Maryland Court Wrong in Condo Ruling

By | June 20, 2008

  • June 23, 2008 at 11:03 am
    John Scrader says:
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    I commented on the first article that was written on this subject. I am a 20 year insurance person, former condo owner, former board of director president, and someone who had a pipe burst claim in my condo.

    My stance with condo insurance is this, the HOA should be responsible for the building, major plumbing, roof, decks, pools, hot tubs, etc. My personal opinion is that anything from the front door inward is the responsibility of the unit owner. My personal opinion is that the agents of MD are sending the wrong message and it puts undue exposure back onto the HOA Board of Directors.

    I have a prime example of this; I was replacing a bathroom vanity and knocked off the main hot water valve running to the sink. I had hot water pouring in at a very fast rate. I had to go down a flight of stairs, go through four doors, and then try and figure out how to shut the main water line coming out of the hot water heater. Needless to say, I flooded my unit and the made it rain in the unit below me.

    I had my own insurance policy, I first called a plumber to come over and secure the damage I caused and then called a remediation company to pull out all the water that came out of my unit and the unit below mine. When asked by the remediation contractor what he should do about my downstairs neighbor’s unit, I told him to go there first, I felt obligated since this was my bad.

    When I called the claim into my insurance carrier they stopped me in tracks regarding my neighbor’s unit. Technically I was not legally liability for that unit and they would not authorized repair. I informed my neighbor she needed to contact her insurance carrier regarding this. She stated she did not have insurance as she felt she was covered by the HOA’s policy.

    I had to inform my neighbor that I was not legally liable to fix her unit. Basically in order to not have further damage I authorized the remediation company to fix the damage in her unit, but she had to sign for it.

    Long and short of it, if I did not have years of insurance experience my neighbor would have had to sue me to recover her damages. Luckily I spoke with the liability adjuster and she agreed I was “legally liable” with out having to go to court. (smart as they would have to hire and attorney, pay for my lost work time, and they would totally loose anyway as it was 100% my fault)

    This is a just a small example of a property damage situation. We have not even really touched on the liability aspect of this entire situation. What about a guest suffering bodily injury while inside someone’s unit? So now HOA’s are responsible for that, what if someone slandered someone, and claimed they were an insured on an HOA policy? This is an entirely different subject, but really brings up the same issue.

    Basically the point is that people need to be responsible for their own stuff and not pass undue claims onto a third party that technically has nothing to do with claims that involve individual unit owners. It is my personal experience that HOA Board of Directors already have enough on their plate to not have to worry about what each person in the unit is doing. I will also once again bring up the whole premium thing. If the HOA’s policies are paying out property claims for situations like the one I had, premiums will go up. When premiums go up insured’s look elsewhere for insurance.

    Last comment from me is this, forget about the courts, the state laws, etc. everyone that owns a condo unit should absolutely positively have their own insurance policy. You can quote all the laws and bylaws you want, bottom line they are all immaterial if the person has their OWN DAMN INSURANCE.

  • June 23, 2008 at 11:43 am
    InsJunkie says:
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    Everybody, including you, has the right to be wrong until they learn what is right.

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