Condominiums often seem like a great alternative for homeowners to buying a single-family home. The outright cost is often lower, and the homeowners’ association handles all of the work that normally goes into a home- maintenance and upkeep, landscaping and snow removal, to name just a few benefits. However, the devil is in the details.
Insuring your condo separately protects you
Insurance is important, and good condo insurance can protect you against liability for injuries and compensate you for lost, stolen or damaged property. In order for your insurance policy to be effective, though, it is vital to understand how your condo association’s master policy works.
Your condo insurance covers what the association’s master policy does not. Trusted Choice describes the two types of master policies available:
- An “all-in” condo master policy: Also known as a “single-unit” master policy, this type of policy covers the fixtures in your condo such as the appliances, wiring, plumbing, and carpets, but does not cover personal property that you own.
- A “bare walls-in” condo master policy: This policy does not cover anything contained within your walls. It may or may not cover your condo’s plumbing and electrical systems. Be sure to carefully review the association’s master policy to determine what your condo insurance policy needs to cover.
A portion of your HOA fees is used to pay for the master policy. The overall cost of insuring your condo unit falls on you, whether you pay more in HOA fees or more for single unit insurance. Unfortunately, because there are two separate policies in play, owners and HOAs can face unique challenges when making a claim.
Why condo insurance claims can be difficult
The first challenge is where litigation often comes into play, and involves causation. Insurance companies will often challenge a claim for damages by trying to prove a pre-existing condition or that lack of maintenance led to failure. Having good legal counsel on your side during insurance disputes is vital, whether as an individual or as part of your HOA.
The second challenge involves damages to your personal property. The HOA’s master policy might cover some of your damages (i.e., damaged electric outlets from a power surge or lightning strike) but will likely not cover anything that was plugged in. This is where having your own policy can protect you; a separate claim can be filed for your damaged items.
In some cases, even if your HOA loses a claim, your policy may protect you. Either way, dealing with multiple insurance agencies and complex insurance agreements is difficult and confusing. At Stipe Law Firm, we work to protect your rights and your assets. If you believe you have been the victim of an insurance company acting in bad faith, you may be entitled to compensation. Visit our office in McAlester or contact our experienced Oklahoma insurance dispute lawyers today for a free consultation.