Insurance: Condos

When it comes to insuring your condominium and the units, forget whatever you know regarding maintenance responsibility. The Florida Condominium Act imposes a different set of standards for insurance.

The association is responsible for acquiring and maintaining adequate insurance to protect the common elements, units and association property.

Unit owners are obligated to acquire insurance coverage covering their personal and unit floor, wall and ceiling coverings, electrical fixtures, appliances, air conditioning and heating equipment located within the unit boundaries, water heaters, water filters, built-in cabinets and countertops, window treatments, including curtains, drapes, blinds and hardware.

Unit owners must carry a minimum of $2,000 of “loss assessment” coverage as part of their policy. This covers special assessments levied by the association for shortfalls between insurance proceeds and the cost of repair of covered components.

Both the association and unit owners should ensure that their insurance policies afford “law and ordinance” coverage, which affords coverage for building code upgrades.

If the condo sustains damage in excess of 50 percent or is determined to be “uninhabitable,” condo documents may require a vote of the unit owners prior to reconstruction, or to avoid an automatic termination, and federal law may require the total building to be torn down and rebuilt based upon current building codes and elevations, which is why “law and ordinance” coverage is essential.

— Gary Poliakoff, Special to The Palm Beach Post