By Bob Gourley
Most condominium association residents are likely to have little or no understanding of the insurance that protects the association in which they reside. Let’s face it; there just isn’t a lot of glamour in discussing deductibles, coinsurance, liabilities and such that make up the community association insurance story. Telling the story of your community’s insurance coverage is going to be a challenge but if done properly, can yield a wealth of rewards.
Start with the basics. Every resident needs to know that the community has insurance and that the insurance covers certain elements which the entire community owns in common. Every resident also needs to know that community association insurance is not the same as homeowner’s insurance and that every resident needs to have an individual homeowner’s policy to cover those risks not provided for in the association’s policy. It is a great idea for every resident to meet with an insurance professional to discuss their personal insurance needs. Some communities have even hosted an Insurance Night to help residents make contact with an insurance professional who understands their individual needs.
Continue to tell the story of how the community’s insurance was chosen. Risks and liabilities are more easily understood when described as items, so if your association insurance covers things like fire and water damage, it is best to spell out what is covered. Deductibles vary widely in insurance products so it is also a good idea to list the specific deductibles faced by the association and residents in the event that a claim needs to be made. It would be a good idea to explain the claim process (who to call, how to file, etc.) so that residents are prepared if a claim arises.