David Thompson's Dirty Dozen Condo Insurance Exclusions

A few weeks back, David Thompson, with the Florida Association of Insurance Agents (FAIA), wrote on the FAIA web site about “The Dirty Dozen” condominium insurance exclusions. Anyone who has access to the FAIA web site should definitely give it a read.

Thompson was writing about Fla. Stat. § 718.111(11)(f)3, which specifically enumerates twelve items that must be excluded from a condominium master insurance policy. Fla. Stat. § 718.111(11)(f)3 states:

The coverage must exclude all personal property within the unit or limited common elements, and floor, wall, and ceiling coverings, electrical fixtures, appliances, water heaters, water filters, built-in cabinets and countertops, and window treatments, including curtains, drapes, blinds, hardware, and similar window treatment components, or replacements of any of the foregoing which are located within the boundaries of the unit and serve only such unit. Such property and any insurance thereupon is the responsibility of the unit owner.

According to Thompson, remembering “The Dirty Dozen” exclusions is an easy way for condominium boards to field questions from unit owners about what is covered under the master policy. To spell out those exclusions listed in the statute, they are:

  1. Personal Property
  2. Floor Coverings
  3. Wall Coverings
  4. Ceiling Coverings
  5. Electrical Fixtures
  6. Appliances
  7. Water Heaters
  8. Water Filters
  9. Built-in Cabinets
  10. Countertops
  11. Window Treatments
  12. Window Treatment Components

Remembering this list is a great quick and “dirty” way to field questions regarding condominium insurance coverage, but associations should keep in the back of their mind that the list potentially runs deeper. Courts will use different methods to interpret the language of the statute in order to determine if an item is or is not covered. These methods are often discussed as rules of “statutory interpretation” or “statutory construction.”

For example, items expressly stated in the statute, such as water heaters and water filters, will likely always be excluded based on the “plain meaning” of the statute. What about a water softener? It is not expressly excluded, but a court may read it into the statute based on a “ejusdem generis” interpretation, which includes other items of the same class. Now what about an air conditioning unit? Is it an electrical fixture or an appliance? What about a water pump or other plumbing fixture? As items get further away from the defined list in the statute, the less likely it is that a court will find it excluded under the statute. Also, keep in mind that an insurance policy may exclude additional items from coverage.

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Comments (4) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
oldnassau - October 23, 2010 7:43 PM

I don't see the problem of "runs deeper". The statue begins with "all personal property within the unit...." The water softener and the air conditioner are personal property (purchased by the owner, not by the association).
The "dirty dozen" list begins with "and": these items are in addition to, not an itemization of, "all personal property".
I would add that there are many service groups which, for about $200/year, guarantee repair/replacement of plumbing, electrical,and water appliances within individual condos. East Coast Mechanical, here in West Palm Beach, is one.

bob snyder - February 11, 2012 8:56 PM

So what do condominium owners do when the ac units are on the roof and the roof is locked. Units are located on a stand above the specific unit. Now, you have dozens of owners saying that fuses and parts are being taken from there ac units. Now condo is responsible for thousands of dollars in damages. Those making claim happen to have key to roof, but probably other have made copy as well. It seems that the right thing would be if it is a hurricane or disaster condo would pay but this is out of hand. Should unit owner have maintained unit and locked it on the roof stand. doesnt best effort of condo count for anything. now each unit owner will suffer as condo master will not be renewed because of claims that parts are missing. Police reports have been filed. each time police come roof lock is closed. what are owners to do.

Jeremy Tyler - February 16, 2012 9:54 AM

Bob,

Thanks for the comment. Just a couple of weeks ago I wrote about a New Jersey case that had issues similar to those that you presented. The short answer is that the question of liability between the unit owners and association will likely be determined by the condominium association documents (deed, declaration, bylaws, etc.) and state statutes. For more information on how this was resolved in New Jersey, see my blog here:

http://www.condominiuminsurancelaw.com/2012/02/articles/condominium-associations/waiver-of-subrogation-rights-prevents-lawsuit-between-new-jersey-condominium-unit-owners-and-association/

Bernie MacDonald - July 1, 2012 9:09 AM

My condo here in Ft Myers was flooded while I and owner above were both away for the summer. Water ran for 2 weeks or more. Is the association responsible for replacing circuit breaker box that is rusted and dangerous? What about electrical outlet boxes that are damaged?

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