Last month, a story made the rounds about a tragic accident that occured in an HOA, and the effect it was having on the entire community. A teenage boy was injured when part of the neighborhood playground broke, leading to lifelong brain damage. When the inevitable court case came around, the HOA was found to have not had any maintenance plan in place, and a 20 million dollar judgement was entered against the Association.
Already a horrible tragedy, the entire neighborhood was affected as people began to realize that each member of the HOA was going to be left with a share of that $20,000,000 bill: as much as $90,000 a person! Fortunately, in this case the lawyers have decided not to pursue the homeowners for this money, but instead to go after the insurance company.
Money is often tight in a community Association, and expensive preventative maintenance might be easy to push aside. Sure, hindsight is 20/20, but that sort of thinking can lead to so much more than a high repair bill: lifelong injuries or even death are very real risks when our neighbors and our children are climbing on a playground or using a diving board. You wouldn't put off replacing your car's brakes as it aged, so why do the same with your amenities? Don't mistake a legitimate routine maintenance plan for snake oil.
As a homeowner, you aren't helpless in the situation though. If you and your Board of Directors do not agree on how well the amenities are maintained or how much instance the Association needs, you may be able to get loss assessment coverage to protect yourself financially. You can reach out to your insurance provider about purchasing loss assessment coverage to help protect you from these sort of insurance claims that go over the HOA's coverage. We encourage you to contact your insurance provider to look into whether their loss assessment options are right for you.