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Home Insurance in Lower Pacific Heights : Real Estate Advice

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Mon Dec 3, 2012
Lucy Logvinova answered:
It's part of your lender requirements and your agreement with the bank. If you do not have insurance bank will impose one which is typically more expensive.
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Fri Dec 14, 2007
Don Tepper answered:
As Gail advised, if you're a homeowner, you should have homeowner's insurance, not renters (or content) insurance. There are a variety of additional liabilities you're exposed to/responsible for, and you need coverage for that.

Water leaks (and electrical problems, too) can be tricky in condos. Note: I'm not a lawyer, and as a Realtor I can't provide legal advice. However, as a former condo owner who successfully sued the HOA when it failed to cover a repair, I do have some first-hand experience. First, your condo documents specify what will be covered by the HOA and what is your responsibility. It can vary. Generally, as Sally notes, you're responsible for anything/everything within the walls of your specific unit. Generally, again, the condo association is responsible for anything occurring in the common elements, which usually includes anything within the walls...even if it exclusively serves your unit. That was the problem I had; it was an electrical problem in the main circuit breaker box (clearly a common element); however, the circuit breaker that failed exclusively provided power to my unit. Condo refused to pay; I sued in small claims court arguing that the circuit breaker and circuit breaker box were common elements and should be maintained by the association. I won.

Water damage can get even tricker, since sometimes one owner leaves the water running; it overflows, goes through the floor to the unit below, and damages that unit. Again, I'm not a lawyer. Generally, though, the individual owner who left the water running is liable; although the water may have passed through the common elements on its way to your unit, the condo association isn't responsible.

OK, enough of that. you get the idea. Read the condo documents. Have homeowner's insurance. Also, not suggested by the others, get yourself an umbrella liability policy. It may cost $150-$200 for $1 million. It'll cover both your condo and your car (if written properly). And it's well worth it. Suppose, for instance, the condo is having the windows cleaned. The window cleaner is injured, sues for $5 million, and wins. Your condo association may not have the reserves to cover it. Worse: The window cleaner is cleaning your window when he falls. He sues you and the association for $5 million. The condo association has its own insurance, but you're named, as well. You want your own coverage. Or a planter on your balcony is blown off by the wind and injures someone on the ground below. You're sued. There are an infinite number of variations. Point is: Get at least $1 million of liability insurance.

Hope that helps.

Don Tepper
Solutions 3D LLC
Realtor with Long & Foster
... more
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