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Condominium Insurance Claim
Getting a fair settlement for condominium damage can be challenging.
If you have suffered a loss to your condominium and are looking for more information, contact us today!
What Makes an Insurance Claim on your Condominium Complicated?
Whether you own your condominium, condominium complex, or rent from the building or an owner, the issue of insurance is rather a complex matter compared to a single-family home where the insurance requirement is clear and straightforward. In the case of condominium ownership, there are other issues to consider other than the amount of insurance coverage the owner should take.
This complication is mainly due to the fact that as a condominium owner, your ownership is abstract. You own a certain unit, along with many other individuals, within a building or land that is owned by another entity.
That said, it is a bit more difficult to determine the insurance you need. In fact, most condo owners rely on the blanket insurance coverage paid by the homeowner’s association and do not have an individual insurance policy on their property at all.
But based on experience, especially when the association is not very well organized, doing so is a bad idea. Because this means that any loss not covered by the association will be at your own expense. And you will also be affected if there is any problem in the homeowners association’s insurance policy.
Even though you have insurance through your homeowner’s association, you should obtain additional insurance for your individual unit.
What to watch out for if you own an individual unit in a condominium
If you own a condominium unit, be cautious in dealing with the Homeowner’s Association. Though they’re supposed to be looking out for the interest of the homeowners, the property manager, association attorneys, management company, maintenance employees and even board of directors are not always above reproach.
For instance, some associations, upon recognizing that the cause of the damage was likely the result of carelessness on the part of the condominium administrator, try to evade or conceal the real cause and refuse to take responsibility.
When this case is brought to the attention of the board of directors, the board may sometime mismanage the issue to the point that an attorney would have to get involved to settle the dispute.
More often than not, such battles can begin when a board fails to identify and remedy the problem when it is first brought to their attention. With their resistance to correct the problem, let alone acknowledge that a serious problem even exists, you the complainant will often have to deal with denials, delays and even intimidation.
With all the problems of adjoining walls, unscrupulous directors, and indifferent association attorneys, your interest may not always be at the top of their agenda especially when it comes to settling a condominium damage that you think you fully deserve.
HERE ARE SOME POINTERS TO PROTECT YOUR INTEREST
As a unit owner, you have the right to a copy of the associations insurance policy. One common issue of conflict for condominium owners is water damage and molds. Always have a copy of the associations policies and procedures for addressing water damage and molds. If you are not provided with a policy, or the association claims no such policy exists, you then need to be sure to obtain a written certification from your association stating this. It is not uncommon for an association to deny or withhold the policies on water damage and mold, only to produce it later when they can use it against the owner.
You should also acquaint yourself with your association’s governing documents, specifically on the covenants, conditions, and restrictions on “common” and “common area”. This is a complex issue in a condominium structure. Having a thorough understanding of what is meant by the term “common” is critical to resolving any damages that originate from the common areas.
If you think you have a mold issue caused by water damage originating from the common area, and you want it to be put on record and resolved as quickly as possible, you should report this to your board of directors in writing. Owners often make the mistake of complaining out loud about it thinking it will help solve their problem, but it won´t. Their verbal complaint will most likely be forgotten and left unattended.
You can fax your written complaint to the board of directors. However, if you do not get acknowledgment within 10 days, you should resend your complaint through returned receipt such as certified mail. The point is you should make sure you have proof of mailing so that the board cannot refute your claim that you did send them a written complaint.
After you send your letter, make a follow up written request for the inclusion of your issue on the agenda at the next board meeting, and then be sure to attend it. If your association in any way prevents you from discussing common area problems that affect your unit, this is a clear indication of a more serious underlying problem.
Also be sure to photograph or record on video ANY damages to your unit as well as the surrounding areas. Turn on the “date” option of your camera or video camera before taking pictures or recording the video. It is always a good idea for resident owners and landlords to maintain a visual digital log of all belongings of value for insurance purposes, in case of property loss or damage.
IF YOU’RE RENTING A CONDOMINIUM FROM LANDLORD OR IN A BUILDING COMPLEX
Before renting a condominium, ensure that there is sufficient provision in your lease agreement on property damage. Check also if your landlord has insurance that covers your interests as well as theirs.
Prior to signing your lease agreement, be sure to thoroughly inspect your condominium unit. Promptly report any and all problems with your unit.
During your stay, if you encounter any type of damage from hurricane, tornado, flood, molds etc., be sure to document and report it to your landlord immediately. Having photographic evidence of the original condition of your unit, along with all of your valuables inside the unit is always a good precautionary measure against any eventuality.
Whether you own or rent a condominium unit, or you are the owner of a condominium building, you should always make sure you are protected with insurance. If you have suffered a loss to your property, call a licensed public adjuster today to help you with the difficult process of adjusting condominium damage. Our adjusters are licensed and experienced in dealing with all types of condominiums and condominium complexes, large and small. Contact InsuraClaim today.