April 2, 2019

Does My Condominium Complex’s Condo Association Insurance Cover Personal Property?

In most cases, both condominium associations and individual condo owners in Massachusetts purchase insurance policies. Although the types of policies that associations and individual owners purchase may be similar in some ways, they generally cover different items and provide different protections. Here’s a look at how personal property is typically treated by condo association insurance policies and condo owners insurance policies.

Is Personal Property Covered By My Massachusetts Condominium Complex’s Condo Association Insurance?

Insurance Policies Define Personal Property

Personal property coverage is a major protection that’s found in most condominium association insurance policies and condo owners insurance policies.

Every policy has its own definitions, terms and conditions that determine precisely what the policy considers personal property. Generally speaking, however, personal property is property that’s not part of a building itself, and isn’t permanently affixed or installed. It’s items that can be moved (although not necessarily easily).

Some examples of personal property may include:

  • Televisions, computers and speakers
  • Couches, tables, desks and chairs
  • Clothes, linens and towels
  • Storage totes, shelving, bungee cords and hand carts
  • Books, china, silverware and artwork

As mentioned, exactly what a policy considers personal property may vary, and policies will often limit coverage for or completely exclude certain types of personal property. Nevertheless, most condominium association policies and condo owners policies define personal property similarly — even if they provide vastly different coverage for items.

Condo Association Insurance Usually Covers Jointly Owned Personal Property

Condo association insurance policies are normally used to cover jointly owned personal property. The language included in policies is often something akin to property that’s “owned indivisibly by all unit-owners.” In other words, this is personal property that all condo owners technically own — but that can’t be separated out into each owner’s chairs.

To see how this definition might apply to some personal property, assume your Massachusetts condominium complex has a television in the foyer of its condo building. The television would likely be owned by all association members, or all condo unit owners. No one unit owner, however, could sell the television and pocket the money. Thus, the television is owned indivisibly by all unit owners.

Some other types of personal property that might be jointly and indivisibly owned by all condo unit owners are:

  • Computers and printers in business centers
  • Benches, desks and chairs in common areas
  • Pool chairs, pool toys and towels kept in a pool area
  • Exercise equipment and towels kept in an exercise room
  • Bungee cords and hand carts made available to unit owners
  • Artwork and decorations in common areas

In most situations, a well-chosen condominium association insurance policy would provide coverage for any property like this that an association has. (Of course, the condominium association insurance policy’s exclusions and limits must be written so that the policy affords plenty of coverage.

Condo Owners Insurance is Needed for Individually Owned Personal Property

What’s not usually covered by condominium association insurance policies is personal property that’s owned by an individual condo owner. Such items might include:

  • Furniture inside a condo unit
  • Clothes a condo owner has
  • Artwork a condo owner installs on their unit’s walls
  • Books a condo owner purchases
  • Computers and electronics a condo owner personally owns

Because items like these aren’t owned jointly by all association members, a condominium association insurance policy normally won’t extend protection to this personal property. Instead, a condo owners insurance policy is needed for this individually owned property. There are many condo owners policies that provide robust protection for condo owners’ property.

Work with an Independent Insurance Agent in Massachusetts

To make sure both your condominium associations’ personal property and your own personal property are fully insured, contact an independent insurance agent in Massachusetts. An independent insurance agent will be able to review what types of personal property need to be insured, and they can help you determine what’s indivisibly owned by all unit owners and what’s owned only by you. Once all personal property has been reviewed and categorized, an independent agent can help you find a condo association insurance policy for your condominium association and a condo owners insurance policy for yourself that each will provide the personal property protections needed.

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