While all insurance claims for property damage in Miami-Dade County and the surrounding areas of Florida can be complicated, property owners who suffer damage to a condo unit face unique challenges. While some claims will be covered by the insurance of the condominium association or your own homeowner’s insurance, other claims might involve the insurance company for the owner of an adjacent unit or the unit located above your unit id that is where the problem originated. The type of peril, origin of the damage and other factors will impact what insurance coverage is relevant to getting your condo unit repaired.
Water damage from faulty water heaters, seals around the base of a toilet, water pipes that burst and similar perils are fairly common in condominiums because of the age of many of the units. A key question in evaluating the proper insurance against whom to pursue a claim is whether the pipe that burst or other peril was part of a common element. While your Declaration of Condominium will define a common element, this term usually refers to areas that do not touch air, such as a burst pipe inside drywall between adjacent units or a leaky common plumbing seal in the ceiling between units.
The condominium association’s insurance might be responsible for covering this type of loss if the association’s negligence caused the damage. If the association’s failure to perform maintenance of the common areas caused your loss, such as failing to repair a leaky roof or an air conditioning duct in a common element fails, this may be the responsibility of the association insurance coverage. By contrast, the condominium association’s casualty coverage generally will cover a loss associated with a sudden unforeseeable peril like a hurricane, severe storm or recently purchased water heater that bursts because it is defective.
Florida Statute 718.11(11)(f) also imposes insurance coverage requirements on condominium associations for policies renewed or purchased on or after January 1, 2009:
1. All portions of the condominium property as originally installed or replacement of like kind and quality, in accordance with the original plans and specifications.
2. All alterations or additions made to the condominium property or association property pursuant to s. 718.113(2).
3. The coverage must exclude all personal property within the unit or limited common elements, and floor, wall, and ceiling coverings, electrical fixtures, appliances, water heaters, built-in cabinets and countertops, and window treatment components, or replacement of any of the forgoing which are located within the boundaries of the unit and serve only such unit. Such property and any insurance thereupon is the responsibility of the unit owner.
If you have suffered damage to your condo and have questions about whether your homeowner’s policy coverage, condo association’s insurance or another homeowner’s insurance should cover your loss, an experienced condo insurance claims attorney might be able to help.
You can reach Miami Condominium Insurance Claims Lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email Attorney Gonzalez-Sirgo directly at [email protected].