At this point your board knows how crucial it is to carry proper insurance, but what a lot of boards don’t realize is the importance of reviewing your policy every year. As your community makes changes, adds upgrades, or entirely new additions like pools or play structures, you need to make sure your insurance policies reflects those changes.
If it has been awhile since your community has reviewed your HOA insurance policies, here are a few guidelines:
- Be prepared! Make a list of any changes your community has experienced since the policy was first purchased. This could include new play structures, pool upgrades, the make and model of cars or utility vehicles and the driver’s licenses of those who operate them, and any other information relating to new purchases or remodels. It’s also good to know the age of features like common area roofs or community-house HVAC units.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. One of the most important things your board can do is take the time to understand your policy and how your community is protected. A good agent will answer all your questions in simple terms and help your board understand the policy.
- Budget accordingly. A lot of times people are nervous about the cost of insurance, but the most important thing is getting the best coverage that meets your community’s needs. Once you’ve found the right coverage, talk to your agent about ways to save money including discounts for policy renewals and reviews with them! Remember, at the end of the day coverage is more important than cost!
- Think in “what ifs”. Sometimes it’s easier to understand insurance coverage and your community’s needs if you start thinking about incidents that would require coverage. For example, “What if someone slips and breaks their arm on the pool deck?”, “What if a common area tree falls onto a resident’s car or house?”, or “What if an owner accidently sets fire to a common area?”. Thinking like this allows you to paint a clear picture of how your community is protected and it may highlight a weakness in your existing policy!
- Call your agent. When your community is maintaining and there aren’t any major changes, an annual insurance review is probably all you need. If, however, you’re making changes or improvements, don’t wait to call your agent. Talk with them about your plans, ask how it will impact coverage and cost, and keep them informed about what is going on with the HOA. The more they know the better they can assess your insurance needs.
Insurance coverage isn’t a one-time deal that you don’t need to check in on. Take the time to understand your policy and work with your agent to make sure the policy is up-to-date based on your community’s changing needs!