Calgary condominium insurance is very important to keep in mind. As a condo owner, you may be faced with financial burdens that are unique to your situation. Special assessments are a prime example of just such an occasion. A special assessment occurs when a defect or problem arises with the building in which your condo is located. For example, the repairs for a leaky roof or a structural or foundational weakness may result in a special assessment being levied on all building residents. It is the shared responsibility of everyone who owns a unit in the building to cover the costs of such repairs, as per condo ownership agreements.
Unfortunately, special assessments are becoming more and more common in Calgary and throughout Alberta. By and large, this is the result of the condo boom that swept across the province beginning in the 1980s and 1990s, and continuing into the 2000s and the current decade. To meet market demands, property developers and construction companies fast-tracked a large number of condominium projects, and the unintentional end result has been that some buildings just aren’t standing up to the elements as well as they were originally intended. Factor in the flooding we received in the spring of 2013, and it’s easy to see why many condo owners are currently struggling to keep their heads above water as far as special assessments go. Repairing building damage can cost a great deal of money; one 240-unit building in north Edmonton required $6 million in repairs despite the fact that it was just seven years old. That’s an average of $25,000 per unit, which is a pretty big chunk of change no matter what your financial situation may be.
To protect yourself, you should make sure that your condominium insurance in Calgary includes special assessment coverage and that you understand the limits of your coverage. Some specific types of special assessments may not be included in your policy while others are. By and large, condominium insurance protects you from unanticipated expenses arising from the majority of special assessments, and these expenses can be very costly.
Condominium Insurance: Calgary Essentials
Many condo owners, particularly first-time condo owners, make the mistake of declining or opting out of special assessment coverage in the hopes of reducing their premiums. While this strategy can save you a little bit of money, you expose yourself to a great deal of risk. Ask anyone who owns a condo in the seven-year-old, 240-unit building in Edmonton if they thought they would ever face a special assessment in such a new property and you’ll likely find out that many people took a gamble with their condo insurance coverage and lost.
A basic condo insurance policy protects:
- Personal belongings located in privately owned parts of the building, including your unit, your storage locker and your parking spot
- Personal liability against accidents or injuries that occur in privately owned parts of the building
- Betterments arising from incidents which are caused by a specifically designed insured peril, such as a fire
As you’ll see, far more comprehensive coverage is available if you opt in to what is known as loss assessment protection. While loss assessment protection is optional and costs extra, it provides you with essential peace of mind, especially considering how common special assessments have become throughout the province.
Loss assessment protection provides the following additional forms of coverage:
- Valid special assessments that are issued in accordance with your condominium corporation’s stipulated rules and regulations that fall within the parameters of your coverage
- Legal liabilities arising from incidents or accidents that take place in common areas and result in personal injury or property damage
Considering the modest extra cost of loss assessment protection, it is always worthwhile to add it to your Calgary condominium insurance policy. There is just no way to accurately predict if or when a special assessment will come down from the condo corporation, and the money you save by declining loss assessment protection usually isn’t worth the risk. Always ask about Calgary condo insurance special assessment coverage when you are shopping around for a new policy, even if exhaustive due diligence on your part seems to indicate that you are unlikely to need it.
Get a Condo Insurance Quote in Calgary
Lane’s Insurance is a leading Calgary brokerage that helps clients secure great rates on the essential protection they need. If you’re thinking of buying a condo, or if you already own one and you’re reviewing your insurance policy, contact a Lane’s Insurance representative or visit us online for a fast, free quote. We’ll be happy to explain the advantages and disadvantages of various types of protection and help you find the policy that best protects your interests.