Strata Insurance Policies:
What You Need to Know
In BC, over 1.5 million people live in strata housing, including condos, townhouses, and duplexes. Here's what you need to know:
Who needs to have strata insurance?
In BC, all strata corporations are required by the Strata Property Act to have property and liability insurance.
Who is responsible for arranging my strata’s insurance policy?
Typically, a strata’s property manager will deal with the strata’s insurance and work directly with an insurance agent. However, a strata corporation may have other designated representatives. You can check with your strata council or property manager to find out.
What’s covered by strata insurance?
Strata insurance is generally intended to cover common property, and limited common property (the structure). By provincial regulation, property insurance must be for full replacement value and insure against “perils of fire, lightning, smoke, windstorm, hail, explosion, water escape, riots or civil commotion, impacts by aircraft and vehicles, vandalism and malicious acts.” Strata liability insurance must be for a minimum of $2 million.
Beyond the minimum requirement, a strata’s insurance coverage may vary. Details of the coverage will be outlined in the insurance policy. (See How do I get a copy of my strata's insurance policy?)
What is strata unit insurance?
Strata unit owners and their tenants often get their own insurance for their individual needs. These insurance policies may cover personal possessions, additional living expenses/loss of rental income, betterments and improvements to the unit, loss assessments, and personal liability coverage. Clients can work with an insurance agent to determine their coverage needs.
Strata insurance prices are set by the insurer.
Strata insurance pricing is set by insurance companies (insurers) that underwrite the strata property. In BC, insurance companies are regulated by the BC Financial Services Authority.
Insurance agencies and insurance companies are different things.
Insurance agents and agencies (brokers) are intermediaries who work with clients to provide advice and access to insurance solutions and products that meet their needs. Insurance companies (insurers) are the ones who offer those insurance products and underwrite the risk.
For example, a client might work with an insurance agency to determine their coverage needs and buy a policy provided by an insurance company.
What is the role of an Insurance Agent/Agency?
Insurance agents work with strata clients to find appropriate insurance solutions and products that match their needs. They can also provide advice on how to mitigate risks to help stratas access the best available premiums.
If it is not possible to renew a client’s insurance at the same terms and conditions, the agent is required to make sure that the client is notified in a timely manner.
Insurance agents have a duty to the Insurance Council's Code of Conduct, which requires that they act in a trustworthy and honest manner, conduct business in good faith, and protect clients’ interests.
What is the Insurance Council’s role?
The Insurance Council of BC licences and regulates BC insurance agencies, agents, salespersons, and adjusters.
We do not have regulatory authority over insurance companies (insurers), property managers, restoration contractors, or strata councils.
What we can do:
Investigate insurance agents, adjusters, salespersons, agencies and firms, and discipline them if they are found to have breached Council’s Rules, Code of Conduct, or the Financial Institutions Act.
What we can’t do:
Set or control insurance policy rates/pricing
Provide policy interpretations
Settle claims disputes
Mediate or rule on disagreements about refunds.
How do I get a copy of my strata's insurance policy?
It can be helpful to have a copy or summary of the strata corporation’s insurance policy to better understand your strata corporation’s coverage or know who the insurer is. Contact your property manager or try checking your strata’s AGM package, as it is usual practice for insurance policy declarations to be included.