Written by Andy Gurczak

August 1, 2021

Condominium Insurance Claim: What to Expect?

How and When to File Condominium Insurance Claims

You are probably hoping never to file a condominium insurance claim. However, accidents and disasters happen. So in those cases, a policy that will cover your condominium for unexpected loss is invaluable. To illustrate, with a condominium insurance policy you can receive compensation for your losses, if you were to suffer property damage. It’s important that you know how this type of insurance works. For this reason, we have compiled a few tips and notes on how to deal with condominium insurance. Furthermore, having an independent agent, such as a public adjuster, working for you during the claims process, can make the whole ordeal much easier.

Condominium Insurance Claim

What to Know about Filing Condominium Insurance Claims

Condo insurance is designed to cover damage or injuries that occur inside your condo, of course. On the other hand, a condo association’s master policy typically covers damage to the structure of the building and the common areas. However, sometimes it may be confusing determining which policy should cover damage to your living space. For example, if a leaky roof causes damage to your condominium’s walls, both your policy and the condo association’s master policy may be responsible for covering the damage. Consequently, it is important to note that you should know the terms of the master policy for your association.

Be Prepared Before You Need to File a Condominium Insurance Claim

First and foremost, be fully aware of what your insurance plan does and doesn’t cover. Read your policy beforehand. Moreover, keep a physical and digital copy of your condo insurance policy accessible so that you can easily refer to the terms when you need to.

Furthermore, maintain a detailed and updated list of all your personal belongings, as well as their values. Remember also to keep copies of receipts for expensive purchases such as furniture and electronics with your important files or at a cloud service. In fact, walk through your home with a video camera and fully document all of your belongings, if possible. Because in the event of a major loss, having this documentation can help ensure that you are properly reimbursed, as well as make the process run smoother.

With this in mind, remember that the amount you receive after a claim will depend on whether you have replacement value coverage or actual cash value coverage. This in addition to whether you have policy riders that list specific items of value.

What to Do in a Disaster

The most important thing to remember is to stay safe in case of a disaster. Do not try to save or retrieve your valuables if doing so puts you at risk. Only if it is safe, rather collect important papers and most valuable items to protect them from damage.

Furthermore, be sure to record important details if anyone is injured on your property. Remember also to record the names of any witnesses and as much information about the events leading to the injury as possible. Last but not least, call authorities to record what occurred, in case of a fire or crime. Your insurance provider will certainly request a copy of police reports in those circumstances.

Condominium Insurance Claim

How to File a Condominium Insurance Claim

Steps of filing a condominium insurance claim:

  • First, make a record of the time and date of the incident, as well as how it happened.
  • Second, document all the damage with photographs or a video.
  • After, write a detailed list of all personal property that was damaged or stolen, as well as each item’s estimated value. In short, this is where the inventory list we mentioned comes in handy.
  • Then, call your insurance agent or company. You will subsequently be assigned a claims adjuster that will review your claim and inspect damages if it were necessary.
  • Once you file your claim, it is settled and your insurance adjuster gives you the green light, you can begin repairs.
  • However, you may want to get several estimates from reputable contractors before getting repairs started.

If it is a simple matter to determine the value of your loss, the adjuster may give you a check on the spot.

Condodminium insurance claim denoed

When Are Condominium Insurance Claims Denied?

The most common reason for a condo insurance claim to be denied is that the policyholder is making a claim for damage that is not covered by the policy. For example, policyholders often think that their condominium insurance covers flood damage, which it doesn’t. So they file a claim for flood damage and thus get their claim denied. Therefore, having a detailed understanding of your policy beforehand can save you time and frustration.

Meanwhile, on other occasions, the insurance company may suspect fraud. For instance, if the insurer suspects your damage is due to your negligence, and not because of a tornado, like you claim, they may reject your claim. Moreover, your insurer might also suspect fraud, if you claim you lost expensive items, for which you have no proof of ever owning. For this reason, it’s important to keep photographs and receipts for your valuables.

Another reason why your insurance company denied your claim is because the damage is covered by your condo association insurance policy. Condo insurance claims differ from home insurance claims because parts of your building and property may be covered by a different insurance policy and a different insurance company altogether.

Furthermore, failing to pay your insurance payments is also a significant reason to have your claim denied. Indeed, an insurance policy is a contract. Therefore, if you do not hold up your end of the deal, which includes regularly paying insurance premiums, then the insurance company no longer has to hold up their end. With this in mind, always be sure to pay your insurance on time.

Can I Appeal A Condominium Insurance Claim Denial?

Nevertheless, if you feel that your claim has been unjustly denied, you can appeal the decision. In fact, as a policyholder, you are entitled to have visits from three different claims adjusters. In addition, you can also file an appeal with the Department of Insurance (DOI) in your state, or hire a lawyer to argue your case. However, hiring a public adjuster to help with your condominium insurance claim from the very beginning, might be your very best approach.

Condominium Association and Community Association Property Insurance Claims

When a disaster results in damage to condominium or community association properties, the association’s manager and board of directors are responsible for filing insurance claims. State Statute, deed, or association declarations and bylaws define common ownership. These instruments define coverages and apportion responsibility between the community association and individual owners.

What You Need to Know about Condominium Insurance Association Claims

The claim management process for condominium associates is often complex and challenging. Keep these issues in mind as you progress through the claims process:

  • First, an insured loss at a condominium almost always affects multiple units or common areas, which complicates the claims process. The more extensive the damage, the more difficult it becomes to ensure that all insured losses are accounted for. A public insurance adjuster is often a necessity for dealing with extensive property damage.
  • Because condominium claims tend to affect multiple owners, it’s not unusual for conflicts to arise concerning at-fault parties, repairs, priority and responsibility.
  • Furthermore, associations are subject to an ever-changing statutory environment, which adds legal complexity and uncertainty to the insurance claims process.
  • In addition, some condominium associations are actually governed as homeowners associations, therefore it affects regulations and statutes, and consequently, the outcome of your insurance claim.

Tips for Organizing a Condominium Insurance Association Claim

Multiple policyholders, insurance companies, pressure from owners, and conflicting and unclear requirements can make the claims process a headache. As well as prevent you from getting the claims settlement you deserve.

 

The following are a few tips and tricks to help smooth out the process:

    • First things first, appoint a team of organized unit owners, each with a specific role in the claims process, to help streamline the process. This will also ensure clear communication with both the insurance company and stakeholders.
    • Second, document every point of communication between the association and the insurance company.
    • Equally important is that each unit owner of your condo compiles an individual damage assessment form. This could include contact information, damages inside or outside the unit, information about any insurance claims filed and supporting photographs.
    • The association should also obtain at least three estimates from licensed general contractors to determine the true cost of restoring the property to its pre-loss condition. No repairs should begin until the association and insurance company have agreed on a scope of loss.
    • Gather and organize all financial statements and records. Include tax returns, maintenance records, association meeting records and repair receipts from at least the last three years.
    • Report the status of the association’s claim with all stakeholders to avoid problems and misunderstandings.
    • Consider hiring an experienced public adjuster firm for support. An experienced public adjuster has the expertise and resources to speed up and maximize even the most complex condo association claims.
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