May, 19 2023 Published by Huronia Chapter
Townhouse Condominium VS. Apartment Condominium Insurance Coverage: The Same but Different
From the CCI Huronia Spring 2023 Condo Buzz Newsletter
In a comparison of the insurance policies of an apartment-style condominium and that of a townhouse condominium community, you would see they are very much the same. Each will include the coverages that the Condo Act requires a condominium corporation to maintain. You will have to take a closer look to see the differences between the policies and will find these on the declaration pages of the respective policies.
Items that are applicable to the property section of the policy are listed first on the declaration pages, such as the type of coverage form and basis for settlement of a claim are noted. We want to see an All Perils coverage form and Replacement Cost basis identified here. In this section of coverage, we are also looking for the limit of insurance available and the rate (premium per $100 of replacement cost) at which the insurer is providing the coverage. The rate for townhouse condominiums will typically be higher than that of an apartment condominium due to the frame vs. fire resistive construction of the buildings. Apartment condominiums are typically larger and the limit higher.
An apartment building may have contents listed separately from the building limit. Common area furniture such as fitness equipment, art and office furniture are included in the contents limit of property coverage. Townhouse communities will have this separate line of coverage much less often as it only applies to items not permanently affixed to the buildings themselves.
Water damage claims will go against the property coverage on a corporation’s policy and depending on the claims frequency and cost of repairs, the deductible is subject to change. Water losses in a stacked-housing environment tend to have higher payouts (due to water travelling through multiple units) and therefore apartment buildings often have higher water damage deductibles in place.
Rental units belonging to the condominium corporation are a source of income for the corporation. Rental income coverage for the annual gross rental value of the suite will recoup any lost rents should there be an insurable loss causing difficulty in leasing out the unit.
It is often argued that a townhouse condominium does not require boiler and machinery coverage. Regardless of the construction of a property, there are computerized pieces of equipment and/or electrical services within the property. A sudden and accidental failure of a motor or piece of electrical equipment can activate this coverage and repair the damaged equipment and resulting property damage. This coverage often has the ability to pay expediting expenses to get an essential piece of equipment operating and back to pre-loss condition in as little time as possible.
Regardless of the type of construction, a condominium corporation is required to maintain a safe and hazard free environment at all times. Should the corporation have employees, specific liability coverage is required beyond the general liability. Many apartment building condominiums employ onsite maintenance or management staff and should have Employer’s Liability coverage in place. If an employee was to claim they have sustained an injury while completing their job-related tasks, it may trigger this coverage to defend the corporation and/or pay compensatory damages to the employee.
The larger the corporation, the higher the number of residents and guests coming and going at any given time, the higher the potential for bodily injury or property damage. General liability limits will be higher where severity and frequency of claims can be higher. This reasoning is also applicable to the directors & officers liability limit of coverage because the financial impact of alleged mistakes made by a board of directors can result in higher costs.
There are many similarities when comparing a townhouse insurance policy to that of an apartment condominium, but just as every condominium corporation is unique, the same goes for their insurance policy. As with any contract obtained by the Board on behalf of the corporation, a thorough review of the necessary coverage and discussion of appropriate limits with a knowledgeable condominium insurance broker is ideal.
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