Insurance Homeowner and Renters Insurance Loss Assessment Explained for Condo Insurance Condo Owner Coverages: How Loss Assessment Insurance Protects You By Mila Araujo Mila Araujo Facebook Twitter Mila Araujo is a certified personal lines insurance broker with more than 20 years of experience in the insurance industry. She currently serves as the director of personal insurance for Ogilvy Insurance where she works with some of the world's largest insurers and manages the needs of thousands of clients with the help of her broker team. As an insurance expert, has written about homeowners, auto, health, and life insurance for The Balance. Mila received the Bernard J. Finestone Award in General Insurance from McGill University in 2001. learn about our editorial policies Updated on December 10, 2021 Reviewed by Samantha Silberstein Reviewed by Samantha Silberstein Twitter Samantha Silberstein is a Certified Financial Planner, FINRA Series 7 and 63 licensed holder, State of California Life, Accident, and Health Insurance Licensed Agent, and CFA. She spends her days working with hundreds of employees from non-profit and higher education organizations on their personal financial plans. learn about our financial review board Share Tweet Pin Email In This Article View All In This Article What Is Loss Assessment in Condo Insurance? How Does Loss Assessment Work? Why Doesn't Building Insurance Cover Costs? How to Get Loss Assessment Coverage How to Get More Coverage Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Photo: Henrik Sorensen / Digital Vision / Getty Images Loss assessment is a type of insurance coverage that protects condo owners in the event of damages to common areas of the property. The homeowner association (HOA) may pass on part of the bill to unit owners. If you have loss assessment coverage, it can help defray that cost. Learn more about loss assessment, what's included in this type of coverage, and what to watch out for when shopping for insurance. What Is Loss Assessment in Condo Insurance? Loss assessment coverage is an add-on to your condo insurance policy. It bridges the gap between the HOA's master policy and your condo policy. This insurance coverage applies to damages in common areas such as stairwells, lobbies, pools, and so on. If these cases, the HOA may hold unit owners financially responsible for part of the deductible. This type of coverage will help cover those costs up to the limit you choose. How Does Loss Assessment Work? Most condo owners pay monthly fees to their HOA. Part of these fees goes to pay the HOA's master insurance policy. But, sometimes damages exceed the limits of that policy. In other cases, the HOA's policy may have a high deductible. The HOA may assess unit owners for the loss. The owners wind up sharing that cost. The amount to be paid by each owner is assessed by the HOA. This is known as the loss assessment. As an owner, you then have to pay your share to cover the damage. Loss assessments could apply to property damage, liability, injury on the premises, or deductibles. Doesn't Condo Building Insurance Pay for the Damage? Many first-time condo owners assume that their HOA's insurance will cover damages to shared areas. But buildings often have very high deductibles. Condo owners then become responsible for paying part of the costs. This is true even if the damage itself is covered by insurance. Note Inform yourself about the HOA's coverage by asking questions. Otherwise, you could end up with a surprise bill. How to Get Loss Assessment Coverage Loss assessment is a coverage that is part of a condo policy form. When you buy your insurance policy, you can ask about this coverage. Check your insurance amounts on your policy declaration page. If you have just purchased new insurance for your condo, townhouse, or co-op, you can also ask to see your binder of insurance. Often an HOA may ask you to provide this at the time of signing for your new home. What Does This Insurance Cover? Loss assessment on your condo or co-op policy may apply to: Claims arising from situations including the building itselfShared areas of the structure your condo is a part of Be sure and ask about exclusions and limitations of your coverage. It varies depending on your insurance policy. Does It Cover All Assessments? Your policy may not include coverage if you didn't buy insurance for the risk or peril that the assessment is for. For instance, if the HOA levies a loss assessment against you for earthquake damage and your insurance does not cover earthquakes, you may not be covered. Warning Pay special attention to water damage, which is a major issue for condo insurance. What if the master HOA policy covers a loss, but the damage exceeds coverage in the building's policy? Then the owners of the units may be liable for a part of the costs. Loss Assessments and Deductibles Loss assessments can also apply to the deductible payable on the master policy. Building deductibles may be high and could be in the thousands of dollars. When a deductible becomes payable in a claim, the amount is divided among all the unit owners. How to Get More Loss Assessment Coverage What if you look into your HOA's master policy coverage and decide that your loss assessment coverage isn't sufficient? Ask your agent if you can increase the amount by adding an endorsement. You can also shop around to find out if another insurer will protect you better. You may also wish to look into high-value home insurance. This provides higher limits of coverage. The best way to find out is to discuss the options with your insurance broker. If your current insurer can not help you, and you find a better deal somewhere else, you may consider canceling your policy to get the coverage you need. You do not need to wait for your renewal date to change insurers. Limits of Coverage on Condo Policies Insurance policies have specific limits for many coverages, such as jewelry or collectibles. Find out what your limits are. Also, ask if there is a limit for assessments due to a deductible. Every master condo or HOA policy is different. Your needs will depend on the type of coverage your HOA has on the building. Do not ever rely on the condo building insurance to protect you fully. Every condo or co-op owner should have their own policy. This will help avoid extra costs and surprises. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) How much does loss assessment coverage cost? The cost of loss assessment coverage varies according to how much coverage you purchase. Your condo insurance policy likely includes a small amount of loss assessment coverage, for example, $1,000. You can buy additional coverage by adding an inexpensive endorsement to your existing policy. How much loss assessment coverage do I need? To determine how much coverage you need, look at three documents: your HOA's master policy, your condo policy, and the HOA's bylaws. The gap between your HOA's policy and your condo policy will help you determine how much loss assessment coverage you need. Your HOA's bylaws may also tell you directly how much coverage you should buy. Are condo loss assessments tax deductible? Generally, HOA fees—including loss assessments—are not tax-deductible. But as always, you should consult with your accountant for guidance about your specific circumstances. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. StateFarm. "Condo Unit Owners' Coverage Options." Nationwide. "What Is Loss Assessment Coverage?" Chubb. "Condos and Co-Ops Coverage Highlights." The Hartford. "Loss Assessment Coverage." Internal Revenue Service. "Publication 530 (2020), Tax Information for Homeowners."