During this tough economy, associations are looking for ways to trim expenses; but opting out of insurance coverage is not a prudent choice. In my opinion, even the smallest homeowners’ association needs insurance coverage. If an HOA owns any property, then there is a risk that a resident, visitor or guest could be injured or hurt on that property. Insurance claims are rare, but it is too risky to consider going without coverage.
We have recently seen horrific earthquake disasters in New Zealand and Japan. There has been widespread loss of life and destruction of infrastructure and buildings. California has a history of devastating earthquakes as well—the San Francisco, San Fernando, Northridge, and Loma Prieta earthquakes, among others. Heavy rains have created landslides, mudslides and shoreline erosion all over California, damaging homes and property, some of it in community associations. Wildfires in the past decade have destroyed hundreds of homes. Rising sea levels are threatening to flood low-lying developments, including many common interest developments.
Can Your Lender Buy HOA Insurance and Charge Your HOA for It?
HOA boards beware: If a lender holds a mortgage on your HOA property or on an owners’ property, it can enforce its requirement that your HOA carry adequate insurance coverage for its assets–regardless of whether you want that coverage or can afford it, according to Alan S. Chesler, a partner at Alan James Insurance in Sunrise, FL, which specializes in commercial and residential property insurance, including condos, HOAs, and co-ops. So some lenders purchase insurance and simply bill it back to the HOA.
Have you ever wondered what the coinsurance clause on your policy means?
According to the independent Insurance Agents of America, most business policies include a “coinsurance” clause, determining what percentage of the value of your property must be insured in order to be fully reimbursed for a loss.