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.