As we get closer to storm season and the threat of damaging weather, it’s important to review your policies on exterior damage caused by natural events. Typically, the governing documents will dictate protocol for those situations and the role of the board vs. members. Most instances will require the board to be responsible for any storm damage on the exterior of the property (following the studs out rule) while the member’s own homeowner’s policy will cover any other damage on the interior (studs in). However, this can differ somewhat depending on how the units are constructed and the association laws-for example, an association with no shared walls or roof lines could outline a much different process that requires more resident responsibility. All board members should be aware of that policy anyone because you will most likely have residents asking about it as well.
The insurance should ideally cover the type of damage that could occur during a severe storm such as hail damage, wind damage, loss of roofing, and trees falling on your property. The board should take care of the exterior damage, but if it does reach inside the unit, such as a hole in the roof causing water to get in, then the resident would be responsible for the water damage.
Additionally, when going over the insurance policy, the timeline should also be checked. Most claims on storm damage have a deadline of 2 years, starting after the date of the event. If a severe storm does pass through or a resident mentions they can see damage from the ground, then an approved storm restoration expert should be brought in for an inspection.
For the benefit of the residents, a reminder of good storm safety practices might be an ideal message to send out. Remind them of how your insurance policy covers storm damage, what that means for them, the recommended procedure to follow during a tornado event, and who they should contact if their unit does suffer storm damage.
If the need for restoration of roofing or siding does occur, which requires time and construction, it’s important to keep the residents updated on the project schedule. Sometimes an early morning start is necessary to ensure timely completion, so a heads up will benefit the community. Explain that a little inconvenience, such as that early start or workers working around the property, is worth it in the long run to restore their exterior as quickly as possible.