Why Don’t You Have an H.O.-6?
If you own a condominium in Georgia, chances are, your association’s property policy will provide funds to help rebuild your unit in a covered loss. However, the funds are subject to the association’s deductible as well as the original “build out” of your unit. The unit may be quite different from what you purchased if you are not properly covered by an H.O.-6 policy (unit owners policy).
Condominium association policies in the state of Georgia are designed to restore the entire condominium structure regardless of the boundaries of the condominium units (unless your unit was originally built in a “shell” condition). It will also restore the structure regardless of who is responsible for maintaining them under the condominium instruments. Here is a link to the GA General Assembly. On the left side of the website you can look at the current Georgia Code and the section I refer to in this article is 44-3-107. This provides an outline as to how the association’s policy needs to be structured and how it is going to respond to a covered loss.
Your unit is going to be restored and rebuilt with:
- Items of the type and quality initially installed.
- Or restored with replacements of like kind and quality in accordance with the original plans and specifications.
- Or as they existed at the time the condominium unit was initially conveyed if the original plans and specifications are not available.
So there may be improvements made by prior unit owners that are not covered unless your association’s declarations specifically state that unit owner improvements and betterments are covered by the association’s policy. The addition of a washer and dryer may not be covered because it was not an original item. Upgraded cabinetry, granite countertops, hardwood floors and renovated bathrooms are also areas of concern. A common problem is figuring out what’s original or an upgrade. I would speak with your property manager or a long time resident of the complex to discuss what was original.
There are other costs that the association’s policy doesn’t cover. For example; loss of use, content pack-up and storage, loss assessment, water seepage/leakage, etc. There are extremely rare losses where your unit owner’s policy will not need to be involved. Almost all of the losses I have worked on have involved the unit owner’s policy in addition to the association’s policy.
If you don’t have an H.O.-6 (unit owner’s) policy, you are also overlooking the liability exposures. A unit owner’s policy typically provides liability coverage in addition to property coverage. Just because the association may not come after you for damages doesn’t mean your neighbors are not. What if you fall asleep while cooking, set your unit on fire, and the smoke inhalation harms people in your complex? What if you allow someone on the premises you thought was your friend and instead they are a thief that commits a crime? They are going to come to you for their damages and this is where your liability coverage comes into play.
Here is a link to the Georgia Insurance Commissioner’s website. If you want to see prices for the carriers filled to write an insurance policy in the state of GA, all you have to do is input the information; step 1 – Select the type of coverage (H.O.-6), step 2 – Select the county you live in and step 3 is simply reviewing the results. Most unit owner policies are in the $400.00 range and this is for a full year of coverage (roughly $33 a month).
If you haven’t purchased a unit owners policy, please go get one. There’s a reason homeowners have a policy, why wouldn’t a unit owner?
Make a great day!!