Tips For Buying Co-op Apartment Insurance

In co-op apartment insurance, know what building’s master policy does, doesn’t cover

Co-op apartment building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Photo courtesy of Beyond My Ken via Wikimedia Commons.

Few things are trickier than buying into a New York City co-op, and part of the hassle is figuring out what you need in terms of co-op apartment insurance.

The root of the confusion: Co-op associations already carry their own insurance, called a master policy, on the building and its shared areas — but that policy doesn’t provide full protection for each individual unit.

In the case of a disaster like a fire, most master policies only guarantee that they will rebuild a habitable unit: Plain white walls, floors and a ceiling. That nice granite countertop that you had in the kitchen? Gone. Your bamboo hardwood floors? Gone. The upscale remodeled kitchen and tub? Gone. Some master policies don’t even pay for new electrical wiring and plumbing.

That’s why it’s critical to understand what your co-op’s master policy covers and what coverage you need to buy for yourself.

You’ll also need your own policy in order to cover the contents of your apartment in case of theft or accidental injuries that happen inside your unit. It can save you from an ugly lawsuit if, for instance, a leaky pipe in your unit winds up damaging the unit of your downstairs neighbor.

Each master policy is different, so it can be daunting to figure out how to strike the balance between being fully covered and not wasting money by duplicating coverage.

“If you’ve spent a lot of money doing renovating your apartment — that’s the kind of thing you need to cover on your own policy,” says Jeff Schneider, president and CEO of Gotham Brokerage, which has been helping New Yorkers find property insurance for 50 years.

“I’ve been doing this since 1982 and one of my partnerships has been at it since 1977, so there’s not many scenarios that we haven’t seen,” Schneider adds. “We pride ourselves on being able to find the best policy and finding it very efficiently, whether you need one for a $300,000 apartment or a $3 million penthouse.”

Gotham Brokerage is a family-owned business, and after 50 years in New York City, we know the city’s housing and insurance markets by heart. As a brokerage, we use a variety of insurance underwriters to provide policyholders with the most cost-effective and comprehensive coverage possible.

Want to enlist Gotham Brokerage’s expertise to help you find the right co-op apartment insurance? Visit

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