M.M. from Fairfield County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I got flood damage due to Hurricane Sandy. The condo flood insurance for below grade covers structural damages. I had to remove the framed wooden joist underneath my floors over crawlspace. The insurance is stating this is a part of subfloor and was not holding up the walls. The joists were holding up the walls but not the masonry walls. They paid for sheetrock but not for the concrete foundation slab which was required to be installed required by the town. I appreciate if you can let me know if those floor joists is structural and if the condo building insurance should cover those joists. Thank you very much.
Mister Condo replies:
M.M., I am thankful you survived Hurricane Sandy with and have only property damage to show for it. So many Fairfield County residents lost so much more. With regards to your question of floor joists and flood insurance coverage, I would have no way of knowing what is and isn’t covered by your condo’s flood insurance policy. Further, your association also has master insurance in place which may also come into play. My experience with insured losses is varied with some insurers gladly paying their claims and some bringing up clauses that release them from having to pay. Add to that mix the revised condo insurance laws that have been enacted through CIOA the past few years and you have a real recipe for a mess.
My advice would be to hire a competent attorney or insurance adjuster to review your claim and make sure you got what you were entitled to. You mention that the new construction included a concrete slab that was required by the Town. If building codes had changed and new elements were required to be installed, it is very likely that insurance would not cover the newly required building products. After all, they weren’t there when the policy was purchased. Of course, you will also need to look at the dollars and cents of hiring someone to handle this claim for you. It is possible that it is less expensive to simply pay for the concrete slab and consider it a home improvement. If it is damaged in the future, it should be covered under the new policy. Make sure to alert your Board to the addition so they can have it added to the master policy and the flood policy. Best wishes!