Policyholder Question - Flooded Condominium
Here is a question we were happy to answer as part of the expert panel for United Policyholders.
Q. My condo flooded from the unit above me caused by a leaking pipe. I have flood insurance and no homeowner insurance. Damage from water and mold is extensive. Do I need an attorney? I have been trying to work with the condo association property management and the above unit's insurance adjusters. I am getting no answers as to who pays for damages to what areas. It has been two weeks. Loss has occurred in Florida and I live in Utah. I am keeping a journal and have begun cleanup and dry out procedures after pipe repair to stop water leak.
A. You are in a really tough spot given the laws in Florida regarding who pays for what following a loss to a property in a condominium association. First, this has nothing to do with flood insurance which covers rising water. So you have the issue of who may be liable for the cause of the damages. The best course would be for the management company and your board of directors to determine if there is liability on the unit owner above you for causing the loss. If so and insurance is available, hopefully they will pay for all the damages including your property and the condo association’s property. If not, then your HO 6 unit owners insurance will pay for your losses assuming you have coverage. The condo association will need to make a claim for their damages with either their first party insurance company or make a liability claim. Of importance to you is that you need to figure out the exact amount of your loss. A good public adjuster can help you with this and may be helpful convincing the board or the unit owner to step-up and get your losses covered.
You always have the right to hire an attorney but when losses like yours end up with attorneys we have seen the costs skyrocket as some of them may be billing on an hourly basis and it may increase the time to settle. So I would use that as a last resort. You can be your best advocate by making a lot of noise and determining your damages.
The public insurance adjusters at Tutwiler and Associates are here to help with any property insurance claim questions you may have. Please call 800.321.4488 or contact a public adjuster to submit a question to one of our insurance claim experts.