If you are thinking of buying a townhouse or duplex, you might wonder if the coverage of a homeowner's policy would be different from the coverage of a single-family home. Our knowledgeable agents at Patron Insurance Services in Vienna, Virginia will be happy to explain the coverage of each home type and help you find a policy that suits your needs at the best possible rates.
Townhomes: A townhouse is the same as a townhouse. The origin of the term "townhouse" dates back to early England, when referring to a house held in the city (London), as opposed to a primary residence in the country. In the United States today, a townhouse or townhouse is defined as a single-family house with at least two floors that share a wall with another dwelling. Each townhome is individually owned.
Duplexes: A duplex is a house divided into two apartments or homes with separate entrance for each. There are two homes in a single building. The two separate homes are typically side by side with a common wall. Duplexes can be listed as either residential, multi-family or commercial properties. A family can buy both sides to live in one and rent the other, or they can only buy one side of a duplex. An investor can buy a duplex and rent both units.
How are homeowners' policies written for townhomes and duplexes?
Townhome Homeowners Insurance: For home insurance, a townhome is written the same as a single-family home. An ordinary homeowner's insurance policy is written for this type of structure. Although the townhomes are linked to other structures, and a homeowners' association may be involved, there is no main insurance to cover the outside of the structure. Townshomes must be fully insured, the same as a detached home.
Duplex Homeowners Insurance: Although duplex owners may need to pay co-ownership fees, homeowners' insurance is still written as a full policy covering the entire structure, the same as for a city dwelling or a single-family home. Within certain limits, duplexes are not required to carry a main insurance policy required for apartments. The form home insurance policy is written depends on whether the duplex is rented out.
What is covered under a city dwelling and double-sided home insurance?
City dwelling house owner insurance covers the townhouse unit and any outdoor areas that the owner has the title to. It contains interiors, exteriors and any balconies or patios. The policy covers fire damage and some storm damage, together with liability insurance for accidents on the property, indoors or out.
If you buy and live on one side of a duplex, you need a homeowner policy to cover your half of the structure and your furniture, appliances, electronics, kitchenware, clothing, and personal property. The other half of the duplexes have no bearing on your coverage or replacement costs. Your home insurance will cover liability insurance if visitors are accidentally injured.