By: Philip Maltaghati – President of United Public Adjusters & Appraisers, Inc.
This year, the saying that March roars in like a lion and exits like a lamb is highly inaccurate. Few can remember a more blustery early Spring, with occasional sudden wind gusts exceeding 50 mph. This past Winter, nighttime temperatures occasionally dipped not only into the single digits but continued well into below zero recordings, possibly causing damage to structures, walkways, public spaces, landscaping, and more. That’s why condo and coop owners in Queens should take steps now to avoid submitting a significant condo/coop insurance claim.
The most important reason to take action on your own is that time is of the essence. Mitigating the source of any damage will prevent further damage to the community property. It is impossible to make needed repairs until the insurer has both inspected the issue and responded to your coop/condo insurance claim. Another reason for making your own assessment is negligence. Should your Association not make repairs quickly, the issue will evolve from a property damage to a liability claim.
How should you proceed? Take the time to examine your community and your unit. Yes, your community’s master policy should cover repairs for most issues. That is, once they have been discovered and reported. Be your Condo or Coop Association’s eyes and ears by observing and promptly reporting issues. Be sure to take photos and/or videos of any issues. This will be essential when submitting an accurate coop/condo insurance claim.
What should you look for? Anything that appears to have changed or degraded since last Fall. For example, if your building has a flat roof with public spaces, check for any damages to the roof decking, any semi-permanent structures (such as a pool, a pergola, seating, etc.). Children’s playgrounds are another crucial area. Note if any seating, slides, swings, etc. are in sound condition. Report the slightest change, including bubbled paint, rusty chain, missing slide ladder treads, etc.
If your community has a parking garage, this is an excellent location to scan for potential damage. That is because residence walls may obscure crumbling concrete and rusty rebar, which are exposed in areas with open levels. When submitting your findings to your Association, be sure to document any photos in writing. This will assist in preparing a thorough and accurate condo/coop insurance claim.
It is obvious that, for safety reasons, one should promptly report chipped steps and sidewalk cracks. But do not overlook damaged landscaping. Not only can this pose a hazard to residents, but can lower property values, too. It is known that a well-maintained property will command optimal real estate prices, so be sure to inform your Association of their responsibility to promptly trim and/or replace any deadwood.
Be sure to routinely inspect your own unit. If your residence is on one of the higher floors, examine your ceilings for signs of potential water damage. This is especially important if your unit is beneath a pool which may have sustained cracks over the Winter. Interior damage may not be limited to the upper floors of a high rise, either. Consider if the unit directly above yours has been vacant during the colder months. Unheated units could have sustained plumbing leaks, which could go unnoticed.
Condo and coops offer carefree living by placing maintenance responsibilities on your community’s Association. However, they cannot make repairs until they are made aware of any issues. That’s why it is wise to protect your residence, personal property, and family by being proactive. Contact United Public Adjusters for assistance should you need to submit a claim for coop/condo water damage or any other insurance issue not covered by your Association. We’ll be glad to assess your damage, assist you to document, and submit your claim. Additionally, we’ll negotiate to ensure you’ll receive the highest settlement your policy allows.
You moved to a coop/condo for fewer home maintenance responsibilities. Allow our team to increase your peace of mind by assessing your current policy and prepare now for potential personal property losses year ‘round. Schedule your confidential consultation at 800-718-5677 today!