Tag Archive for condo

Do we need sprinklers in our condominium

The question of do you need sprinklers in your condominium comes up all the time.

I wish I had the answer. The answer lies with you, and also with the law. If you feel that it is in the best interest of the safety of the condo unit owners, then you need them. If it is the law, then you need them.

sprinkler for your condoDo sprinklers save lives. Yes!  Do they save property Maybe! In actuality, sprinklers freeze, leak and inadvertently go off causing water damage. is the risk worth the reward? I think so.

The laws are all over the place. From what I see, they are very specific if you have new construction and or doing a major renovation. Check with your local building inspector before going forward. This can be expensive.

If you are renovating, you might find that the local codes require you to add the sprinkler system in your condo. If so, and you feel that it is not right, you can appeal in most areas.

The appeals board will look at the law, and whether it is reasonable to ask you to do this. If the renovation is for $10,000 and it would require a $60,000 investment in a sprinkler, is that reasonable?. Can it be done? If the project does not include opening the walls, then it may not be reasonable to ask you to do it.

The law looks at standards. The standards are not the same for a 1-3 unit condo as it is for a high rise, and the standards of a nightclub are not the same as a condominium complex.

Good luck!  remember to check your local laws.

5 steps to understanding your condominium insurance policy

5 steps to understanding your condominium Insurance policy.

condo insurance

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.

  1. start at the first page ( the declarations page) This has most all the salient information, and a good summary of the coverages.
  2. Check to see if the named insured is correct. Do they have the right name, the right contact, the right mailing address.
  3. Check the limits of coverage for the building and liability. Do they look right. Compare it with the previous policy.
  4. Does the premium match the invoice?
  5. 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.

 

 

Condominium Amenities How they affect your insurance

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.

condo amenitie 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:

  1.  Liability, liability and more liability. Pools should come with a lawyer along with the directions and water.
  2. property insurance- Did anyone think to cover the property? probably not.
  3. Directors and Officers- What happens when the second guesser says ” why did we do this and who made this BAD decision”  Oops!
  4. 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.

condo playground 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.

 

Holiday Hazards for your Condominium Association

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?

How about?????

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.

Be proactive with your condominium insurance

Did you ever hear the saying

Don’t wait till you are thirsty to dig a well

The same advice can be given to the condominium association that waits till their  policy come in the mail and it is 25% higher than last year, and the renewal date has already gone by.

Another reason not to wait is the association that renews and pays and pays and pays. All of a sudden there is a string of bad luck, and you have a few minor claims. The bad mews comes down that you are no longer being considered for your renewal. Now you don’t look so good.

Be proactive. Get a proposal every couple of years. Do not wait till you are desperate to take a look.

If everything is equal amongst the insurers and the agents, then stick with what you have. Like in baseball, tie gores to the runner.

 

Good Luck!

2 unit condominium insurance

2 unit condo’s are a different breed.

Have you heard the saying?

” The only thing worse than a three unit condo, is a two unit condo”

condexI own one, so I am living this quote. You are at the mercy of who your neighbor is. This can be a great thing, or a nightmare.

What are the insurance issues?

Condo association insurance is basically the same for a 100 unit building or a 2 unit building. The issues come from your buying power and the appetite of the insurers.

Insurers:

Insurers often times do not pursue these condo’s, because quite frankly there is not enough money in it. Also, they think that they are nothing more than a two family owned by two people. They have limited common area, with more area designated as exclusive use. many of the big insurers will limit their appetite to buildings with 10 or more units. Two unit condos are akin to the ugly stepchild.

Buying power.:

Important condominium coverages like water back up, D&O, hired and non owned auto, loss of maintenance fees and many more can be expensive to buy for a small association. many times these costs are single fee based and the same price is charged for small or large associations. many times the small unit goes uncovered due to high pricing of coverage options.

Pricing tends to be higher and the costs are only divided by two parties. For example a $6,000 policy adds $500 a month to your condo fee before any other charges. This might make it harder to sell.

You might have to work harder to find the right coverage at the right price, but try not to skimp on coverage and take care of your condo. Claims will only make your search more difficult.

 

 

Condominium Deck Collapse

Who is to blame?

 

The condo Law Blog says this:

Wildwood Missouri residents who reside at the Sandalwood Creek Condominium Community need to look up at all times, especially to avoid  collapsing decks.  A deck attached to a residential unit collapsed this past Memorial Day when four people were standing on it.  All four are now in the hospital.

County officials came to the scene to evaluate all of the decks in the community and the news is not good.  It appears they may not meet current code requirements and some news reports report findings that other deck collapses in the community are foreseeable.

