Condos are becoming more popular nationwide, and nowhere more so than in Florida. According to a study of recent condo and home sales, condominium units have exploded in popularity since 2021. The number of overall condo units sold in 2021 was double that of 2020, while single-family homes saw a much more modest increase. The demand was highest in Florida: according to the survey, six of the ten cities where condo prices increased most nationwide were along the Florida coast.
Condos have many features that make them more appealing to potential homeowners, most of which are connected to the condominium associations connected with these properties. The association is responsible for maintaining the grounds, keeping the neighborhood safe, and providing community resources like pools, exercise rooms, and private beaches. Condo owners accept paying a moderate fee to the association every month as an acceptable compromise to receive these benefits.
However, condominiums can pose some unexpected problems, especially in the coastal Florida areas where demand shot up over the past few years. Specifically, homeowners may struggle to receive fair compensation or timely repairs from the insurance company if their condos are damaged by hurricanes or severe weather. This is despite the cost of condo- and homeowners insurance skyrocketing statewide.
If you own a condo, it’s in your best interest to understand how insurance works for your property. Here’s why insurance claims can get complicated for Florida condominium owners and what you can do to pursue fair compensation for your damaged property.
Differences Between Condos and Single-Family Homes
When you purchase a condo, you are entering a different type of ownership arrangement than if you were to buy a single-family residence.
Single-family properties consist of the entire structure and the land upon which it is built. While there may be easements on the property to permit others to use a shared driveway or the city to perform utility maintenance, the homeowner ultimately owns it. They have the right and responsibility to decide how it is maintained, which means they also have the sole right to insure the property.
That’s not the case in condominium associations. When someone purchases a condo, they are not purchasing the land on which it is built. Instead, they are buying the interior of the unit and a partial share of the association’s overall grounds, including the exterior of their home. They have the right to make whatever changes they want to the interior of their unit so long as they do not damage the property of other owners. However, they must abide by the association’s bylaws and rules regarding the exterior of the building, which the association is responsible for maintaining.
The Complications of Property Insurance for Condo Owners
This same divide is evident in how insurance policies work for condo owners. A standard homeowner’s insurance policy covers damage to the property inside and out. Meanwhile, condos are typically subject to two separate insurance policies:
- The condominium association’s master insurance policy covers damage to the exterior of the building and common areas and is paid for in part by condo fees.
- An individual condo insurance policy is paid for by the owner of a specific unit and covers damage to the interior of the unit.
Theoretically, this divide should make ownership of a condo simpler. After all, the association should take responsibility for repairing the exterior of your unit on your behalf. You should only be responsible for claims on damage that affects the unit’s interior, like fires or broken pipes. However, that’s not always what happens.
Sometimes, condo associations may fail to repair exterior damage promptly, and the problem grows until it affects your living space. In others, like when a hurricane hits, the event that damages the exterior of your unit also damages the interior. Some unfortunate condominium communities even discover that their association has neglected to pay insurance premiums or maintain the property, and the exterior coverage has lapsed. When these issues happen, the problem becomes your responsibility.
Unfortunately, this is also where matters can become complicated. Your insurer may refuse to cover damage to the interior of your unit before the exterior is repaired. It may even deny liability for the damage you’ve experienced and argue that the policy covering the exterior should cover your expenses. That can leave you without a clear answer regarding how to fund repairs to your home.
Why Condo Owners Benefit From Insurance Legal Counsel
When you’re facing significant damage to your condo, the last thing you should have to face is a complicated legal battle with your insurer. Unfortunately, many insurance providers focus on profit rather than serving their customers. If these insurers see the opportunity to deny a claim without repercussions, they will take it. That is why it is in your best interest to consult with a skilled insurance attorney before filing a claim.
Insurance attorneys like the experienced team at The Professional Law Group understand the techniques insurers use to attempt to avoid paying claims. We can assist you with matters such as:
- Identifying all the policies covering your property
- Determining which insurer should be liable for damage to your home
- Submitting complete and accurate claims to the appropriate insurer
- Communicating with and negotiating insurance company settlements
- Taking legal action against unscrupulous insurers should your claim be unfairly denied or underpaid
We aim to help clients like you seek fair compensation for the damage your property has suffered. We serve condo and homeowners throughout Florida whose homes have been damaged, whether they have yet to file a claim or need to fight back against an unjust denial or underpayment. Learn more about how we can assist you with your Florida condo insurance claim by calling us to schedule your free case review today.