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Does Condo Association Insurance Cover Condo Unit Damage?

stephen polinsky on Jan 30, 2009 9:10:00 AM


I live in a condo association high-rise and I pay monthly HOA fees.  My water heater leaked recently and damaged part of my carpet and walls.  Building maintenance replaced the water heater and repaired the damaged areas and have presented me with an $8,000 bill along with documentation of the work completed.  

When I bought the condo, my lender (who was working on-site in the building) told me that they didn't require separate homeowner's insurance or condo insurance because it was covered in my HOA fees.  Checking my HOA by-laws seemed to confirm that:  "....said condo association insurance policy shall cover all condo units, including but not limited to, condo insurance for such property as wall and floor coverings....".  Assuming this, I didn't purchase additional condo insurance coverage.

My Condo Association is now telling me that the condo association insurance coverage only applies to circumstances where the Condo Association is responsible for the damage and therefore I'm not covered at all. Nowhere in the condo association by-laws is this made clear. It describes an all-risk condo association insurance policy paid for from the HOA fees and names all Condo owners as insured by the condo association insurance policy.

Do I have any recourse?  Is it worth having a condo association attorney look over the condo association by-laws and condo rules?

There are more variations of HOA rules than there are playing cards in a deck.  You definitely need someone to read the HOA policy and give you a decision or at least point you in the right direction.  If you have car insurance, my first suggestion is to have your agent read the HOA insurance policy and give you his opinion.  If he sells condo insurance he may be fully qualified to be of help.  Also, he won't charge you for his help.

A Condo Association Attorney is going to charge from $350-$500 per hour for his time.


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