Role of Your Condo Board: How Decisions Affect You As a Unit Owner

What condo insurance covers and what it doesn't.

Owning a condo means sharing some things with your neighbours. That includes membership in the condominium corporation. Your condo board makes decisions on behalf of the entire complex. Those board decisions have a real impact on how you live and, to some extent, your financial liability at the end of the day. Here's a bit about what condo boards are responsible for and how your unit condo insurance protects your interests.

Responsibilities of Your Condo Board

In Ontario, the role of the condo board members are set out in legislation. The board is responsible for the condo's finances, including its reserve funds that are set aside for major repairs. All repairs and maintenance for the complex are arranged and approved by the board. Importantly, the board is also the body that administers the rules of the condo. That's everything in the by-laws, from the number of pets you're allowed to have to fines for infractions. Changes to the by-laws have to be agreed upon by the majority of unit owners.

Condominium Corporation Insurance

One important distinction between owning a condo and a detached home is insurance. The unit owners share many common areas, so no one resident is entirely responsible for its care, maintenance or liability. That's why condo corporations have one insurance policy, while each individual unit owner has their own. Condominium corporation insurance generally covers everything residents use in common. That includes parking, the roof, stairs, elevators, driveways, and communal green spaces. Some polices also cover each individual unit's original fixtures, as well as the electrical and plumbing. If you've renovated your suite, these upgrades typically would not be covered by the condo building's insurance. The policy may, however, offer living expenses in case you have to reside elsewhere due to an insured peril -- perhaps a fire or other damage.

Condominium Unit Insurance

As a unit owner, you also have to have your own insurance. This usually covers everything inside your unit, such as your personal belongings. It also kicks in to protect your renovated or upgraded elements. Third party liability insurance also covers you in case someone is hurt in your unit and sues you for damages. When you buy your unit insurance, you can also opt for units additional protection or common elements loss assessment, which cover the cost you would otherwise pay out of pocket if the condominium insurance falls short.

Your Condo Board and Insurance

As the condo board is responsible for all aspects of your condominium, it should choose the right insurance coverage. Any gaps in insurance are usually borne by the individual unit owners. For homeowners, it's often sensible to stay informed about what's going on. The board decisions can leave them financially liable in the event of loss.

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