What is walls-in insurance?
Walls-in insurance, also called single entity coverage or studs in coverage, covers a condo building from the exterior framing to the walls in the home. That’s where the term “walls-in” comes from. These policies tend to cover fixtures in the individual condo unit, but not alterations, appliances, or personal belongings. That’s a job for the unit owner’s condo (HO6) insurance.
This is a type of property insurance policy your condo or homeowners association buys to fulfill their insurance obligations for the building. There are three ways the HOA can cover a building.
Understanding the 3 types of HOA insurance
The insurance policy your HOA buys is often called HOA insurance or the master insurance policy. Walls-in insurance is one of three types of master insurance. Understanding what each type of policy covers can help you buy the appropriate condo insurance and better navigate the claims process.
Each type of coverage protects the building slightly differently:
- Bare walls-in: This provides limited coverage for the exterior structure and all the common areas of the building. It’s the least comprehensive policy of the three.
- Walls-in: This also covers the building common areas, and its coverage for the structure extends from the exterior framing to the walls of the individual units. It can cover top flooring, cabinets, and countertops as long as they have not been altered, and it’s the type of policy most HOAs buy.
- All In: This is the most comprehensive policy. It provides coverage from the exterior walls in to include appliances, improvements and alterations, ventilation, and security equipment.
Where walls-in insurance ends and your condo insurance begins
While the HOA’s walls-in insurance offers a little more coverage for your individual unit, it does not appropriately protection your home from disaster. To fill the coverage gaps, you need your own condo insurance policy (also called an HO6 policy). Walls-in insurance will not cover renovations you’ve made to your condo, your appliances, personal property, or personal liability. But condo insurance will.
There may be some slight overlap in coverage between your policy and the HOA insurance, particularly if your HOA has a walls-in or an all in policy.
For example, let’s say an electrical short starts a kitchen fire that damages your condo’s appliances, floor, cabinets, and countertop. If the HOA has a walls-in policy, it may cover the damage to the walls, floor, cabinets, and countertop. Your policy may offer coverage for that, plus coverage for the appliances and lost personal property, such as furniture, dishware, and other home goods.
In a case like this, it may make sense to notify both your HOA and your insurance company about the loss and let the insurance carriers determine which policy is responsible for what part of the claim.
Follow the same protocol you would to file a claim with your own insurer by mitigating the loss (i.e. shutting water off if a pipe burst), documenting the damage, and calling claims as soon as possible to get an adjuster out to the scene. If you don’t need to file a claim on your own HO6 policy, don’t. Even small claims can have a long-term effect on your premium and insurance costs. It could even lead to cancelation. This is why it is important to work through the master policy for as much as you can when it is appropriate to do so.
How to know if your HOA has walls-in insurance for your building
When you become a condo owner, you should receive a copy of the HOA bylaws, budget, and insurance policy. As a condo owner, you have a right to call and ask about the coverage the master policy provides.
You’ll often need a current copy of your HOA’s bylaws when you shop for your own condo insurance. At Kin, we reference it to help make sure you don’t have coverage gaps or overlaps so you save more on your policy.