Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: Why does my co-op require $1 million in home owners insurance? I don't own much stuff

Home owners insurance does more than insure your beloved futon.

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Question:

I recently bought a co-op and found out that I need a million dollars in home owners insurance. All I have is a futon and a computer, both worth under $500. Why do I need so much insurance? Signed, Bare Bob

Answer:

Dear Bare,

You are now the owner of an apartment: Get some furniture. Now that I have gotten that off my chest, let me explain about insurance. First of all, a co-op determines how much insurance each shareholder is obligated to purchase. Worse news for you: It can also raise the rates as the cost of living increases. My board has raised the amount of insurance needed twice since I moved in.

Please understand that home owners insurance does more than insure your beloved futon. It also insures against theft, breakage, fire, flood, and injury to anyone in your apartment. What if the building burned down and you needed to relocate? That insurance would certainly come in handy, no? Yes! And, what if your girlfriend tripped over your computer and broke not only the device but her ankle and sued you? You would be covered (and the two of you would probably break up, but that’s another column). 

You may also want to consider a rider (additional insurance) for any expensive jewelry or heirlooms left to you by any relatives. If you have a mink coat, a diamond watch, or a piece of valuable art, those would have to be covered by riders. 

The word insurance is one of the few things in life that means exactly what it says. Just like auto and health insurance, home owners insurance is a wise investment. Now, go buy a real couch!

Ms. Demeanor


Dianne Ackerman is the new voice of reason behind Ms. Demeanor. She has lived in her Upper East Side co-op for the past 20 years and is the vice president of her co-op board. She is filled with opinions that she gladly shares with all who ask—and some who do not. Have something that needs sorting out? Drop her an email.