Understanding Your Insurance Policy's Fine-Print What You Need to Know about Riders

Suddenly, the room was shaking and the plants around Ron Tepperman’s desk were moving—it took a second for him to register what was happening. Until a real live earthquake shook the city and created panic along the East Coast, that ground-shaking sensation was unfamiliar to most New Yorkers. The August 2011 quake only lasted about 20 seconds, and not only unnerved Tepperman and many others, but caused real physical damage to structures as well.

“It was scary,” recalls Tepperman, who is an insurance agent and president of Ron Tepperman Inc.

Even more frightening for management of some of the buildings damaged by the quake were the implications of repairing the mess. Some buildings suffered foundation cracks, which in some cases extended up many stories, taking a lot of time and money to fix.

Compared to those in the Northeast whose properties were pummeled or destroyed by Superstorm Sandy, many of the witness of the Gotham earthquake got off easy. But both recent events reminded city dwellers that they are not immune to natural catastrophes, and that it's crucial to have the right insurance coverage for their properties.

While most unit owners and board members have a good grasp of the major insurance coverages they are paying for to protect their building and property—such as homeowners, liability, and umbrella—there are more specialized types of insurance that people often are less mindful of, but which are still extremely important.

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