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Best Condo Insurance Companies: What to Look for in a Policy

Best Condo Insurance Companies: What to Look for in a Policy

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Condo insurance is very similar to homeowners insurance, and many of the best companies offer coverage for both types of properties. If you're shopping for condo insurance, you should generally look for a company that balances coverage features, price and customer service in a way that fits your preferences. Both home and condo insurance provide property owners with coverage for unexpected damage to personal property and building property, and for the costs of living elsewhere if your apartment becomes uninhabitable. However, condo owners also need to ensure they buy a policy that fills the gaps in their condo association's master policy so they're fully covered for unexpected disasters.

Recommendations for the Best Condo Insurance Companies

We've analyzed and identified some of the best condo insurance companies based on a variety of criteria including rates, coverage features and customer service experience. We also highlight the policies with unique features that may appeal to a particular type of condo owner, such as those who use home-sharing services. To come up with these recommendations, we dug into the details of the nation's largest condo insurers to compare and contrast their policies. Ultimately, no single condo insurance company will fit every customer's need. Before committing to a particular condo insurance policy, you should compare it with competitor offerings to ensure you're finding the policy that best fits your priorities.

State Farm: Best Condo Insurance Company for Cheap Rates and Add-on Features

Not only does State Farm generally offer some of the cheapest standard condo insurance policies, it also boasts a variety of add-on coverages to help you customize your policy.

Based on a survey of quotes across three states—New York, Pennsylvania and Texas—we found that State Farm typically had the cheapest condo insurance policies. Other major condo insurance companies such as Farmers, Liberty Mutual and Progressive (which underwrites its policies with Homesite) all tended to have more expensive insurance policies.

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Compared to other insurers, State Farm also offers the widest variety of coverage options, so if you're looking to customize your condo insurance coverage, State Farm is the best company for you. Additional coverage features range from add-ons that are commonly available for condo insurance policies—such coverage for water and sewer backups and identity theft—to rarer endorsements such as coverage for refrigerated products and for damage due to fungus and mold.

Amica Mutual: Best Condo Insurance Company for Customer Service

If you're looking for the best customer service, Amica Mutual has consistently ranked as one of the top companies in the nation for customer satisfaction. Amica ranks first in customer satisfaction in J.D. Power's 2018 Home Insurance Study, receiving scores of five out of five across all ratings factors including policy offerings and quality of claims experience. These high marks are reinforced by the company's low complaint ratio, which is calculated by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Amica's complaint ratio score of 0.21 indicates that, when adjusted for market share, the number of complaints it receives is far below the national median.

Indicative of its commitment to customer service, Amica's condo insurance features a condo repair assistance program. With this program, in the event you make a claim for condo damage, you can either choose who repairs your condo or outsource the search to Amica. The insurer has an established network of more than 2,000 credentialed contractors, and the company guarantees that contractors have proper licensing and a three-year warranty for their services.

Allstate: Best Condo Insurance Company for Home-Sharing

If you're a condo owner who plans to occasionally rent out your space, Allstate's HostAdvantage feature may be the best option for you. HostAdvantage is a unique feature among major condo insurers and represents a great way to protect yourself from the risks of hosting temporary guests. Typically, condo insurance policies are not written to protect your personal belongings when you rent out your place. For around $50 a year, HostAdvantage protects your belongings from theft and damage while you rent out your home.

USAA: Best Condo Insurance Company for U.S. Military Members and Their Families

Along with Amica, the United Services Automobile Association (USAA) consistently ranks among the top condo insurance companies for customer satisfaction. However, you'll only be able to purchase USAA condo insurance if you're part of the U.S. military, a veteran or a family member of a current or former service member. If you do qualify, you should definitely consider USAA, as its standard condo insurance policies have more generous coverage than most insurers. Its policies include higher base coverage limits and features that are usually only available for purchase as an add-on with other insurers.

USAA's loss assessment coverage has limits of $10,000, for example, whereas most other insurers only provide $1,000 of this coverage in their policies. USAA's base policies also include identity theft coverage, which is often an optional add-on in condo insurance policies. There's also special military coverage that pays up to $10,000 for damage to your personal property caused by war. All in all, if you're a current or former member of the military, it's difficult to find a better option for condo insurance than USAA.

What to Look for in the Best Condo Insurance Companies

When looking for a condo insurance policy, your options will be similar to those for home insurance. The primary difference is that condo owners will be looking for a policy that complements their condo association coverage, as some parts of their building may already be covered by the association's master policy.

Look for these features in your condo insurance policy.

  • It should fill the gaps in your condo association's master policy: If you own a condo, you'll be partially covered by master condo association policy. But master policy coverage can range from from an all-in policy, which covers everything but your personal belongings, to a bare-walls policy, which only covers communal areas.
  • Find the condo insurance company with the best rates: Price should not be your only consideration, but you should always shop around to see if you can find comparable coverage with lower prices from different insurers.
  • A condo insurance policy should fit your needs: Certain condo insurance companies have more coverage features, add-ons and discounts than others. For example, the State Farm online quote tool makes it easy to increase or decrease your coverage for valuable items such as jewelry and electronics, allowing you to customize a policy to your needs. If you're seeking additional coverage or a specific discount, it may be worth shopping between insurers to see which of their features best fit your situation.
  • Customer service is key with condo insurance: You'll likely only interact with your insurer during times of need, such as after a natural disaster or a robbery. When buying a policy, you'll want to be confident the company is accessible, efficient and reliable in fulfilling your condo insurance claim.

