Insurance Advisor at Oliver L.E. Soden Agency, Inc

HOAs and Homeowners Insurance: What You Need to Know

You don’t have to reside in a multi-family building to have a homeowners association (HOA). Homeowners associations are common in single family communities, too, because they manage parks, ponds, pools and home exteriors. Not everyone is familiar with the rules and responsibilities of an association, and this can lead to confusion with home insurance. Let’s explore what responsibilities your HOA may have and why it’s important to be insured.


What Do Homeowners Associations Do?

Most HOAs have a board of individual members that are elected into their positions. This board makes certain decisions based on the best interests of the homeowners. Everyone living in the community must follow the rules, otherwise they could face consequences such as monetary fines.

Some of the most common rules and restrictions that associations enforce are:


  • Pets. HOAs usually have no problem welcoming pets, but there may be restrictions on the number of pets, the size of the pets and the types of pets allowed.


  • Building materials. Multi-family units are strict on materials because they want the exteriors of the homes to look uniform. The HOA may also limit colors so that people can't just paint their homes pink or purple.


  • Noise. Noise is a common complaint with neighbors, so there must be rules to manage noise levels. It’s common to see HOAs enforce “quiet hours” that may start at 10pm or 11pm.


Do Homeowners Associations Carry Insurance?


It’s important to know what type of association you have. If you live in a single-family home, your homeowners association most likely owns the community amenities such as the clubhouse, gates and entryways. If it’s a condo or townhome, your HOA probably owns the building and the property inside it. Start by reviewing your HOA documents to determine your ownership rights. It’s common to see terms like “studs in”, which means you own everything in your unit, including the drywall. Or, your HOA may have more responsibility with a “walls in” policy. Knowing this information helps you avoid gaps in your insurance.


Generally speaking, a single family home will require a traditional homeowners insurance policy. A condo will need condo owner’s insurance, which is similar to traditional home policies except most of your dwelling is insured by the association.


Homeowners associations are becoming more common regardless of the type of community you live in. Be informed with what your HOA will and will not cover. This way, you can fill in gaps and avoid unexpected surprises.