Water damage in condo? Here are your options
Condo water damage and condo storm claims can get complicated for two main reasons. The first reason is the simple design of a condo building where you have different units owned by different owners is such close proximity to each other. Usually when you have condo water damage or condo storm damage to one unit, there is a good likelihood that it spreads to one or more nearby condos. Insurance for water damage or storm damage usually requires an evaluation of the type of insurance coverage that exists, and the limits of coverage. And, if there is not enough insurance proceeds to cover the water damage in all the condo units, you may need to look to the condo association insurance coverage, or to your own homeowner condo insurance coverage.
Another issue to consider is whether an individual condo owner’s insurance is responsible for your damage, or whether the water damage is related to a long term maintenance issue such as a leaking pipe. The condo association’s insurance coverage should cover most “maintenance” issues, however it is sometimes difficult to determine whether your condo water damage occurred from a “maintenance” issue, or whether it is a sudden, accidental loss. Take the example of a 15 year old water heater that starts to leak water causing damage to several condo units. While the leak itself was probably sudden, it resulted from a long term failure to maintain the unit.
In evaluating a condo water damage claim or condo storm damage lawsuit, you also need to closely review the condominium bylaws and documents to determine where the common areas are, and who is responsible for maintaining the common areas. Florida Statute §718.111(11) requires a condominium insurance policy to cover all condo property within the unit including the walls, windows and window treatments, electrical and appliances, water heaters and ceilings.
Condo water damage claims become complicated because not all damage occurs on the inside of the condo; much of water damage that leaks between units may involve the floors, ceilings and walls of several unit.