There are thousands of homeowners associations (HOAs) and condo associations throughout Florida. The sizes and responsibilities of these groups may vary from community to community, but most of them maintain some type of insurance policy to protect their assets.
Due to extreme weather like hurricanes or floods in certain parts of the state, insurance policies can be extremely important to homeowners and condo associations. These groups can pay significant premiums for the following forms of protection:
- Damage to property – This type of policy would serve to protect public services, property, and common areas shared by the Homeowners Association or the condominium association community. In the event of a fire, flood, hurricane, or sinkhole collapse, a property damage policy would pay for the cost of repairs that can easily run into the millions of dollars.
- Criminal damage – This policy could protect a homeowners association or condo association from graffiti, vandalism, or arson, but certain criminal policies may also serve to protect the association from mismanagement by a board member or another official. These policies are sometimes called fidelity insurance.
- Liability claims – A person who is injured by a slip and fall accident, equipment malfunction, or a violent crime on the property of that HOA or condo association can file a premises liability lawsuit. This type of insurance policy can help cover the cost of any arrangement in such cases.
While homeowners association or condo association insurance can be expensive, it is generally considered a worthwhile investment. However, many boards of directors of these associations are surprised when insurance companies fail to provide adequate compensation after a claim is filed. Some of the common problems that homeowners associations and condo associations face when filing an insurance claim include:
- Late payment – Florida Statute § 627.70131 specifically states that an “insurer shall pay or deny such claim or a portion of the claim” within 90 days of receiving notice of an “initial, reopened, or supplemental property insurance claim of a policyholder, “but allows Insurance companies have some leeway if” failure to pay is due to factors beyond the control of the insurer. “
- Claim denial – There may be various reasons for denying a claim, including, but not limited to, lack of evidence, certain accidents that are not covered by certain policies, or policies that are canceled because premiums were not paid on time.
- Inadequate settlement amount – The insurance company may undervalue a claim and offer an amount significantly less than the actual cost of the damage.
- Negligent defense provided in liability claims – In certain general liability claims, an insurance company could leave the insured stuck in a settlement that exceeds the policy limits.
Insurance companies investigate claims to limit their own payments, finding reasons why claims fall into exclusions that are not covered by certain policies. A homeowners association or condo association doesn’t just have to accept these kinds of results. An experienced attorney can negotiate to seek a more favorable recovery or take the insurance company to court if it does not provide a satisfactory amount.