by John Tight, CEO, Campbell Property Management
Dealing with fire damage in your association can be a daunting task. Fires are not uncommon in Florida. If an emergency, such as a fire, happens suddenly in your HOA or condo association, what are you supposed to do? The Florida Fire Prevention Code is a valuable resource especially for new associations. Here are some of the steps you should take when a fire happens in your community association.
- Be certain that all occupants are safe following a fire. Evacuate anyone who is near the fire and can be injured by the fire or smoke inhalation.
- If necessary, barricade or block off the affected area to avoid further damage to people or property. For example, if a fire burns a good majority of the roof of a clubhouse, you will want to cover it with a tarp to prevent further damage from rain. Your insurance policy will cover you for emergency repairs to secure the premises such as boarding up all entrances to protect the property from water or vandals.
- Contact your insurance agent immediately following the fire to place them on notice.
- Do not make any permanent repairs until an adjuster from the insurance company has had an opportunity to inspect the damages!
- You should contact your attorney and let him/her know, particularly if you have any liability concerns.
- Be prepared to work with the insurance company on the cost of restoration. You are entitled to get an independent estimate of damages to compare to the insurance company numbers from a public adjuster. You should consult with a public adjuster as soon as possible, but timing of when to hire is tricky. You may wait until after receiving your quote from the insurance company’s adjuster. Don’t just accept what the insurance company offers; the public adjuster will fight on your behalf to get more money for your claim.
Has your association ever had to deal with a fire? How did they go about dealing with the situation afterwards? Let us know in the comment box below.