What’s the difference between condo and homeowners insurance?

The main difference between a condo policy and a homeowners policy is coverage for the building itself. A homeowners insurance policy includes a dwelling coverage that is the calculated replacement cost of the house; that’s how much it would cost to build it from the ground up.

Condo insurance includes something similar but far more limited. Usually called building property coverage, it covers only what the condo owner is responsible for. That excludes the exterior of the building and its actual structure. Depending on the policy, it may include everything from the walls-in (flooring, kitchen cabinets, fixtures, and more) or only a limited amount of building property. How much condo insurance you need depends on what your HOA covers.

A homeowners insurance policy covers the exterior, the interior and everything else on the property like a fence or a shed. That’s why homeowners insurance rates are generally higher than condo insurance rates.

While most of the coverages on a condo policy are the same as a homeowners policy, there are a few other differences.

For instance, condo owners may need loss assessment coverage, which helps pay any claims for which all HOA members are responsible. A condo owner’s liability coverage doesn’t cover anything that happens in communal areas, as that falls under the condo association’s policy.

Make sure you understand all of the coverages on your home insurance policy fully.

Condo vs. homeowners insurance: The basics

Here’s a quick breakdown of condo and homeowners insurance, what they have in common and how they differ so you know what you’re getting when you buy condo insurance.

Condo insuranceHomeowners insurance
National average annual rate*$759$2,777
Dwelling coverage/Building property coverageInterior onlyInterior and exterior of the home and other structures
Personal property coverageYesYes
Liability coverageYes, excluding common areasYes
Loss of use coverageYesYes
Loss assessment coverageYes, optionalNo

*Condo insurance rates are based on $60,000 personal property, $300,000 liability and a $1,000 deductible.

Homeowners insurance rates are based on $300,000 dwelling coverage and liability and a $1,000 deductible.