Co-op insurance is protection for you, your stuff, and your place in your housing cooperative, but not the rest of the building, facilities, or grounds.
What is co-op insurance?
Live in a co-op? Great. There’s a special type of insurance just for you: an HO6 policy, which is insurance speak for cooperative insurance!
This type of insurance covers you, your place from the walls-in, and the stuff you own, for a variety of bad things that may happen. You might also hear this coverage called “condo insurance.”
What does co-op insurance cover?
Similar to homeowners insurance coverage, co-op insurance covers 5 main areas:
- Dwelling (aka your unit) including improvements, alterations, additions, etc.
- Personal property, meaning the stuff you own
- Loss of use for when your place becomes uninhabitable
- Personal liability for when you’re sued or accidentally caused harm to others
- Medical payments to others for covering any issues that arose at your place, or anywhere else (under $5,000)
What’s the difference between homeowners and co-op insurance?
The main difference between co-op and homeowners insurance is ownership.
As a co-op owner, you’re only responsible for the stuff from the sheetrock walls inward on your individual unit (including built-in appliances, bookshelves, etc.). Homeowners, on the other hand, are responsible for the entire structure.
If you live in a co-op, you and the others who live at that address collectively (cooperatively) own the building and property. Common areas such as stairways, elevators, laundry rooms, water pipes, electrical wires, the roof, etc., along with the building itself and grounds, fall under the co-op’s master insurance policy.
Homeowners on the other hand, own the entire property and, accordingly, receive a policy covering everything from your white picket fence to your refrigerator.
Why is it important to have cooperative insurance?
As a policyholder, your insurance should provide you with the right amount of protection for the lifestyle you live and the stuff you own.
While your co-op homeowners association may have an insurance policy that covers the property and building your unit is in, along with common areas, it doesn’t cover the stuff you own inside of your place – furniture, electronics, jewelry, etc. – or yourself (think: getting sued, or paying medical bills if people get hurt at your place).
All of that stuff adds up, and you’re going to want to make sure it’s protected.
For example: Let’s say your upstairs neighbor leaves the faucet on, and it ends up flooding your apartment, damaging your ceiling and your stuff. The cooperative insurance company will cover the damage to your ceiling and your personal items, and your co-op’s policy might cover the cleanup inside the walls.
In addition to your personal property (the stuff you own), there’s also liability to take into account. Bad things happen. That’s a fact of life. But the more you can prepare in advance for unexpected things, such as accidents or getting sued, the better you’ll be able to handle things when they arise.