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Insurance experts said on Tuesday that homeowners, who think they are protected if something happens in their unit because they are paying association dues, need to think again. 

Condo owner Luis Hinogosa said his home was damaged when a construction crew clogged a pipe and it sent sewage from uppper floors into his unit.
 
“It clogged the whole pipe that goes to the sewers, so all the floors the sewer started coming out on top of me,” Hinogosa said.
  
Hinogosa said the he paid his condo dues every month, but to his surprise, he said none of his damages were covered by the association’s insurance.
 
“I thought I was covered,” he said.
 
Teisha Powell, Hinogosa's attorney, said most people mistakenly believe their association’s insurance will cover the inside of the home.
 
Powell is looking to see what Hingosa might be able to do to get his place back in order. She said condo buyers are fooled when their lenders approve their loans using the condo association's insurance at closing.
 
“The lender does require insurance but when they do obtain the declaration form the association its based upon that the lender says you don't need insurance because the association already has insurance for you,” she said.
 
Insurance specialist Jose Palacio wouldn’t comment on Hinogosa’s case specifically but said that normally the association policy will cover the exterior of the building, unfinished dry walls, floors and ceilings, also air conditioning, among other things. What's not covered are wall, floors, and ceiling finishes,electrical fixtures, appliances, built in cabinets and vanities.
 
Hingosa said he was considering legal action. Palacio advises to condo owners to and read and understand all policies of their association.
 
Some more helpful hints: 

Items insured by Condominium Master Policy: 

·        The exterior of the building
·        Portions of the condominium building as originally installed
·        The unfinished drywall walls, floors and ceilings of the interior of the units
·        Exterior wall insulation
·        The common areas of the Association
·        Outdoor storage buildings, carports, etc. if specifically endorsed under the policy
·        Air conditioning equipment
·        Plumbing which services multiple units, i.e. drain lines
·        Liability coverage for common areas
 
Unit owners should carry insurance for the following items:
 
·        All wall, floor and ceiling finishes, i.e. paint, wallpaper, popcorn texture, carpet, tile, etc.
·        Any new partition wall the unit owner has installed
·        Electrical fixtures
·        Appliances and water heaters
·        Built in cabinets, including bathroom vanities, countertops
·        Window treatments, i.e. blinds, curtains, drapes and hardware
·        Plumbing fixtures which only service the unit. Excludes the pipes behind the unfinished drywall
·        Liability coverage for the unit
·        A minimum of $2,000 in Loss Assessment Coverage
·        All personal property within the boundaries of the unit and/or limited common elements (i.e.: TV, furniture, stereo equipment etc.)
 
Condominium Associations and unit owners should review the Association Declarations to properly identify what areas of the condominium property they are specifically required to carry insurance on.Unit owners should talk to a licensed insurance agent to determine their needs and cost of insuring items for which they are responsible. 

Courtesy:  nbcmiami.com
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