Renters & Condo Owners: Know Your Coverage Inside-Out
If you rent

Take note. The rising cost of insuring rental properties is driving some owners to make renters responsible for the liability of their own space. Landlords are placing such requirements in their lease contracts - except for rent-regulated apartments where it is illegal - in order to minimize their own liability and insurance costs. If your lease is up for renewal soon, don’t be surprised if your landlord attempts to transfer liability responsibility to you.

You also should know that most renter policies have a cap on jewelry, furs and collectibles; however, you can purchase additional coverage to insure these items if they are more valuable than the cap allows. “Your insurance advisor can provide you with options for insuring your most precious belongings. And, The NIA Group offers special additional coverage for collectibles, antiques and jewelry that exceed the cap in value,” says Dale Krupowicz, NIA Personal Lines Manager.

If you own a condo

If you are a condominium owner, your condo association’s master policy will include insurance for the property. But, you should get the condo bylaws from the association or entity owning the property every year and share them with an insurance agent or broker. They will tell you precisely what the policy does and does not cover.

For example, in some rare cases, a condo association will only insure up to the walls. Or, you may be responsible for additions or alterations made to the original facility, such as cabinets, fixtures, and floor and wall coverings.

The condo hotel: new option, new insurance rules

The condo hotel, the new concept in real estate that combines vacation home ownership and real estate investment, has its own insurance concerns. Because it operates like a timeshare in theory, a rental manager may be responsible for renting your unit. This can be an issue and cost more for insurance. Find out before you invest.

As in a traditional condo, the owner may be responsible for additions or alterations made to the original facility, such as cabinets, fixtures and floor and wall coverings. That also holds for furnished condo hotels. If the occupant adds new furniture or makes changes to existing furnishings, they may not be protected by the master policy. However, the owner may be able to use some portion of his primary homeowners coverage to cover the vacation home.

Review your policies regularly

Condo or rental apartment, if it has been your home for a long time, chances are you have not updated your homeowners or renters policy to keep current with the value of your property and its contents. Replacement cost values have skyrocketed in recent years as have the value of collectibles, fine jewelry and good art.

Krupowicz recommends taking the following precautions: If you have a fine arts collection or expensive collectibles, have them appraised every three years. You may be astonished by their increase in value over time, and you don’t want to be underinsured if there is a loss. Also, take the time to either videotape or photograph your fine jewelry, collectibles and artwork as proof of ownership should a theft or damage occur.

Questions: Call The NIA Group Personal Lines Division at (866)-642-8600.