If you are considering purchasing a townhome or duplex, you may be wondering if coverage under a homeowners policy would be different than coverage for a single-family dwelling. Our knowledgeable agents will be happy to explain the coverage for each type of dwelling and help you find a policy that suits your needs at the best available rates.
What Are Townhomes and Duplexes?
Perhaps the best place to start is a description or definition of each type of dwelling.
Townhomes: A townhome is the same as a townhouse. The origin of the term “townhouse” dates back to early England, when it referred to a house kept in town (London), as opposed to a primary residence in the country. In the U.S. today, a townhouse or townhome is defined as a single-family dwelling with at least two stories that shares a wall with another dwelling. Each townhome is individually owned.
Duplexes: A duplex is a house divided into two apartments or dwellings, with a separate entrance for each. It is two homes in a single building. The two separate homes are typically side-by-side with a shared wall. Duplexes may be listed as either residential, multi-family, or commercial properties. A family may buy both sides to live in one and rent out the other, or they may buy only one side of a duplex. An investor may purchase a duplex and rent out 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 dwelling. A regular homeowners insurance policy is written for this type of structure. Although townhomes are attached to other structures, and a homeowners association may be involved, there is no master insurance policy to cover the outside of the structure. Townhomes need to be fully insured, the same as a detached dwelling.
Duplex Homeowner’s Insurance: Although duplex owners may be required to pay homeowners association fees, homeowners insurance is still written as a full policy covering the entire structure, the same as for a townhome or a single-family dwelling. Within certain limits, duplexes are not required to carry a master insurance policy as required for condos. The form the home insurance policy is written on will depend on whether the duplex is rented out.
What Is Covered Under a Townhome and Duplex Home Insurance Policy?
Townhome homeowners insurance covers the townhouse unit and any outdoor areas to which the owner has title. It includes the interior, exterior, and any balcony or patio areas. The policy covers fire damage and some storm damage, along with liability coverage for accidents on the property, indoors or out.
If you purchase and live in one side of a duplex, you will need a homeowners policy to cover your half of the structure and your furniture, appliances, electronics, kitchenware, clothing, and personal property. The other half of the duplex will have no bearing on your coverage or replacement costs. Your home insurance will include liability coverage in case visitors are accidentally injured.