Residents at The Pines, a condominium complex in Houston’s Memorial neighborhood, learned the hard way the risk of not knowing what exactly their Homeowners Association (HOA) insurance covered. When Hurricane Harvey hit, the 254 units were flooded by the nearby Buffalo Bayou, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. All the residents were forced to evacuate. One year earlier, the board of the HOA had decided not to carry flood insurance because the complex had never flooded.

Now, The Pines residents face the cost, emotional and monetary, of rebuilding their homes, a process they told The WSJ that has been complex, onerous and contentious.

When considering buying or renting a property in a community, one of the most important things to know is the kind of master policy the HOA has.

The most common policy usually provides coverage in case of any damage to common areas like pools, gyms, lobbies, elevators, stairways and playgrounds. It is key that you check what causes of damages does the HOA insurance include, because, as The Pines residents discovered, natural disasters like flooding are not always on the list.

Your HOA should also purchase general liability insurance to pay the costs of any lawsuits for medical expenses filed by people who are injured in the common areas of the property.

There are some policies that go beyond the basic coverage and may include the loss of value and increased cost due to the enforcement of municipal laws or ordinances regulating the construction or repair of damaged buildings caused by an insured loss or the loss of money caused by a dishonest employee. Others may offer coverage in case of computer fraud; a liability that has become more common in the digital era.

Coverage of the interior of a resident's home and a resident’s personal property is the owner’s responsibility. Here you have the chance to fill with your own insurance any gaps the HOA coverage may have.

If you buy your property through a mortgage, the lender will typically require you to purchase a homeowner’s insurance policy, regardless of whether you pay HOA fees. The borrower can usually choose the policy on their own though, which can lead to inadequate insurance if you don’t have clear what kind of coverage the HOA has.

At EasyMGT you can search and find information about the insurance policies of thousands of Homeowners Associations. Our goal is to help you make informed decisions that will save you time and money. Simply type the name of the community you are interested in to get the relevant information.


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