If you live in a condo, and you are considering getting a pet, then you are up against it on two fronts.
One, your condo has rules. Most condo’s are not pet friendly, or at the least they are tolerated.
Then if you get your pet accepted, then you may be blackballed from the insurance company.
No need for statistics here, all you have to know is that the most liability claims every year under homeowners insurance are under the dog category.
Good luck with your pet in your condo, but if you are just thinking of getting a dog, before you fall in love with that cute puppy, here is a list of dogs, that insurers do not consider cute.
- Pit Bull Terriers
- Staffordshire Terriers
- German Shepherds
- Presa Canarios
- Chows Chows
- Doberman Pinschers
- Cane Corsos
- Great Danes
- Alaskan Malamutes
- Siberian Huskies
I have a dog in my condo, a cairn terrier. Consider one of those before you go getting a bull mastiff or a Doberman.
I believe there is a direct correlation between someone’s age and the size of their dog. The younger you are the bigger the dog, and the older you are, the smaller your dog is.
” with age comes wisdom”
I get asked condo questions daily in my work as an insurance agent. So I decided to post a few in a series called ” dear Mr Condo Insurance”
These are not meant to be the be all and end all of all answers, and they should not have any reflection on my work at the agency, as this is a private site meant to help people. Always ask your lawyer or your insurance professional.
DEAR MR CONDO INSURANCE GUY:
I recently got an assessment to replace our roof. It is big money, and I remembered something in my unit owner homeowner insurance policy call loss assessment coverage. I called my agent and I was not covered.
What’s up with that.
DEAR NOT COVERED:
Not sure of all the details, but my guess is that your insurance professional is right.
Loss assessment coverage does not cover much at all, hence that fact that it is so cheap. It covers you for uninsured covered losses to your unit that were not covered by the master policy and were assessed to the unit owners.
The big deal is that your home or unit owner policy probably has the same coverage or less coverage than the master policy, so there is little likelihood that you will ever have a ” loss assessment loss’
Also, my guess here is that there was no loss to the roof, but it was replaced and assessed due to a maintenance issue.
where might you be covered? let’s say that you have earthquake coverage on your unit owner policy and the association does not. The earthquake hits, and there is no coverage and you are assessed to repair the damage. Then you have a case for loss assessment. Or , if the association policy limits were exhausted and you were assessed for the shortfall in coverage.
How do you COPE with your condominium insurance?
The point is that the way an insurance company looks at you and your risk is based on C.O.P.E.
They look at 5 basic areas to evaluate your risk potential
- C- Construction, what is your condo made out of? wood, brick or a highly non combustible material or even a fire resistive construction material
- O- Occupants, what makes up the building? In a condo, they look to see who lives there. Owners vs renters, is there a office or retail location?
- P- protection, How well is the property protected against perils, such as fire, wind and water. Do you have sprinklers, do you have updated standard wiring, and where are you located and protected from the wind
- E- Exposure, what are you near? How are you susceptible to a claim? Close to the water? exposed to fire or other peril from a nearby building or forest etc.
This is how your company looks at you and along with total value, height and square footage, they will model your risk and exposure and come up with an appropriate premium for your condominium association.
The terms of the average replacement cost provision on your policy call for repair or replacement.
It is usually defined in the policy as the cost to replace the damaged property with materials of like kind and quality, without any deduction for depreciation
Now the battle begins.
Your roof is damaged. Actually, a third of your roof is damaged.
You want a new roof! of course you do. You do not want just a new third.
They want to repair the damage. Of course they do, that is how the policy reads and it is cheaper.
This goes under “you get what you pay for”, or” your expectations are not always what you get”.
You can argue here with the insurance company. If there is a continuation of roof and it would look ridiculous to have a third the roof one color and the other two thirds another, than it makes sense to continue to re-roof to a point where there is a division and there is continuity to the roof.
The same applies for floors and paint. It pays to ask.
People and entities being named on someone else’s policy is nothing new. People ask this to transfer the risk to someone else. If you lease a space, you will be asked the name the landlord, if you rent a hall for a party, you will be asked to name the hall as an additional insured.
So be prepared to have the property manager ask you to name them as additional insured.
Beware! There are ways to do it and ways not to. Be careful to add anyone but your condominium as additional “named” insured. and never list their name first in the named insured section. Do you know who controls the policy and gets paid first? it is the “first named insured on the policy.
It is customary to have the property manager asked to be named on the general liability section, the fidelity ( employee dishonesty ) section or policy, and on the directors and officers policy.
There are so many different ways the companies handle it, you need to read it and be clear. Just because it says additional insured, Please read the fine print.
Most companies have been asked so many time to add the property manager as an additional insured, that they have just gone ahead and baked it into their policy.
Remember also, that the more people you add to the policy, the more people you are defending and covering with your limited limits.
Always read and ask questions
here is a recent article I read from a lawyer on the subject.
5 steps to understanding your condominium Insurance policy.
