Emergency Planning – Have Your Insurance Documents Accessible

July 2016

One aspect of emergency preparation is insurance.

Insurance is a form of risk management. In the event of a loss, the insured receives financial compensation. Car insurance, for example, protects those insured from the financial implications of a vehicular incident. Protection is provided in return for monetary compensation – the premium.

Insurance is intended to reduce the financial impact of risk.

Condo residents typically have two forms of insurance. Condo corporation insurance covers damage and liability throughout common areas of the building. Household insurance protects whatever in the unit is not considered a common element and not covered by condo corporation insurance.

Recent increases in catastrophic damage, often but not always resulting from severe weather or water damage, have resulted in more and higher value claims. Condo residents should ensure, in advance, that their insurance coverage meets their personal requirements.

In preparation for the filing of an insurance claim, condo owners should have easy access to four documents that are important to an insurance claim:

  • Their household insurance policy including contact information
  • Their condo corporation insurance policy and contact information – which may be the Management Office
  • Condominium Declaration
  • Standard unit by-law if one exists

The first two documents help identify what is potentially covered under each policy. The second two documents help the insurer determine who is responsible for repair of damages.

Once a loss or damage has occurred, insurers should be notified as early as possible.

Many insurance policies have deductibles that may have to be paid by the insured before an insurance policy payout is received. For condo corporations this deductible can be tens of thousands of dollars. Underinsured homeowners or tenants may be required to pay their building’s deductible in the event of a claim.