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Insuring your condo: two insurance policies

Finally, you’ve realized your dream of owning a condo! Now you need to protect this asset by buying home insurance.

In addition to insuring your property and the improvements made to your condo since its construction, your home insurance offers you liability coverage.

In fact, the liability coverage provided under your home insurance policy will protect you should you be held liable for damage caused unintentionally to a third party.

For example, a guest injures himself by tripping over your child’s toy. In this case, your insurer will indemnify your guest if you’re held responsible.

True, you’re not legally required to have home insurance. However, it’s important that you protect this key asset. And it’s very likely that your declaration of co-ownership requires you purchase insurance as a co-owner-occupier. Check it out.

Co-owner’s insurance

As a co-owner, you’re responsible for insuring your personal property, improvements and liability.
    • Personal property
    • Liability
    • Improvements made since construction
Examples of improvements


    • Changing the kitchen cupboards
    • Changing the floor covering
    • Adding a heat pump, etc.
You must inform your insurer about any improvements you make to your unit. Thus, in case of loss, your insurer will replace your damaged property with property of a similar quality. It’s important to read your declaration of co-ownership to know exactly whose insurance policy covers which part of the building. 
True, you’re not legally required to have home insurance. However, it’s very likely that your declaration of co-ownership requires you purchase co-owner occupant coverage. In certain cases, co-owners are required to have specific coverage (i.e., a pre-determined liability amount, endorsement for sewer back-up, etc.).
Make sure you read your declaration of co-ownership to find out what obligations you and the condo corporation have when it comes to insurance.

Condo corporation’s insurance

Your building’s condo corporation is required by law (Quebec Civil Code) to have insurance against the usual perils (theft, fire, etc.). It must hold insurance for an amount that corresponds to the replacement cost of the building.Unlike the co-owner’s policy, the condo corporation’s policy is a business insurance policy.The condo corporation’s insurance must also cover:

  • The building itself, which includes the common portions, such as lobbies, corridors, stairs, elevators or the roof
  • The building portion of the private portions (units of each co-owner), such as walls, floors or windows
  • The unit’s original installations, including kitchen cupboards or the bathtub, (excluding improvements)
  • Property which belongs to it, such as furniture on the roof deck
  • Civil liability of the syndicate (mandatory)
  • Administrators’ liability
  • Must include a “replacement cost” endorsement for the building

The corporation’s insurance covers all damage to the building, taking into account the plans and specifications of the general contractor that built the building, for both the common and private portions. After a loss, the condo corporation’s insurance will restore your unit to the state it was in at the time of construction, while your own home insurance will indemnify you for the improvements you made (i.e., the difference in price between the original unit and the unit today, with the improvements you made).Example of indemnity.

Corporation ’s insurance

  • Covers the value of the original melamine kitchen cupboards

Co-owner’s insurance

  • Covers the excess you paid out to replace the original kitchen cupboards with maple cupboards.
 Source: InfoAssurance