If you move into a subdivision, townhouse or condominium, the community may require you to pay a homeowners association fee. The HOA uses the fees they collect to care for and insure the property grounds and common areas. However, HOA fees are not a substitution for purchasing your own insurance coverage.
About HOA Insurance
Most HOAs purchase an insurance policy that protects the community's common property. In the case of a condominium or townhouse community, the policy typically protects the grounds and external building structures. The policy does not protect the interior of a resident's home, nor does it protect residents' personal property. In a subdivision, the HOA's policy protects only the grounds and any common buildings that all homeowners share. The policy doesn't protect a resident's home or its contents.
Whether they live in a condominium, townhouse or subdivision, most homeowners choose to buy a homeowners insurance policy to cover all of the structures and assets that the HOA's insurance policy doesn't protect. If you live in a subdivision, you should purchase a policy that covers the external structure of your home, the interior and all of your personal property. If you live in a condominium or townhouse, your policy should cover the interior of your home and your personal property.
If your home, condominium or townhouse secures a mortgage, the lender will typically require the purchase of a homeowners insurance policy, regardless of whether you pay HOA fees. Your lender requires this policy to protect his interest in the property. If you default on your mortgage, the lender must sell your home to recover his debt. The homeowners insurance policy ensures that the home won't lose value because of fire, wind damage or other calamities.
Even though lenders require you to protect your home with homeowners insurance, you can typically choose the policy on your own. According to Bankrate.com, condominium and townhouse insurance policies typically cover the building's external structure only, so your own policy must cover everything from the drywall in. To ensure that all of your assets are adequately insured, ask for a copy of the HOA's insurance policy and read through it before purchasing your own policy.
Amanda McMullen is a freelancer who has been writing professionally since 2010. She holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics and statistics and a second bachelor's degree in integrated mathematics education.