As a condo owner, the responsibility of insuring your unit lies with you, according to the NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners). This means, if a leak in your condo causes water damage, it’s typically your responsibility and not the HOA’s (Homeowners Association).
Does Condo Insurance Policy Cover Water Damage?
Your condo insurance policy water coverage will generally cover water damage that results from your household appliances or your plumbing system. However, such damage must be accidental and not a result of neglect or wear and tear, says the Insurance Information Institute (III).
Types of Water Damage and the Extent of Coverage
- Plumbing Accidents
Condo insurance policies usually cover plumbing issues such as damage caused by HVAC malfunction, frozen pipes, or a burst sink pipe. If something breaks down in your condo leading to water damage, your insurer will cover the expenses. However, that is only if the malfunction is due to an accident and not caused by wear and tear or neglect.
- Wear and Tear Damage
Condo insurance typically excludes damage resulting from a homeowners negligence. It is your responsibility to ensure every appliance in your condo is in pristine condition. Otherwise, your insurer may deny your water damage claim.
Similar to most homeowners insurance, condo insurance doesn’t cover water damage caused by flooding. “Flooding” is defined as water that first touches the ground before getting into your home. This includes damage caused by mudslides, hurricanes, and water bodies located nearby. Repairing water damage caused by flooding can be incredibly costly. As such, you should consider carrying additional flood insurance.
- Water Backup
Typical condo insurance does not cover water damage resulting from drain or sewer backups. Water backup caused by HOA’s neglect is covered by HOA’s master policy. If the cause is not clear or if it the damage emanates from a drain back up in your condo, you’ll be responsible for the costs unless you carry supplementary condo water insurance.
- Common Area Damage
Usually, HOA has a master policy that covers damage and liability in common areas. Before moving to a new area, ensure you understand the terms of the master policy so that you can get personal condo insurance that fills any coverage gaps. You will only be held responsible for damage to a common area if the damage results from your negligence. For instance, if you deliberately fail to fix a burst pipe in your condo and the stairs next to your condo are damaged, you would be held responsible for the repair costs.
Neighbor’s Water Damage
If a pipe bursts in your neighbor’s condo, and this leads to water leaking into your condo and damaging your drywall and furniture, your insurer could cover the resulting replacement and repair costs and then seek reimbursement from your neighbor’s insurer. In some cases, your insurer may avoid the mess because it’s not your responsibility and, therefore, neither is it their responsibility. In this case, you will be forced to sort out the issue with your neighbor.
How to Avoid Having Your Claim Denied
- Maintain good records, especially your first home inspection report and HOA’s insurance policy
- Understand the terms of your policy
- Do regular maintenance
- Purchase suitable insurance
- Hire a plumber immediately after the damage. A good plumber will point out where the damage is emanating from and keep good records
To protect your condo from water damage, ensure you maintain your water systems and appliances. Your insurer will not pay for any damage resulting from your negligence. When you’re ready to secure a quality condo insurance coverage, talk to the friendly experts at Jack Stone Insurance Agency. We serve Antioch, Brentwood, and surrounding cities in California. Contact us today to get started!