Property & Casualty Insurance/Loss Assessment Coverage

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Question
Hi

I own a vacation condo at the NJ shore. Back in Feb 2011, one of the 2nd floor units (not in my building) had a water pipe break. It caused structural damage to surrounding units in that building. The association put a claim into their insurance who denied the claim. After 3 years of litigation, a settlement was reached and the individual tenants are each being billed $2,891.00 to cover the losses as the association doesn’t have enough money now to pay. I have had a personal insurance policy on my condo for 4 years now (prior to this loss occurring). I just filed a claim against my carrier for the “Loss Assessment” which I have coverage for up to $10,000. The issue is my deductible has been automatically increased by my carrier the past three years. At the time of this loss (Feb 2011) my deductible was $250, the following year they made it $500 and the last renewal in July 2014 they raised it to $1000. Given the loss occurred in Feb 2011 and it was well known that the assessment would eventually be coming, I’m sure it was intentional that the deductible was raised. What deductible amount should apply to my claim? The current $1,000 or the $250 at the time of the loss? Note I tried to file a claim at the time of the loss but was told I had to wait until the final settlement.

Thank you

Anthony

Answer
Anthony:

I'm sorry to hear about you and your condo association having to deal with pipe break claim, especially when the pipe break didn't occur in your unit, but the one above you or around you.  

To the best of my knowledge, the policy that was in force at the time of loss would be the one that your insurance company should be looking at.  This includes the deductible, endorsements and coverage amounts.  You can confirm this with other sources (for example, an attorney licensed in New Jersey).  

I hope this information has helped you.

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Dominick Belinchak, Insurance Adjuster

Expertise

Property & Casualty Insurance Claims -- Residential & Commercial. I've worked for approximately 20+ insurance companies and have adjusted just under 1,000 claims, including residential & commercial losses that involve business interruption, fire, smoke, pipe break, hurricane, sinkhole, flood, water damage, mold, theft, vandalism, rental properties, appliance water leaks and others. If you are hitting a "brick wall" with your insurance company or insurance adjuster, or have a coverage question, please feel to ask. I'm here to help you!

Experience

Texas Independent Insurance Adjuster 2004-current Florida Insurance Adjuster 2009-2014

Education/Credentials
BS Business Administration USF (Tampa) -- 1992

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