Homeowner’s Association Claims
Florida generally, and south Florida in particular, is home to millions of housing units governed by thousands of associations. The state of Florida has more than 14,000 homeowners associations (HOAs) covering over 2.7 million units, and there are almost 13,000 condominium projects covering over three million units just in Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe and Palm Beach counties alone. HOAs are subject to a host of laws in the Florida Statutes (Chapter 718 for condominiums and Chapter 720 for HOAs) as well as their own governing documents. Understanding insurance requirements and how to handle claims can therefore be quite complex and often go beyond the time constraints and expertise of busy HOA board members. At the law office of Velasquez & Associates, a large part of our firm’s legal practice is focused on representing policyholders in Miami property damage insurance claims. We can help you navigate the complex course of filing and pursuing a property damage insurance claim for your HOA. Property damage is costly, and insurance is there to cover those expenses. Make sure you get the benefit of the policy you bought. Call Velasquez & Associates for a free consultation on your HOA property damage insurance claim.
What are the insurance requirements for HOAs and condo associations in Miami?
Insurance requirements for your HOA or condo association depend in part under which Florida statute your association was created. For condominiums, Florida Statute 718.111 requires that you adequately insure for the value of your property, which must be appraised every three years. Keep in mind that this legal requirement is for replacement cost, not market value. Also note that requirements may shift as property moves from developer-controlled to condominium conversion.
In the case of HOAs, the applicable laws do not speak to insurance requirements. For an HOA, you must look instead to your governing documents. These documents may require a set amount of insurance, or they may state a minimum requirement but allow you to purchase more than the stated minimum. Some documents require insurance from the outside wall to the unit wall, while others only go halfway to the unit wall. Others cover all the way to the inside of the unit wall but exclude any upgrades inside the unit made by the unit owner. The board should continually evaluate its needs and make sure it is buying enough insurance to meet those needs as required or allowed by the governing documents.
What do we need to know when selecting insurance for our HOA?
It’s important to make sure all property owned by the HOA is covered by property and casualty insurance. This may include land, buildings, landscaping, common property, roads, lights, gates, recreational facilities, office spaces and more. Both property and liability insurance are required, and you may want to consider insuring for costs such as demolition, building code upgrades and diminution in value. If you have to tear down or renovate structures, the presence of asbestos, mold or hazardous waste can increase costs significantly, and you’ll want to be covered.
Aside from property insurance, HOAs may also want to consider directors and officers (D&O) insurance. Florida Statute 720.3033(5) says the association “shall maintain insurance or a fidelity bond for all persons who control or disburse funds of the association.” This requirement at a minimum covers the president, secretary, treasurer and any persons authorized to sign checks on behalf of the association. This requirement can be waived by the association if the waiver is annually approved by a majority vote.
Effective Legal Help with Miami Homeowners Association Claims
Property damage insurance claims can be difficult to handle, and HOA insurance issues can be especially complex. For help pursuing a property damage claim at your HOA, condo or co-op, call Velasquez & Associates at 786-776-0130 for a free consultation. We’ll take your case on a contingency fee basis, and you only pay us if we recover for you.