Let’s face it. Chances are that your agent did not even read the policy. They probably packaged it up, attached a bill and mailed it out to you. The reading usually starts after there is a loss.
The damn thing is 70-100 pages long, and reads like Obama’ affordable care act.
What to look for.
- start at the first page ( the declarations page) This has most all the salient information, and a good summary of the coverages.
- Check to see if the named insured is correct. Do they have the right name, the right contact, the right mailing address.
- Check the limits of coverage for the building and liability. Do they look right. Compare it with the previous policy.
- Does the premium match the invoice?
- Give everything a once over, and then call your agent or company representative and go over it with her or him. Ask questions, Ask for it in plain language, and ask lots of questions, the agent and company have your money, and they are providing a service and coverage, so don’t feel bad about asking questions.
The problem is that we trust people and you should, but it is a big expense, and you are liable for checking out the policy and making sure it is correct. do your due diligence.
The top selling condo’s in Boston include some of the most posh addresses. Many that you would expect.
But When it comes to insurance, do you get what you paid for?
First the list, Ten sales but only half as many buildings.
- The heritage 7.1 Million
- The mandarin 7.0 Million
- Clarendon 6.5 million
- 3 Commonwealth 6.5 Million
- The mandarin 6.3 million
- 50 beacon Street 6.25 Million
- Clarendon 6.225 Million
- Clarendon 5.9 Million
- Clarendon 5.7 Million
- 3 Commonwealth 5.75 Million
So what is the point! I guess it is that people have a lot more money than me. But the real point is that after spending all this money, it would amaze you that this huge investment is not insured properly.
In most cases, if you add up the sales prices of the building and compare that to the insurance policy insured value, it has little or no relationship.
For all you smarty pants, I know that you do not insure for the sale value, but for the actual replacement value. That being said, my guess is that each one of these buildings may be underinsured.
If you paid 7,000,000 for a property and saw that you had $3,000,000 in coverage, I would think that this would be cause for a raised eyebrow and some questions.
Protect your assets, and let me know when the housewarming party is.
It is our nature to want stuff. It is natural to want what the other guy has.
So we go out and get it without much thought. We just want it! Just because.
Look in my kitchen to see what I mean. At some point I had an epiphany that came to me and said that I have to have a bread machine, a make your own soda machine, a frydaddy, and a waffle maker. Don’t even get me started on home fitness stuff that my wife had an epiphany about including the thigh buster and the butt cracker.
My point is that as an association we also want things, like a pool, like a playground, like a clubhouse and a guard shack.
We think about the cost, we think about the usage ( always divide that by two or more) But do we ever think about the insurance.
The answer is no.
Let’s look at pools and playgrounds:
- Liability, liability and more liability. Pools should come with a lawyer along with the directions and water.
- property insurance- Did anyone think to cover the property? probably not.
- Directors and Officers- What happens when the second guesser says ” why did we do this and who made this BAD decision” Oops!
- Likeability- What happens when your insurance company who used to like you, doesn’t like you any more? And if they like you still, you will pay for it for sure.
The point is that you want it, you have to have it, and you more than likely will get it ( Think thigh master). But, before you do, think about what you will need for insurance, and how it will affect the association.
As always good luck and be smart.
Can anybody tell me how I am covered for insurance at my condo?
I hear it every day, it is a fair question, but no one seems to be able to answer the question.
You ask your unit owner policy agent, and they say ” it depends on the master policy, or check your by-laws”
You check with the master policy insurer and they say check with your unit owner insurer, or check the by-laws.
You either check the by-laws, at which time, you are more confused, or you give up and cross your fingers like most people, and hope for the best.
This stinks, it was like when you were a kid and you wanted to take the car and dad says ask your mother, and mom says ask your dad, and when you go back, they both say whatever, if mom has no objections, or ok if dad says so. Then you get in an accident and they both blame each other. They each say, you always give in to him, you can’t ever say no, or give him a straight answer.
Sounds familiar right? Same thing with your condo unit owner insurance. you get the run around, you never get a straight answer, and everybody is to blame when there is a accident or loss.
Make sure that the professionals that you hire and get paid give you the straight answers. It is the least they can do.
The Holidays are upon us and with that brings risk.
What is risk? Risk is an insurance term for the chance that something might happen.
What could go wrong at the holidays and Christmas?
1. Live errr dead and dry Christmas trees indoors.( have you ever lit fore to a dead Christmas tree? they go up like a bomb)
2. Over loaded sockets. More lights, more cords, more chance of an electrical fire.
3. fireplaces. We look at them all year until we think we need to have a little holiday ambience. Then we realize that the flue has not been cleaned in years, or that there are wholes in the brick that release sparks into the condo.
4. We go away. What better time to see the relatives out of state, or go on vacation to get away from all the nonsense. Did you keep the heat on? Did you turn off the water to the washing machine, did you secure the condo from thieves?
These are a few things to keep in mind at the holidays at your condo unit and association.
Happy Holidays from the Condominium Insurance review
Keeping you safe and informed 365 days a year.