Are You Protected?
With all of the recent storms, and the frequency of major weather events, it’s important to review your insurance, especially if you’re a condo owner. When you live in Massachusetts, you think of snowstorms in winter. But even though the Bay State isn’t in a tropical location, we can still be affected by hurricanes churning in the Atlantic.
What is considered a flood?
You may have suffered damage to your condo, but will you be covered? According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a flood is defined as water that covers at least two acres or impacts at least two properties.
Flood insurance is usually required when physical losses and damage are reported after heavy rains, storm surge, blocked drainage systems, snow melts, a dam burst, and other events that can raise the water level.
What is your condo association responsible for?
If you are located in a flood zone, your condo board is obligated to purchase flood insurance to protect common areas and the outer structure, which could suffer damage during a catastrophic weather event.
Your condo association policy should cover the exterior and common areas. These include the lobby, pool, fitness center, game room, elevators or staircases. The Residential Condominium Building Association Policy (RCBAP) is the insurer of the Residential Condominium Association, which should cover the building where you live.
Do you really need flood insurance, even if you’re not in a flood zone?
If you live in a condo, you should get flood insurance, even if you’re not in a designated flood zone. Of all the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) claims, 25 percent come from homes outside of flood zones!
Do you need flood insurance if you live on an upper floor?
Yes. While you may not suffer water damage like a first-floor condo, electrical wiring and pipe damage throughout the building can definitely affect you.
How are flood insurance premiums calculated?
Premiums are based on a variety of factors, such as the number of units in your building, the age of your building, the number of floors, and, of course, your risk of being located near potentially rising waters. You could be near the ocean, a river, lake, etc. If you live in a newer building, they will also look at where the lowest floor is, to determine whether it’s close to the elevation requirement on the flood map. All of these things will be taken into consideration.
What will flood insurance cover?
Flood insurance typically covers damage to your personal property after a flood. At the same time, many types of structural damage can occur as well, especially after a hurricane. These things should be protected by the condo association’s insurance. Your association fees are responsible for paying for this needed coverage—for instance, if the roof is damaged, or a wall caves in, or air-conditioning units are destroyed.
As we’ve mentioned before, as a condo owner, it’s best to have an “all-in” policy over a “bare walls-in.” The “all-in” policy will protect any interior damage to your unit. So if your floor is destroyed by flood water, or the ceiling caves in and breaks your granite countertop in half, you’ll be covered. Also, in your Personal Property coverage, make sure you get the replacement cost of any damaged appliances or electronics. This will reimburse you for the amount it would cost to buy a new one.
For all your home, auto and other insurance needs, please contact Zawada Insurance Agency. We work to give you comprehensive coverage at a competitive price.
Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. is a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.