Master Policy/Homeowner Insurance Hurdles

When condominium sites renew their current Association Master Policy with some adjustments, or when they obtain a new Master Insurance Policy, it is critical that they notify all unit owners of the changes.

A letter should be issued to assist with a contact for certificates of insurance and how to coordinate individual unit owner policies with the Master Policy.

The Master Policy typically covers all Common and Limited Common elements pursuant to the Condominium Bylaws, although there exists exclusions in the Master Policy coverage that should be considered when purchasing a homeowners insurance policy.

Unit Owner’s Policy
It is the Unit Owner’s responsibility to insure their own contents and personal liability. Additionally, homeowners are responsible for the Master Policy deductible. It is also strongly recommended that all Unit Owners purchase an “HO-6 Policy”. The Master Policy will have a deductible; therefore, unit owners should discuss the following with their insurance agent for the “dwelling” of their HO-6.

  • Please have your agent review the insurance section of the Bylaws of the Condominium Documents.
  • In case there is a loss which does not allow you to occupy your unit, you should consider obtaining “Loss of Use” insurance.
  • Should there be a claim that is not fully funded by the Master Policy’s insurance, you should consider obtaining “Loss Assessment” insurance. Please discuss this with your agent.
  • It is also recommended that Unit Owners speak to their Insurance Agent to include the HO-1732 endorsement, which broadens the perils insured under coverage A-Dwelling from “named perils” to “special form”.
  • It is recommended that unit owners making improvements and upgrades to their units (e.g. kitchen cabinets, expensive flooring, wall covering, fixtures, etc.) retain documentation of the improvements. It is important that documentation be kept so unit owners may recover replacement value.

Investor Units
Personal liability coverage and the deductible is the responsibility of each unit owner. This would include loss of rental income. We suggest that investors require their tenants to purchase an HO-4 tenant policy.

HO-6 Unit Owners Policy Exclusions and Limitations
There are some important policy exclusions or limitations that should be reviewed when unit owners are analyzing their own personal insurance requirements (i.e. Jewelry, Fine Arts, Business Property, etc.). In many instances, these exclusions or limitations can be modified or changed. Please note coverage and endorsements must be arranged through a unit owner’s personal agent!

The importance of insurance within a condominium cannot be stressed enough. It is important to be properly insured against all types of losses. The association should meet with an experienced commercial agent to discuss all types of liability and losses which may occur on their property. We recommend each owner sit down and speak with their own agent with a copy of the Master Policy insurance certificate to insure they are properly covered in the event of liability or a loss.

To Bee or not to Bee…a sticky and sweet dilemma!

by Andrea Georgetti, CMCA, CAM
Regional Property Manager
Crowninshield Management Corp. AMO

My story began when I received a call from a unit owner saying that there was a pile of bees swarming around their window and on the ground under the window. They were afraid the bees would get in their home and they would get stung. The owner wanted me to call an exterminator immediately to come and kill the bees.

My first thought was that these must be the wasps I saw at another unit weeks before that were burrowing holes in the ground. I decided I would take a ride to the community to check out the situation because I would not be able to live with myself if they were actually honey bees. Although exterminators legally cannot kill them, not all vendors are alike and will do the right thing. So, before I headed out I reached out to my colleague Nathaniel to ask if he would be willing to accompany me because he actually has beehives at his home and would know, if these were indeed honey bees, what to do.

Sure enough, when we arrived we discovered a swarm of honey bees and the queen was in the grass. I was told that when bees are swarming they are at their most docile state and will not sting. We decided to collect the bees ourselves and transport them to Nathaniel’s home as he happened to have a vacant beehive we could use. Armed with a cardboard box, some gloves and a mesh laundry bag that I had to quickly run to the nearby Walgreens to get, Nathaniel scooped the pile of bees into the box in the hopes he was able to get the queen. After several scoops, the queen was in the box and the bees began to follow.

Once we collected the bees we closed the box, wrapped it in the mesh laundry bag and despite my hesitation, put the box in my car and drove to Nathaniel’s home where his vacant beehive was prepped and awaiting its new occupants. During the drive, a few bees did escape and were flying around my car, which of course had me screaming a little, but we arrived safely and sting-free. The bees have been doing their thing ever since and have made us a lot of honey! I keep one jar on my desk not only as a reminder of what we accomplished that day but also for my tea. 