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What You Need to Know About Flood Insurance if You Live in a Condominium

Living in Florida, we’re no strangers to short bouts of lighting and storms during the summer, and a long hurricane season. We might not know exactly what causes El Niño, but we know it has to do with weather. We know that South Tampa and Clearwater Beach tend to flood, and flood badly.

However, there are other aspects of floods and flood insurance that aren’t as well known. For example, are you required to carry flood insurance if you live in a condominium? You may know about the laundry list of rules the Condo Association establishes for the community; but what, exactly, is mandatory pursuant to state legislation?

Chapter 718 of the Florida Statutes is known as The Condominium Act and is the ruling authority on condos in our State. Its only mention regarding flood insurance is the following: A condominium association may obtain insurance and flood insurance for common elements, association property, and units.

What does this mean for you?

Depending on the terms of your mortgage lender, you may be required to purchase your own flood insurance policy. As for the condo association specifically, all the Condominium Act requires is that they use their best efforts to obtain and maintain “adequate property insurance to protect the association, the association property, the common elements, and the condominium property…” So if your home is located in an area that’s prone to flooding, flood insurance should be considered “adequate”. Knowing this, don’t rely only on community lore or recent news to know whether you’re in a high-risk area. Living in close proximity to large bodies of water makes it pretty obvious; but if you don’t, you should check your local flood map on FEMA’s website.

What if my HOA does not provide enough coverage?

If your condo association does have flood insurance, but you are concerned that its coverage is not enough, even if you live in a high rise building, you could purchase insurance for a single family residence. FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) delineates the different ways a condo unit owner could best protect their home. These will only apply if the condominium association owns the condominium.

Just as with mortgages, obtaining insurance for condominium unit owners differs substantially from the rules that apply to everyone else. To best protect yourself, consult the Condo section of FEMA’s NFIP manual, then contact National Flood Experts for a free evaluation of how high your flood risk would be.

13 thoughts on “What You Need to Know About Flood Insurance if You Live in a Condominium

  1. In Missouri is it a law that your condominium association must provide flood insurance if your building is in a flood plain?

    1. Hi Dave, it is not a law exactly. It is a federal requirement in regards to lending. If any of the condo owners have a mortgage on the property, it is a condition of that loan that flood insurance be obtained. The easiest, cheapest and best way to do that is for the association to purchase flood insurance for the entire building(s) and split the cost among the owners….like the wind/hazard coverage is. This should be spelled out in the condo documents. If the condo is newly mapped into the flood zone, the documents may need to be updated.

      I hope this helps, if you have more questions feel free to call our office. We can give you any information you need and even let you know how much a flood insurance policy would be for the condo.

    2. If an owner is trying to sell a condo in a flood zone and the association does not have enough flood coverage on the master plan, what options do buyers have with financing? I understand most lenders will not cover borrowers if association does not provide enough coverage and because it’s a flood zone borrowers cannot purchase their own flood insurance. It feels like our association has made it impossible for us to sell.

      1. If we’re talking about a residential condo unit, then the owner should be able to get their own policy of coverage to make up the difference of whatever the master doesn’t cover. If the master does not have enough coverage on the RCBAP to meet the unit owners loan requirements, then the owner can get their own individual unit policy to supplement the RCBAP

  2. my condo dose not have flood ins, we are in a flood zone , they have never flooded . they have property ins., hurricane ins. dose the ass. have to provided flood ins. ther are many homeowners could not afford the extra expencie.owners with morg. do have flood ins. there was a vote not to have flood . is that legal

  3. Hello,

    Can you give me a loss scenario when a unit owner may be assessed by the association from a covered flood loss?

    1. I can only think of two scenarios. The first would be to cover the deductible for the policy, and the second would be if the cost to repair the damage exceeded the coverage limits. Another possibility would be if the cost to repair exceeded the claims adjusters opinion. IE the adjuster says it is $100,000 in damage, your contractor says it will cost $150,000. Unfortunately, this can happen.

  4. I live in a high rise condo in NJ. We have required flood insurance for the building. However, my mortgage lender is requiring me to have for my unit (which is on the second floor, 12 feet up from ground) to have individual flood insurance for my unit. No other residents on my floor are required from their mortgage companies. Is this legal?

  5. I live in a high rise condo (the association has full flood insurance for the building) I live on the 2nd floor (12 feet up from ground) and my mortgage company is requiring me to have flood insurance just for my unit. Is this really needed. No other unit owner on my floor has that requirement from their mortgage company
    Is this true?

  6. Hi,
    When I bought my condo (Pompano Beach, FL), my lender didn’t require me to have individual flood insurance. A year later, they are asking me to get one. Is this legal? I’ve checked with the condo and it appears they don’t have a policy to cover my unit, which by the way is on 2nd level.

    1. Flood zones have changed and you may be in a higher rated flood zone now. Your association’s policy does not cover your furniture, electronics, clothing and other personal property. Also, if the building is condemned due to a flood and you do not have flood insurance, and you cannot access the building, only a flood policy will your loss. So it does not matter which floor you are on in the building

  7. Thanks for pointing out that the kind of house I am living in is also a factor to consider when buying a flood insurance. My husband is currently looking for a flood insurance company because we are on the verge of getting to buy a waterfront property in a few weeks. While the view is very stunning, we should still be prepared in case of very bad weather.

    1. Happy to help Alice. Most people love living by the water but like you said, be smart about it. Our goal here is to always get you in the best position possible to be able to tackle that risk responsibly.

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