Hurricanes are a way of life in South Florida. And so are condominiums. But is your condo association prepared for disasters such as the large hurricanes we are now seeing? With the right response plans in place, it will make post-storm insurance claims and restoration an easier task. Each hurricane experience should be an education and enable the association to better prepare for the next one.
Unfortunately, condominium associations find themselves unnecessarily struggling to recover after each hurricane incident due to a lack of preparedness. Your condominium association should have a checklist of items that should be completed before each hurricane. As in all things, good planning is very important and can cut down on recovery problems.
One very important thing to do is review the association’s insurance policy in advance of any weather event. The board of directors should sit down with the insurance agent to go over the terms of the policy and whether there is enough coverage. They should fully understand the coverage, exclusions, deductibles, and proof of loss requirements.
The association should also encourage all homeowners to make sure that they have their own individual policies to cover those items that are not covered by the condominium policy. Depending on the master policy coverage, these items could be floor and window coverings, electrical fixtures, built-in cabinets and countertops, appliances, water heaters and filters, etc.
Update Photos of Common Areas
There should be updated photos and videos of the common areas in case of damage and potential claims. These should include date stamping to avoid any insurance disputes. There should also be a site plan created setting out the location of any shut-off valves, circuit breakers, gas lines, pool pumps, air conditioning systems, etc. A plan should be implemented which considers shutting down electric, water, sewer, security, elevators, etc., in case of a disaster.
Repairs to Common Spaces
If there are necessary repairs that need to be made to the common spaces, these should be done immediately. Any repairs that have been left uncompleted can increase repair costs after a hurricane and increase liability. Windows and doors should be inspected prior to a weather incident to make sure that there are no weaknesses in the window frames, seals, or caulking. Trees and shrubbery should be cleaned out and trimmed back and all debris should be removed from the property.
All contact information for the association should be updated and distributed to all homeowners. The board should make every effort to obtain updated information on each of the homeowners as well. There should be a system in place in order to keep each homeowner updated on all association and weather damage issues and association hard drives should be backed up prior to a hurricane incident.
If you need legal advice when it comes to your condominium master insurance or any other legal insurance concerns, call the Miami insurance lawyers at Korin Law, P.A.