Which Insurance Coverage Covers Condo Ice Dam Damage?

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W.M. from Tolland County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

My daughter lives in a condo and she has leaking in her living room from an ice dam on the roof. The wall and ceiling above the sliding door are soaked. She recently received a letter from the condo management company saying they would not do regular snow removal but would take care of individual problems. She called the management company and they are giving her a hard time saying “there is nothing much we can do, but we will try to send someone to remove the ice”. They also told her to contact her insurance company. Isn’t the condo insurance primary in this case as the problem started on the roof?

Mister Condo replies:

W.M., I am sorry for your daughter’s ice dam and resulting water damage. This has been a long, drawn out winter and there have been plenty of water intrusion events caused by ice dams throughout the Northeast. There may not be too much the management company can do about the ice dams unless they are directed to do so by the condominium’s Board of Directors who directs the work and agrees to pay for the ice dam removal. The insurance claim is another story.

Damage resulting from ice dams may or may not be a covered loss under the association’s insurance policy. As you can imagine, anything that happens on the roof is the responsibility of the association, and, theoretically, covered by the association’s master policy. However, that doesn’t mean that damage to the interior of the unit is covered. In fact, the homeowner’s insurance policy (HO-6, here in Connecticut) may be the correct policy for handling claim to the interior of the unit. The Master Policy may cover damage to the roof or exterior walls. Furniture, flooring, and belongings may be covered by the HO-6. There is also the issue of the deductible and who is responsible for that cost.

I have seen numerous outcomes from these insurance complexities. The good news is that your daughter is likely covered. The challenge may lie in exactly which insurance will cover the loss and who will be responsible for the deductible. If your daughter isn’t happy with the outcome from the insurance settlement, she may wish to hire an attorney or a loss mitigation firm to review the claim and settlement. If it is any comfort, she won’t be alone. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of condo residents in the Northeast who will be facing the same struggle. All the best!

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