Strata owners in B.C. should plan for a significant rise in strata insurance premiums and deductibles.
You may have heard by now that strata insurance (the insurance to replace or repair a strata building including the unit you own), has faced challenges recently. There have been significant increases in the cost for some policies for buildings and the deductibles charged should a claim be brought forward by the strata have gone up, in some cases substantially. This would be for situations such as water damage from a washing machine, sink, toilet, etc. If it was deemed to come from your unit, the strata corporation can bill you for the damages, or the deductible if the damages exceed that deductible amount and the strata puts through a claim on their insurance. This is not just for damage to your unit, but any others around you, above or below.
You should have a copy of your strata corporations insurance policy for the complex and look at the deductible amounts and take it to your insurance provider to discuss possible coverages you can purchase with your personal insurance that may help to cover the costs of these deductibles. Also discuss potential liability if your insurance doesn’t cover the strata corporation’s deductible. We’ve seen some deductibles go beyond $100,000 so it is important to look at your strata’s insurance. Also be aware of when your strata’s insurance policy expires and that there may be increases in the next policy that could affect your monthly maintenance fee.
Review your strata meeting minutes to see what discussions there are around this and attend the next Annual General Meeting of the strata to hear what is happening. The strata insurance policy usually comes with a Notice for an Annual General Meeting, but contact your strata manager if you cannot find it.
Below are links to some documents which help explain what is currently happening:
- Insurance Bureau of Canada - Snapshot of Issues
- Insurance Brokers Assoc of BC - Discuss Owner Liability in Strata Corporations
- How do strata corporations and owners manage the dramatic increase in insurance rates? (Condominium Home Owners Association of BC)
- Strata insurance rates are rising: Here’s what strata councils and unit owners can do (Insurance Brokers Association of BC)
CHOA is also a great resource for condo owners.
In summary, we recommend reviewing your home owner insurance policy and your strata's insurance policy yearly with a knowledgeable home insurance professional, to ensure your home is properly insured. Contact Us with any questions or for an introduction to a home insurance professional.