How to File Condo Insurance Claims Without a Hassle
Condominiums, like other types of homes, can experience accidents and disasters. Even though owners hope to never have to use it, condo insurance policies are an important part of protecting personal assets and property. When the unthinkable happens, you need to know how to file a condo insurance claim so you can receive your reimbursement quickly and get things back to normal.
A condominium is generally some type of joint ownership of real property in which the main portions of the land and buildings are commonly owned by the members (the unit owners) in an association and the single units or apartments are individually owned. The responsibility to maintain the common areas fall on the Association, whereas, the maintenance of the units fall on the individual owner. The common vs. non-common areas will be defined in the governing documents of the condominium (the covenants, conditions and restrictions). You may also look to section 718.108, Fla. Stat. for mandates on areas that must be designated as common elements. So if a loss occurs within a unit of a condominium it is generally speaking the owner’s responsibility to repair. To protect yourself and your investment in the condominium, insurance can be purchased to cover such losses.
Our client was offered $0 for damage to their condominium by a fire sprinkler malfunction that caused severe interior water damage to the condominium unit. Although the client did not have insurance we were able to recover $82,500 in compensation for interior water damage to floors, fixtures, furniture, appliances, kitchen, etc.
What to Know About Filing a Condo Insurance Claim
Condo insurance, known as HO-6 insurance, is intended to cover reimbursement for damages or injuries that occur within your condominium home. This type of insurance should cover your content (furniture, clothing, personal belongings, art, or jewelry, etc.), interior finishes such as flooring, paint, tile, etc., kitchen cabinets and countertops, and toilets and bathtubs. Condo insurance is different from a condo association’s master policy, which typically covers damages to the condo structure and the common areas. However, sometimes it is difficult to determine whether the personal condo insurance or the master policy is responsible for the damage. The governing documents for the association will define the common vs. non-common areas. By law the selling agent must provide you the rules and regulation of the association at the time of purchase. If you cannot find the documents defining your areas of responsibility, you should contact your condo association representative to obtain a copy and get help answer any questions you may have about the master policy coverage.
Filing a Condo Insurance Claim? Be Prepared
As with any type of homeowner’s policy, knowledge and preparation is key. Read through your policy in full, and understand what is covered and what is not. If additional property isn’t covered under your existing account, consider adding a rider or addendum that cover specific items of value.
Keeping a detailed inventory of your property and valuables can help ensure accurate reimbursement in case of damage or loss. This can be done by videotaping your home, taking photographs of property, or simply keeping an ongoing list of property and values.
How to File a Condo Insurance Claim
When an accident happens, your planning will pay off. Filing a condo insurance claim can be accomplished faster and easier when all applicable information is provided. The information you provide can help ensure there are no questions or concerns from the insurance carrier.
- Keep detailed notes about the date and time of the incident
- Provide documentation of all damage through photographs or video
- Complete a list of all personal property that was stolen or damaged, along with the estimated value of each item
- Contact your insurance agent and file a condo insurance claim
- If repairs are required, get several estimates from reputable contractors
- Be present for both contractor estimates and claim adjustor visits. If possible, have a contractor available when the adjuster arrives to ensure that the adjuster is clear on the scope and level of damage that is present.
In some cases, condo insurance claims are filed and reimbursed quickly and easily, especially when preparation is completed ahead of time. However, often the condominium owner gets stuck dealing with their own insurance company for damage caused to their unit by a failure in a common element. Here, the unit and the association’s insurance company point fingers at each other. Also, if information is missing or there is need for additional research, payment may be delayed or denied.
What to Do When a Condo Insurance Claim is Denied
The most common reason for a denial is that the condo insurance claim is for damage that is not covered under your condo insurance policy. In other cases, the insurance agent may suspect fraud, or information may be missing, illegible, or otherwise incomplete. Whatever the case, if you feel you were unfairly denied by your insurance agent, you have the ability to appeal the decision. If you are denied coverage and feel that the decision was unjust, seeking qualified counsel might be the best way to ensure you receive the reimbursement you deserve.
Schedule a free consultation and we can discuss what your options are to make sure you are paid your full claim amount in full and on time.