How to buy a condo with confidence

Research the condo’s insurance requirements

Condo insurance is different from single-family home insurance.

The condo building will have a master policy, which may only cover the primary building and common areas.

You’ll need a unit-owner’s policy to provide coverage for physical loss and liability for your unit – including appliances, flooring and cabinetry – and contents like your furniture and clothing. You may even need coverage for the structure, as if you were buying a single-family home.

Your insurance also can cover special assessments for certain lawsuits related to a judgment or property damage that the homeowners association's insurance or reserves don’t fully cover.

Aside from getting a quote from an independent agent who can shop at many companies on your behalf, the factors that most affect the insurance premiums you’ll pay on a condo are building age, interior sprinklers, distance to the nearest fire department and claims history, says Ronald Jetmore, principal of Jetmore Insurance Group in Lusby, Md.