Condo Insurance Won’t Cover Plumber’s Damage to Unit

M.C. from Hartford County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Our plumber installed a dishwasher improperly and water leaked under the floor, destroying the laminate and ceiling tiles in lower room. Asbestos was found in vinyl under laminate and must be removed. The plumber is taking responsibility. Our insurer insists that this damage, restricted to inside our walls, and not caused by condo-owned components (such as a roof leak would be) is the condo association responsibility by law and we can’t go to plumber’s insurance (nor to our own). Our condo association denies this and has refused to file a claim. The only law I can find does not seem to say this, but only seems to make a condo association responsible for horizontal surfaces between stacked units. This is a 2010 law. Can condo insurance be held responsible for my dishwasher leak?

Mister Condo replies:

M.C., I am sorry you find yourself in this situation. When insurers deny claims it is the homeowner who gets hurt. Asbestos abatement only adds to the problem. I can see where the association is denying your request as the damage is restricted to the interior of your unit. Until the plumber damaged the flooring, there was no liability. I am not quite sure why the plumber’s insurance would deny a claim of damage caused by his workmanship (isn’t that what his insurance is for?) but it still puts the cost of making the repair on you. Depending on how much the repair will cost, I would advise you one of two ways. If it is expensive (say more than $500), it may be worth speaking with an attorney to see if you can sue the plumber or the association. If the dollar amount is less than that (or if you were thinking of replacing the laminate floor) I would advise you to simply pay for the repair/upgrade and be done with it. I think it stinks that the insurance isn’t paying for this damage but unless the dollar amount is significant, I don’t think it is worth the time to try to sue for damages. All the best!

3 thoughts on “Condo Insurance Won’t Cover Plumber’s Damage to Unit

  1. Actually, it depends on the Condo Association Covenants in the state you are in.
    In GA it would be covered by the HOA Condo policy insurance subject to their deductible. The Plumbers insurance is definitely responsible under their liability policy.
    Your policy should also cover it as it is a water damage loss and you should have that coverage. Sounds like your insurance carrier is just trying to pass the buck.
    If it’s serious, contact a Public Adjuster in your state and get their opinion who is responsible.
    Best of luck

  2. I agree with Bob Casper, here in Florida the State Statutes dictate what is covered by the unit owner vs the condominium association. Association covers up to and including the wallboard within a unit (unit owner get ceiling, floor and wall covering as well as plumbing and electrical fixtures and built in cabinetry). BUT, the plumber’s liability should have covered the claim without cost to either the unit owner or the association.

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