance. Condo insurance ( also called an HO-6 policy) provides coverage for your personal property and protection against liability claims. It can also be used to cover structures already installed in your condo that aren’t covered by your master policy. Typically, condo unit owners seek this coverage to fill gaps in coverage from the condo master insurance policy.
The HO-6 is similar to a regular homeowner’s policy as it offers you coverage for your unit, personal property, and personal liability. It also covers loss of use, which reimburses you hotel expenses if your unit becomes uninhabitable. Despite not being the entire condo building owner, you can still take charge by protecting your personal unit.
Why do I need It?
A condo insurance policy provides coverage for things not protected by your Condo Association Master Insurance Policy. Indeed, the amount of coverage you need can vary widely depending on your Master Policy coverage.
Staying in a condo comes with unique living arrangements, which differ from your typical home set-up. When talking about condo insurance, it’s easy to confuse the master policy and the HO-6 policy. The condo master policy is taken out by your condo homeowner’s association (HOA) to protect common spaces that are shared among all unit owners. This HOA master policy will typically include exterior walls, the roof, and amenities.
While a master policy provides some protection, it comes in various coverage levels and does not protect each unit owner on an individual level. As such, you should learn about your HOA policy to know what is not covered. When it comes to protecting your unit and getting liability protection from injuries that may occur there, HO-6 condo insurance is what you need.
Who is it for?
Any unit owner who occupies or rents a residential condo should have an HO-6 policy. It is essentially a homeowner’s policy but tailored for condo unit owners, and designed for anyone living in a condo. Further, the policy provides coverage for possessions and protection against potential liability claims.
Although an HO-6 condo policy is not required by law, it is extremely beneficial since your association’s master policy is limited in coverage. Likewise, mortgage lenders may require you to get a condo policy if you are financing your unit since it acts as an added form of protection for their interests.
What does it cover?
A standard condo insurance policy covers perils similar to those covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy including fire, inclement weather, theft, and vandalism. Most policies cover the following:
- Your dwelling: The amount of coverage covered by your master policy is typically described as “bare walls” (only provides coverage outside the walls of your unit) or “all in” (provides coverage for permanently installed appliances and fixtures). Your HO-6 policy provides structural coverage.
- Additional structures: Outbuildings not connected to your condo that only you use, like a storage shed or garage, can also be protected by your condo insurance policy.
- Personal belongings: Coverage for your personal belongings is a major reason to purchase condo insurance since your master policy provides no coverage for those items. This coverage extends to the limits of your policy, and your agent can help you determine the amount of coverage you need.
- Personal liability expenses: If someone is injured while visiting your condo and takes legal action, personal liability coverage will help you take care of medical and legal expenses.
- Lastly, additional living expenses: If your condo is damaged and deemed uninhabitable, you could rack up significant expenses. Loss-of-use coverage provided by your HO-6 policy can pay for temporary living expenses.
The five inclusions mentioned above constitute standard condo insurance, which you may notice is almost a mirror of a homeowner’s HO3 policy. Some of the most significant inclusions that you will typically not find in your master policy would be a personal liability and additional living expenses as both are more tailored for individual unit owners.
With that said, it does not cover a few scenarios. Floods are one of the perils not included in the policy, so if your location tends to get flooded quickly, it will be best to get a flood insurance policy. Similarly, if you vacate your condo unit for a month or more, and if it is damaged during that time, your policy may also not cover the expenses.
How much does it cost?
After you determine how much insurance you need, the next logical question is, “How much does it cost?” Annual condo insurance rates in Massachusetts average $432, but this depends on several factors. The first will be your deductible or the amount you are willing to pay before your coverage kicks in. Higher deductibles will lead to lower premiums, but you have to be cautious not to set it too high as you may have difficulty shouldering the deductible cost in a claim.
Another factor will be your condo building. Insurance companies will typically assess the risk of incidents based on the security, location, and condition of where you are staying. Your premiums will essentially be calculated based on the perceived risk. If, say, your condo is newly-built, has a receptionist’s desk, and advanced security cameras, then your premiums will likely be lower.
Finally, your chosen coverage amount affects the cost of your insurance policy. Naturally, higher coverage will result in a higher insurance rate. However, when getting any form of insurance, you always want to be sure to get sufficient coverage. You may have to pay higher rates if you have many valuable belongings or prefer a higher amount.
Why choose LoPriore Insurance?
Here at LoPriore, we value our clients’ insurance needs and see to it that each of them finds the right policy. With our extensive network of insurance company partners, we can help easily compare policies until you see one that suits you best. Our team is dedicated to providing personalized services by listening to all your needs.
We understand that suitable insurance policies can vary from one person to another, so we take the time to learn about what you are looking for first. Contact any one of our independent agents today to learn about your insurance options. Our 24/7 service ensures that you can reach us at any time of the day.
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Condo Insurance FAQs
There are a variety of factors that go into determining the price of your condo insurance policy. Our experienced independent agents can help you use the following information to get the coverage you need at the best possible price.
- Your condo bylaws and what is covered by your master policy
- Amount of personal property you want to insure
- The type of building your unit is located in – including construction quality, updates, and safety features like sprinklers
- The deductible amount on your master policy
- If you need “walls in” coverage
Master policies provided by your condo association can vary widely. Some are very basic, only providing minimal “bare walls” coverage, while others are quite comprehensive with added coverages for additional protection. These added coverages may include directors and officer’s professional liability, employee dishonesty, water back up, etc. Deductibles vary from one policy to the next as well. If you have difficulty understanding your master policy coverage, we’d love helping you decipher the details.
Massachusetts law does not require you to have condo insurance. However, many lenders do require an HO-6 policy to obtain a mortgage. Some condo owners require a condo insurance policy as well. Most importantly, this policy will provide you with important coverage for your possessions and potential liability losses. A master policy or other insurance doesn’t provide you with this vital coverage.
There are some things that a standard condo insurance doesn’t cover. Perils such as flood damage and earthquake damage often aren’t covered. You also might require additional coverage for your most valuable personal possessions or wish to have additional liability coverage. You can purchase additional optional coverage like flood insurance, a personal articles policy, or personal umbrella insurance to fill potential gaps in your coverage.
Your condo insurance might provide some elements of coverage that will extend to your home business, like replacement for electronics damaged by a covered event. For the business coverage you need, you’ll likely want to seek a commercial policy like a Business Owner’s Policy or In Home Business insurance.
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