With more than 60 percent of O’ahu residents living in condos, knowing how to maintain and insure a condo in Hawaii is of great importance to many who call the island state their home. While belonging to an Association of Apartment Owners (AOAO) ensures the exterior and common elements of the condo are maintained, the individual owner is generally still responsible for maintaining the interior and their personal belongings. To that end, here are some basics that you need to know about maintaining and insuring your Hawaii condo.
Know Your Responsibilities
Before you start looking into insurance plans or taking on maintenance needs on your own, you need to be clear on which responsibilities are yours. This information should be clearly outlined in your condo association paperwork. In some cases, you may be surprised to discover what you are responsible for maintaining. For examples, if you own a high-rise condo, you may be responsible for maintaining the plumbing pipes that serve your unit, even if they are hidden behind walls. Furthermore, if you fail to maintain your property, you can be held responsible for any damage that this causes to neighboring units or adjacent common elements.
Conduct Routine Inspections
Your AOAO may already schedule routine inspections of each tenant’s condo. This is done in an attempt to mitigate future damages, thereby keeping down insurance claims and maintaining a quality building. If routine inspections are not already a part of your AOAO’s plan, then it is in your best interest to schedule these on your own. Proactive monitoring and maintaining of high-risk components such as your plumbing is a worthwhile investment that will ultimately help to keep your costs down.
There are also some steps that you can take to help to minimize the risk of damage caused by high-risk components. For example, investing in high-grade steel-braided water supply lines can help to prevent water damage caused by washing machine leaks. You should also check regularly to ensure these lines are not pinched or kinked in a tight space. Shut-off valves, drain hoses, and drain lines should also be checked to ensure they are working properly. Using high-efficiency liquid laundry detergent will also help to prevent clogs in the drain line. Getting water leak detectors will also help you to identify problems early so they can be repaired before major damage occurs.
You can also help to minimize risks by installing smoke detectors and performing a few additional routine maintenance tasks. These include testing the functionality of your electrical outlets every six months and replacing your AC filter at least once per month.
Carry HO6 Insurance
Every building master policy, which is paid through maintenance fees, covers things such as fire, hurricane and flood damage, but it only covers items as originally built. Therefore, if you made upgrades to your unit, the master policy will only pay for the replacement of the original materials. In addition, you will only be paid your share after the deductibles are met. Carrying an individual insurance policy such as an HO6 policy will cover the cost of your upgrades as well as the deductible from the building’s master policy.