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Condominium Insurance Claims Lawyers in Florida

Aggressive representation for condo owners and HOAs throughout the Panhandle and Gulf Coast

Condominium insurance disputes can be complex. This is because condos don’t reside in a vacuum. Some areas such as the parking lots, administrative offices, landscaping, and stairs are common to all condo owners. Even the individual units depend on each other. When one owner suffers a loss, others can be affected.

At Warhurst Law, our experienced Florida condominium property damage lawyers understand the rights of individual condo owners and the rights of homeowners’ associations that own and run the full condo complex. We have secured millions of dollars for condo policyholders, even those who have already settled their claims, including $2.568 million in additional funds to policyholders in Louisiana after a flood. If your condo has sustained losses, let us help you the way we have helped thousands of others.

What makes condo claims different?

Condo buyers own their own unit. Together with the other owners, they also own the common areas. Some common areas are fairly easy to determine, such as stairwells, lobbies, and parking lots, because anyone can use them. Other common areas depend on the contracts between the owners and the homeowners’ association. Disputes about who owns the following parts of a condo unit or complex may occur. Who owns the various parts of the condo will dictate which insurance policy is responsible for covering the damages. Common areas may include:

  • Some parts of the interior walls
  • The exterior walls and the roof
  • The air conditioning, heating, and electrical units
  • Decks, patios, and balconies

Some items have limited ownership. For example, only the owners of the top floor may have access to the roof.

Our Case Results

$11 Million Hurricane
Hurricane Katrina property damage of New Orleans apartment complex settled pre-suit.

Katrina Settlement

$2.4 Million Settlement in Commercial Tornado Claim
Warhurst Law secured $2.2 million in additional recovery for a lumber mill damaged in a tornado.

Tornado Claim

$2.226 Million Fire Loss Settlement
Warhurst Law secured more than $2.226 million in additional recovery for a Baptist Church

Fire Loss Settlement

$1.3 Million Car Crash Settlement
Client was in a car accident resulting in severe brain damage.

Car Crash Settlement

$26 Million Hurricane Katrina Settlement
Hurricane Katrina loss of New Orleans Apartment complex previously offered $3 million.

Katrina Settlement

Florida condominium law

The Florida Condominium Act governs many different condominium issues including insurance. For example, Section 11a provides that adequate insurance should be based on the “replacement cost of the property to be insured as determined by an independent insurance appraisal or update of a prior appraisal. The replacement cost must be determined at least once every 36 months.”

Generally, each condo owner is required to have property/homeowners’ insurance for his or her unit. Normally, the HOA will inform the condo owner which insurance carrier he or she should use and what the minimum terms of the policy should be. The individual insurance policy should cover damage to the owner’s individual unit. The HOA board may set the amount of the deductible and other terms for the individual policy coverage. The HOA may set other terms that are related to any need to rebuild or repair the property. The HOA should have insurance for the common areas and any units that are not occupied or not insured.

The owners of the condos will normally need to add insurance protection for the contents of their home such as furniture, jewelry, personal possessions, appliances, and technology equipment.

Making a claim for losses

When you own a single-family home and suffer a loss, you put in a claim with your insurance company based on the policy you own. For condo owners, it’s a bit different. This is because some damage may be covered under your individual policy, whereas other damage may be covered by the HOA or complex owner.

Common insurance claims that both the HOA and individual owner may bring include:

  • Damage due to hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters
  • Damage due to flooding, pipes that burst, and other causes
  • Wind damage and other damage that can require roofs and windows to be repaired
  • Damage due to a fire including smoke damage
  • Damage due to mold

Generally, these claims will need to be coordinated since repairs of some areas often depend on repairs to other areas. Many other issues may arise for both the individual owner and the HOA. Individual condo owners should consult with an experienced insurance dispute attorney about any losses they sustain. The interests of the HOA and condo owners overlap – but there are key differences.

Individual owner claims

In addition to structural damage disputes that are usually at the direction of the HOA, individual owners should, in well-written policies, have the right to:

  • Be compensated for contents losses. Disputes may arise about what items are damaged and their value. We work with appraisers to determine value. Condo-owners should regularly record and update their possessions. Pictures and videos will help.
  • Be compensated for the cost to live elsewhere until the condo is repaired.
  • Be paid for the cost to move to a comparable new location if the condo is beyond repair.

HOA insurance claims

The HOA generally negotiates with the insurance carrier if more than one individual unit was damaged. These negotiations may also be coordinated with the individual owners. Questions can arise concerning:

  • Issues of coverage of the individual units
  • Coverage of the common areas and all areas that need to be repaired or rebuilt
  • The actual cost to repair and rebuild which often depends on negotiations with builders and contractors
  • Which contractors and builders should do the repairs
  • How the relocation of the condo owners should be handled
  • A determination of any possible hidden damages
  • How insurance is handled for units that haven’t been sold yet

Why was my Florida condo insurance claim denied?

If you and your HOA make a claim for losses sustained after a fire or a hurricane, or any type of event, the insurance company may delay or deny your claim for a number of different reasons. Over the years, we have found that both local and national insurance providers tend to cite the same excuses for denying a claim:

  • Causation. If your condo is damaged by a hurricane, they’ll say it was the wind. If your roof leaks, they’ll claim the mold isn’t covered.
  • The other policy. If an HOA brings the claim, they’ll say it’s the individual unit owner’s responsibility. If a unit owner brings a claim, they’ll say it’s covered by the HOA. In some cases, they’ll claim that neither policy covers the damage.
  • Misrepresentation. If the insurance company believes you have misrepresented some element of your claim, they can deny the claim outright. For example, if a unit went into foreclosure, and that is not disclosed at the time a policy is purchased, the insurance company may declare your policy void because foreclosures increase the material risk for the company.
  • Devaluation of property. Insurance companies use programs like Xactimate to assess property claims. (In car accidents claims, it’s usually a program like Colossus.) Xactimate is designed to assess property at its current value, and may not take things like O&P or increased materials costs into account, which can devalue your claim.
  • Cooperation clauses. Almost every insurance policy has a “cooperation clause,” which means that policyholders have to cooperate with their insurance carriers. These clauses are broad on purpose, and insurance companies may deny a claim if they claim you didn’t provide them with information or documentation they requested – even when the requests go beyond the scope of what is reasonable.

Talk with an experienced Florida insurance dispute lawyer today about condo losses

At Warhurst Law, we understand the complexities of condo and HOA insurance disputes. We have the experience and resources to help you with all aspects of your claim and with adjusters who are uncooperative. For help now, call 251-694-1932 or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment. We represent Florida residents and out-of-state owners of condos and the associations that run the condominiums. Our lawyers help clients in Panama City, Apalachicola, Pensacola, Port St. Joe, and throughout the Florida Panhandle and Gulf Coast.

* Warhurst Law cannot and does not guarantee an outcome to any case.