6 Things to Know About Insuring a Condo - Before You Buy
Whether you’re just getting started in life or retiring and looking to downsize, a condominium is a great way to go.
You don’t have to worry about the yard, yet it’s your own property so you can paint the walls chartreuse and install grow lights for your man-eating plants if it makes you happy.
Because there’s a unit owner, but the common areas and larger building itself are under the control of the association, there are some unique insurance issues you need to be aware of.
Puerto Rico developed the first condominiums in 1948 with the passage of the Horizontal Property Act. Before that time, all owners in a condominium were obligated under each individual mortgage in the complex.
If one owner defaulted on his loan, then the mortgagee could foreclose on the entire condominium complex. Under horizontal property laws, individual ownership is split into horizontal planes that limit the unit owner’s interest to the inside of the unit. (Previously, ownership was seen as all the space from the center of the earth to somewhere in the air.)
This makes condominium ownership desirable, but confusing: If the insured owns only the unit, what about the hallways, outer walls, roof, foundation, plumbing, pipes and electrical? What about common areas? This is where condominiums get complex.