Barker Martin

Condo-HOA Blog

Pre-Existing Conditions

It is difficult to turn on the news or open a newspaper (do people still do that?) without hearing a discussion of pre-existing conditions. The discussion relates to replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I am fortunate that employer-provided health insurance isn’t impacted by the ACA, as my affinity for burritos could actually qualify as a pre-exiting condition subjecting me to increased premiums. While I do not purport to be a health insurance attorney, there are other areas of insurance impacted by pre-existing conditions. Understanding these issues could be the difference between an insurance denial and a substantial recovery.

Homeowners, associations, and businesses typically renew their property insurance every year. Many businesses and most associations also receive yearly, or at least periodic, reserve studies. The reserve study often includes some form of property inspection. Those reports sometimes identify property damage and recommend further investigation. Unfortunately, many associations do not have the money or experience to act after receiving the report. I have had numerous insurance claims where insurers have argued that claimed property damage was known by the insured prior to purchasing the policy; a “pre-existing condition” that precludes coverage.

If your home, association, or business is notified of property damage or given a recommendation to investigate further, due diligence suggests contacting an experienced attorney to help you understand what steps, if any, are warranted. Ignoring these reports may ultimately result in an insurance denial or unfunded repairs. When that happens, you may be required to dip into your burrito fund for what could have been a covered claim.