The insurance of the syndicate covers your private portion, with the exception of the improvements in your unit. You must therefore subscribe (on an individual basis) insurance coverage for any such improvements.
What is an improvement?
An “improvement” is any work which has brought an increase in the value of the private portion in comparison with the original construction. A fresh coat of paint in your unit is not an improvement. On the other hand, replacing the original floor with a better floor constitutes, in all likelihood, an improvement.
How to identify it?
You obviously know about your own improvements .We are dealing here with those improvements which, generally, have been put in since the outset of the co-ownership at the time of the registration of the declaration of co-ownership. If you are not the first owner, you must verify if, over time, improvements have been carried out. To do a good job, we recommend consulting the registers of the co-ownership from the beginning. You may find useful information, such as: the prospectus prepared by the developer, and maybe the memorandum (information note) describing the exact specifications of the original materials.
The value of the improvements?
If the improvements in your private portions have been carried out by contractors, adding their invoices will allow you quickly to determine their cost. You will then have to establish the increase in value of your apartment brought by the improvements. However, if you purchased a unit already improved by your predecessors, going back to the original state of the unit and calculating the cost of the improvements can be a daunting endeavor. Unless your vendor supplies the necessary documentation, you will have no choice but to hire the services of certified evaluator. This professional will prepare a reliable evaluation binding upon the insurer in the case of a loss.
Obligation to get insurance?
Insurance covering personal movable property is not compulsory, under the Law. However, most declarations of co-ownership compel co- owners to subscribe and maintain in force this insurance coverage. Moreover, they must demonstrate that this insurance remains in force - each time they renew their insurance policy or change insurers - through an insurance certificate given to their boards of Directors.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW! Generally, to determine what constitutes an improvement to your private portion, you must compare its present state to its original state, when the declaration of co-ownership was registered.
WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND: If you are not a “first generation” owner, it is important to obtain from your vendor a list of the improvements carried out by himself and his predecessors to the best of his knowledge.
WARNING! Some developers sell bare apartments, therefore giving to the co-owners the opportunity to carry out most of the improvements to their private portions. This is a frequent occurrence in historical buildings converted into lofts. Thus, the cost of the improvements can be very substantial. You are responsible for subscribing insurance for the full value of these improvements.
CONSULT THE PUBLICATION: Condo Insurance: Everything you should know at pages 90 and following.