Hollywood Condominium Insurance Lawyer
When you purchase a condo for the first time, you are entering unfamiliar territory regarding insurance policies and coverage. What makes condo insurance different from, for example, renter’s insurance or homeowner’s insurance, is that there are actually two condo insurance policies that you will likely be required to carry: (1) an individual condo insurance policy, and (2) a master condo insurance policy.
The necessity for two separate insurance policies makes filing an insurance claim quite complicated, especially considering that any insurance company involved will try very hard to find reasons to deny, delay, or undervalue your claim. For help with a condo insurance claim, contact an experienced Hollywood Condominium Insurance Lawyer at Property Damage Law Firm.
What is an Individual Condo Insurance Policy?
Your individual condo insurance policy is the insurance policy that you carry as the owner of a condo, analogous to a homeowner’s insurance policy. Like homeowner’s insurance, this policy protects your personal belongings and includes liability protection against any accident that occurs within your unit itself. In most cases, your mortgage lender and/or your Condo Owners Association (“COA”) will require you to carry this coverage, just as a mortgage lender requires homeowners to carry homeowner’s insurance. Like a homeowner’s insurance policy, it provides:
- Personal Liability Coverage. This is the coverage that protects you against other people’s claims or lawsuits brought against you for physical injuries or property damage you are responsible for.
- Personal Property Coverage. This is the coverage that helps you repair or replace your personal belongings, such as electronics, clothing, appliances, and furniture if these belongings are stolen or damaged.
As a condo owner, you essentially own part of a building and/or property, but not all of it. Because of this, as discussed above, two insurance policies are needed to make sure everything is covered. Your individual unit owner’s policy covers part of your condo, and the COA’s Master Condo Policy covers the rest.
About Master Condo Insurance Policies
The Master Condo Insurance Policy is the insurance policy that is carried by the COA. The premiums for this policy are taken from your COA dues. The Master Condo Policy provides protection against two main areas of risk: (1) general liability for the COA, and (2) property damage coverage for common areas. Common areas generally include structures and property that are available to all COA members, such as clubhouses, swimming pools, parking areas, etc.
FAQs Answered by an Experienced Hollywood Condominium Insurance Lawyer
What Should I Ask About When Considering what Condo Insurance to Buy?
Naturally, there are a lot of options when purchasing condo insurance. Some of the questions that may affect your purchasing decision include:
- Do you own any additional structures, such as a garage, on the property?
- Do you work out of your condo?
- Do you have frequent visitors to the condo, especially visitors with young children?
- What does your estimated replacement cost? In other words, how much individual insurance coverage do you need to completely cover your condo?
- How much are your possessions, at least your valuable possessions, worth?
- What kind of discounts are available; for example, say if you bundle your auto insurance?
- How much of a deductible can you afford to pay in the event of a loss?
- What is the minimum coverage required by your mortgage lender?
- What is the minimum coverage required by your COA?
- Will the COA coverage fill in all of the gaps left by my individual insurance; i.e., between your individual insurance and the COA insurance, are there any coverage gaps?
What Does a Typical Personal Condo Insurance Policy Cover?
An insurance agent should be able (and willing) to help you determine the condo coverage for any given policy, and help you decide what coverage best fits your needs and budget. It’s best if you have an insurance agent that you have a good history. In any event, a typical policy usually covers:
- The physical structure of your unit.
- Your personal belongings.
- Your personal liability or legal fees for injuries on your property.
The policy can be customized, and additional coverages may include:
- Loss of use coverage for expenses incurred if your condo is rendered uninhabitable.
- Replacement cost, as opposed to current value cost.
- Valuable items, such as jewelry.
- Flood insurance.
- Earthquake insurance.
Do I Need to Re-Apply for my Individual Insurance Policy Every Year?
Likely no. Most condo policies are renewable every year, but you have to remain eligible and pay your premiums on time. In any event, it’s a good idea to occasionally review your coverage with your agent.
What Can I Do to Lower My Premiums?
The cost of your insurance, generally paid in periodic premiums, depends on the types of coverages, the amount of your deductibles, and the policy limits you choose. A few tips that can lower your premium include:
- Meet with your insurance agent about your insurance needs, the interplay between premiums and deductibles, and your eligibility for discounts.
- Bundle your condo insurance with other types of insurance policies, such as automobile insurance, boat insurance, RV insurance, and the like.
- Invest in interior sprinkler systems, smoke detectors, home security systems, and smart home technology.
What is an Umbrella Policy?
Umbrella policies, also known as excess liability policies, supplement primary liability policies already in place. For COA insurance, an umbrella policy covers a higher limit and protects the community’s assets from unexpected catastrophic events for which the COA would be held liable.
Breaking Down Why Condo Insurance Claims are Denied?
Most insurance companies, whether serving COA master policies or individual condo owner policies, will eventually pay out legitimate claims to policyholders. Nonetheless, some insurance companies may delay or deny your condo insurance claim.
Insurance claims are often denied, delayed, or undervalued for the following typical reasons:
- Failure to Cooperate. Insurance policies commonly state that policyholders must “cooperate” with the insurance company. One of the most common insurance company denial/undervalue tactics is to claim that you made some type of omission or mistake when filling out the mountains of paperwork. Your best bet here is to patiently correct all mistakes and/or omissions. The insurance company is hoping you’ll become frustrated and just give up. Don’t let them do this to you.
- Duplicate Coverage. An insurance company may deny your claim because it’s a COA claim rather than a personal claim, or visa-versa.
- Causation. An insurance company may dispute what actually caused the damage being claimed.
- Property Devaluation. An insurance company may argue that your property is not as valuable as it used to be and deny or devalue your claim accordingly.
Don’t try to figure out why your claim was denied — instead turn to attorneys with experience in condominium insurance. If you believe you’re fighting an unfair denial, our lawyers will help you challenge the insurance company.
A Hollywood Condominium Insurance Lawyer Can Help You With Your Condo Insurance Questions
Condo insurance is complex, primarily because there are two types of policies involved: (1) an individual condo insurance policy, and (2) a master condo insurance policy. A Hollywood Condominium Insurance Lawyer at Property Damage Law Firm understands all of the issues surrounding any type of condo insurance, can help you make decisions regarding coverage, and, more importantly, fight for your rights if an insurance company tries to deny, delay, or undervalue your claim.
We have a multilingual staff, a same-day return messages policy, and the latest in technology. All we do is issue insurance companies, and we work on a contingency basis, which means you pay nothing unless and until you recover your financial losses. Contact us online to schedule your free consultation.