As South Florida nears the second half of hurricane season, many community associations are bombarded with questions from unit owners regarding insurance coverage on the condominium property. More often than not, owners want to know whether property damage to their specific unit is covered under the association’s insurance policy. Fortunately, the Florida Condominium Act, 718.001 et seq. and 718.111(11)(f) in particular, provide associations with guidance in identifying what they are obligated to cover.
The Condominium Act requires that associations use its best efforts to obtain and maintain adequate property insurance to protect the association, the association property, the common elements, and the condominium property. Associations must provide primary coverage for condominium property as originally installed or replacement of like kind or quality, in accordance with the original plans and specifications, as well as additions and alterations. The Act also specifically identifies property that is excluded from primary coverage, including floor, wall and ceiling coverings, electrical fixtures, appliances, water heaters, water filters, built-in cabinets and countertops, and window treatments which are located within the boundaries of the unit and serve only the single unit. All items that are not specifically under the statute as excluded from coverage must be covered under the association’s insurance policy. In 2008, a South Florida court held that a condominium association had to insure sliding glass doors and windows because the items were not specifically excluded from coverage under the statute. In making his decision, the judge relied heavily on an administrative opinion from the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes that required an association to insure and pay for repairs to screen windows and entrance doors damaged by a recent hurricane.
In addition to the condominium property that is specifically excluded from the association’s insurance policy, the association is under no obligation to insure any personal property within the unit or limited common elements. Such property and insurance thereon is the responsibility of the unit owner.
Chaired by Partner Joshua D. Krut, Our Community Association, Club and Resort Group advises community association boards and property managers on their insurance obligations under the Florida Statutes. Our Litigation Division provides effective advocacy and representation of condominiums in disputes against insurance companies in an array of contractual and tort matters.