It is important to know that your role as a unit owner is spelled out in your association documents, namely the By-Laws and Declarations. If you can’t lay your hands on a copy you should ask a member of your association board for one.
In these documents it spells out what the responsibility of the Association is, and what YOUR responsibility is as a Unit Owner. Instructions on who is going to insure what is written in these documents and it is very important you know when you purchase your unit owners policy.
- How much “Condo Building Items” coverage do you need?
- How much “Loss Assessment Coverage” does your policy offer? Can I buy more?
- Why do I even need these things?
Condo Building Items
Most often the majority of the building structure of each of the units are insured by the homeowners’ association. The unit owner is responsible for insuring just the part of the structural interior not covered by the master policy. You could be responsible for insuring everything inside the bare walls —OR— you could be responsible only for your own unique upgrades that were not as originally installed in your unit. We could be talking about finishing your basement, upgrading your kitchen cabinets or installing granite countertops for example.
Loss Assessment Coverage
A Loss Assessment is a request made of all unit owners for uninsured or underinsured property or liability claims. If the Association has to ask its owners for money, your unit owner’s policy could have coverage for that request. It has been very inexpensive to increase the limit from a typical $1000 up to $25,000 or $50,000 depending on the insurance company who issued your policy. Ask your agent about this. ALSO, ask your agent if the Loss Assessment Coverage on your policy will pay when a large deductible has to be paid by the Association. Some forms don’t cover deductible assessments, but there are policies in the marketplace that will – look for one.
After our recent bad weather, with storm damaged condo and townhome associations seeking insurance coverage, often times the new policy has a large wind and hail deductible that can affect all the owners if another loss happens. Loss Assessment coverage is probably more important now than ever before.
Darnielle Insurance is available to answer your questions.
We are located at 1320 28th Street West, Billings, MT 59102.
Give us a call at 406-652-4180.
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