Condo Insurance Should Fill the Coverage Gaps in Your Master Insurance Policy

Before shopping for a condo insurance policy, you should make sure you understand what your condo association's master insurance policy covers. This is so you can fill any coverage gaps with your condo insurance policy.

Master insurance policies generally cover the common areas shared in your building with other property owners—such as the roof and walkways—for liability and physical damage. Condo insurance is considered walls-in coverage, meaning it covers objects within your unit. However, beyond the communal features of your building, master policies can vary, and some may actually cover things inside the walls of your condo. Most master policies fall under one of three categories.

  • All-in policies
  • Bare-walls policies
  • Original specifications policies

You can contact your condominium association to find details on which type of master policy governs your building.

All-in policies cover not only the walls, floors and ceilings of a condo but also the standard fixtures of a condo as it was originally built. Essentially, these policies cover you for everything except for your personal belongings. This means when you're buying a condo insurance policy, you won't have to buy building property coverage, also called building item coverage, as these fixtures are already covered by your building's master policy.

On the other extreme is a bare-walls policy, which will not cover anything inside your apartment besides walls, floors and ceilings. If your condo association has a bare-walls policy, you'll need a condo insurance policy that has building property coverage for those fixtures inside your condo that you own. Fixtures include countertops, wall coverings, appliances (such as stoves and refrigerators), and any home improvements you've made.

A third type of master condo policy is an original specifications policy, also called single entity coverage. With this policy, materials in your condo will be covered if they were part of the original condition at the time of purchase, but not if they were added by the owner. So if your condo came with a washing machine and it's damaged by a fire, it will be covered under an original specifications master policy. If you bought and added a washing machine to your condo, it won't be covered under an original specifications master policy, and you would have to get coverage for it separately from a condo insurance policy.

Finding the Best Rates for a Condo Insurance Policy

The key driver in calculating cost of your condo insurance will be the amount of personal property coverage you purchase. But even with comparable coverage, not all insurers will have the same rates. Some insurers are known for cheaper prices and others are known for their wealth of features.

When possible, you should always get a quote to compare the prices of condo insurance policies with similar coverage levels, especially as prices can vary widely by insurer depending on your location and the features of your home. Many, but not all, insurers have an online quote tool that will instantly estimate your condo insurance premium given your desired coverage levels and features. When an insurer does not provide an online quote, you'll generally have to get in touch with an agent if you want to compare its prices.

Additionally, certain insurers may offer discounts to your premium that apply to you. For instance, bundling your auto and condo insurance can result in discounts ranging from 5% to 15%. If you have a car, it may make sense to get both your auto and condo policies from the same insurer, especially if the bundling discount outweighs the savings you can get from buying individual policies from separate insurers.

Condo Insurance Policies Should Have Features That Fit Your Needs

Almost all condo insurance companies will include the following standard features.

  • Personal property coverage: Covers damage to your personal belongings caused by a covered peril.
  • Building property coverage: Covers damage to fixtures of your condo if they are not covered by your master association policy.
  • Personal liability coverage: Covers you and your family members for costs associated with lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage.
  • Loss of use coverage: Covers the costs above and beyond your normal expenses for living elsewhere if your condo becomes uninhabitable.
  • Loss assessment coverage: Loss assessment is sometimes included standard and sometimes available as add-on coverage. This coverage applies to events where a condo owner is responsible for a share of damages that affect the entire condominium association, such as wind damage to a window in the common area.

Beyond this standard coverage, condo insurance policies, similarly to homeowners insurance policies, will give you the option to add a variety of features for an additional fee. Additional features can range from identity theft coverage to protection against water backup damage. By shopping with multiple insurers, you may be able to find an insurance feature that suits your particular needs. For instance, if you plan to rent out your condo with Airbnb or another home-sharing service, Allstate offers unique HostAdvantage coverage, which protects your belongings against theft or damage by temporary guests.

Seek Condo Insurance Companies With the Best Customer Service Reputations

Ultimately, you're going to interact with your insurer during a time of heightened stress—maybe your condo caught fire or a thief stole your valuables—and you'll want a company with a strong customer service reputation. By this standard, the top-rated home insurer for customer satisfaction is Amica Mutual, which receives a rating of five out of five in J.D. Power's customer satisfaction survey. Below, we've noted the customer satisfaction ratings for property insurance companies. Amica Mutual scores a full marks in all five contributing categories, while seven out of 28 insurers rank at the bottom with overall ratings of two out of five.

Overall score
Policy offerings score
Price score
Billing and policy score
Interaction score
Claims score
Amica Mutual555555
Auto Club of Southern California Insurance Group455433
Cincinnati Insurance434453
Erie Insurance334333
State Farm333333
MAPFRE Insurance334333
Auto-Owners Insurance333333
The Hartford333333
American Family333333
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Scores are out of a maximum of five. USAA receives a perfect score, but only U.S. military and their family members are eligible for its policies.

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Mark is a Senior Research Analyst for ValuePenguin focusing on the insurance industry, primarily auto insurance. He previously worked in financial risk management at State Street Corporation.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.