Q&A: Must I Get Homeowner's Insurance?

Q The board of directors at my co-op recently mandated that every apartment must carry homeowner’s insurance and list the complex as “additionally insured.” My insurance agent says that by listing them as “additionally insured” on the policy, the complex has the right to change particulars to carry homeowner’s insurance, and also to list them specifically on the policy?

—-Perplexed Homeowner

A “In order to determine,” says attorney Jeffrey Reich of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP, “whether the writer’s board of directors has the authority to require the writer (as well as the other cooperative shareholders) to obtain one or more policies of insurance e.g., liability and property coverage) covering the writer’s use and ownership of his apartment, it would be necessary to review the terms of the writer’s proprietary lease. A board’s authority to require a shareholder or resident to maintain one or more policies of insurance should be specifically provided for in the proprietary lease. Without such express language (even if included in a set of house rules) in a proprietary lease, such a requirement may not be enforceable.

“As far as the apartment corporation being named as an additional insured, this should not entitle the board to change any aspect of the writer’s coverage. Being named as an additional insured would simply result in the apartment corporation being covered in the event that it is named in a lawsuit arising out of the acts or omissions of the named insured (the letter writer). Only the named insured should have the right to alter the terms of the policy.”

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