The decks are 30 years old and it appears many have not been properly maintained.  Some appear to be rotting.   One news crew found a decks that was visibly sagging, suggesting that it may be next in line.

So –who is responsible to repair these decks?    Of course it depends on state law and the association documents.  But in many instances, the homeowner will be responsible.

The reason is that these decks are often called “limited” common elements.  They are common elements because they fall beyond the “finished walls in.”  But they are “limited,” because only the adjoining unit owner can enjoy them, or in this case fall from them.  In these cases often it is the unit owner who must maintain, and if need be replace, the deck structure.

Some news reports suggest that this is the case in Wildwood Missouri.  But everyone may not agree and ultimately a Court may have to interpret the documents in question.

Who ever is responsible aside, decks must routinely inspected and maintained.  And they must be replaced when they are no longer safe.  Even if common funds will not be used to do this, the Association usually has the inherent right to ensure that this work is undertaken on a regular basis.

Stuart Lieberman Is an attorney with Princeton’s Lieberman & Blecher.    The firm represents community associations in New Jersey and New York.  www.liebermanblecher.com

10 questions to ask when insuring your condominium association

You are no expert. You might know a lot, that is why you got the job to review your associations insurance.

Let’s hope that your agent is and expert and is looking out for your best interest, and not the biggest commission.

Ask these Ten questions:

  1. Is our policy all in all the time? What are the restrictions, and does it dovetail with my bylaws and master deed?
  2. Do I have enough liability insurance? Do I at least have $2,000,000 per occurrence?
  3. Do I have a retro date on my Directors & Officers coverage? Do I have the coverage at all?
  4. Does our policy cover our expenses in handling a claim such as our time, the property managers time and charges by the adjusters we hire on our behalf.
  5. Have we had an increase in premium lately?
  6. Can we lock in our rate for more than a year
  7. What type of replacement cost coverage do we have?
  8. Are we insured to value?
  9. Are our finances covered? loss rents and maintenance fees?
  10. How many different deductibles do we have?

Bonus question:

Are you working with me? How am I getting communication? newsletters, alerts, loss control; and a partner when we have a claim.

There are many more questions to ask your agent or company that you buy insurance from. Try these on for size to start. If you don’t get the right answers, start walking.

How to get an insurance quote for your community association

 

how do condominiums affect the economy?

Cold hard facts:

  • In 2012, association boards supervised the collection of close to $40 billion in annual assessments and maintained investment accounts of more than $35 billion for the long-term maintenance and replacement of commonly held property.

Condominiums matter and pump billions into the economy every year in sales, maintenance and fees.

I have no idea how much money is spent on condominium insurance. But let’s make a guess. I guess that $1000 is spent for insurance on average by every unit owner. This is based on their own personal insurance, and the proportionate share of the master policy.

With 1.25 million units, that is over 1 Billion dollars.

Just a guess, but that is a bunch of zero’s.

Condo unit owners matter.

Should I get a home sprinkler system for my condo

Home sprinklers save lives.  fact

What is the cost benifit?

5 myths about home sprinklers.

 

5 MYTHS ABOUT HOME FIRE SPRINKLERS

 

1. When one sprinkler goes off, all the sprinklers activate.

The sprinkler heads react to temperatures in each room individually, allowing only the sprinkler closest to the fire to activate. In fact, 90 percent of fires are contained by the operation of just one sprinkler.

2. A sprinkler could accidentally go off, causing severe water damage to a home.

Records show that the likelihood of this occurring is very remote. In addition, residential fire sprinklers are designed and tested to minimize such accidents.

3. Water damage from a sprinkler system will be more extensive than fire damage.

The sprinkler system will limit a fire’s growth. Therefore, damage from a residential sprinkler system will be much less severe than the smoke and fire damage if the fire had continued unabated, or the water damage caused by firefighting hose lines.

4. Home sprinkler systems are expensive.

The cost of installing home fire sprinklers averages $1.61 per square foot for new construction, according to the Home Fire Sprinkler Cost Assessment report produced by the Fire Protection Research Foundation. To put the cost of a sprinkler system into perspective, that is roughly the same amount people pay for carpet upgrades, a paver stone driveway or a whirlpool bath – none of which save lives.

5. Requiring residential fire sprinklers will inhibit new home construction.

A 2009 study conducted on behalf of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) compared residential home construction in four counties in Maryland and Virginia – two with sprinkler mandates and two without. The study concluded the presence of sprinkler mandates did not have a negative effect on the number of homes being built.

 

* info from the Claims Journal