- Insurance : Insurance policy
Definition : Insurance - Insurance policy
Contractual document that:
- Confirms the existence of the insurance policy;
- Indicates the names of the parties to the policy and the amount of the guarantees;
- Specifies the insurer’s obligations (the insurance company) and of the insured;
- States the nature and limit of the covered risks;
- Determines the term of the policy, the amount of the premiums and the schedule of payments;
This document is an integral part of the register of co-ownership and shall be made available to any co-owner upon request.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ! Any change to the insurance policy (insurance contract) in force, including the addition, change or cancelation of the insured coverage (guarantees) is called a "rider".
Your co-ownership is exposed to various risks, such as fire, water damage, theft and vandalism. When a loss occurs, the insurance of the co-ownership covers the immovable and the civil liability of the syndicate of co-owners.
The syndicate has the obligation to subscribe this type of insurance. The Law and the vast majority of declarations of co-ownership make it compulsory. The insurance contract describes the guarantees offered, their limits, exclusions, and the amounts of the deductibles.
Your syndicate must subscribe the following coverages:
The director plays a leading role in a co-ownership. As a mandatary of the syndicate of co-owners, he ensures the smooth running of the immovable’s day to day business, which implies a working knowledge of the tasks related to this key function. As such, directors must act with prudence, diligence, honesty and loyalty. The members of the board of directors thus evolve in a legal environment where their personal liability can be sought as part of their mandate on behalf of the co-ownership as well as towards third parties. The civil liability of the directors with regard to the tasks incumbent upon them is largely ignored. Thousands of Quebeckers who sit annually on a board of directors, maybe including yourself, are unaware of this state of affairs.
The tasks of the condo manager are numerous. The latter may be mandated to manage the immovable, and thus ensure its preservation and maintenance; implement the decisions of the board of directors; settle major losses, take out the insurance required for your syndicate, but also to enforce the by-laws of the immovable. Therefore, his civil liability may be invoked. If he is at fault, he is exposed to recourses or claims for compensation, whether by the syndicate or the co-owners themselves. It is therefore imperative that civil liability insurance be underwritten for the duration of his contract for service or his contract of employment.
The day-to-day administration of the syndicate may even be entrusted to a co-ownership manager who may, but need not be, chosen from among the co-owners. The syndicate of co-owners can thus delegate to the co-ownership manager other tasks and responsibilities that are generally the responsibility of the board of directors (collect the syndicate's claims, publish a notice of legal hypothec on the fraction of defaulting co-owner, instituting legal proceedings for all matters concerning his administration, giving releases and discharges, etc.). Yet, anyone who is in charge of administering property that is not his own or that is not only his own assumes significant responsibilities. That is why - and notwithstanding the co-ownership manager’s best intentions- it is advisable to take out insurance to cover his faults, errors or omissions.
Contrary to other jurisdiction, Québec Law does not compel a lessee to subscribe “home insurance” which, in the event of a loss, covers his property and his civil liability. This “negative-obligation” becomes a problem if your lessee causes damages to a third party and he is not insured. In such cases, the declaration of co-ownership can hold you (the co-owner) solidarily liable for the damages he has caused.
Your lessee is liable for any damages he causes during the term of the rental. Civil liability insurance covers him against material damages or bodily harm he may inflict (unintentionally) to third parties, and against faults committed by persons he accommodates or lodges in his dwelling. This insurance also covers damages that his property may cause to third parties. For example, it will cover water damage to your apartment generated by an overflowing washing machine, and also in a neighbor’s apartment.
The insurance premiums are the amount paid by the insured monthly or annually to benefit in the event of a claim from the guarantees in the insurance policy. It is an expense towards the preservation, maintenance and administration of the immovable. Although the syndicate assumes this cost, it is charged back to the co-owners as a portion of their common expenses (condo fees).
However, in recent years, there has been an increase in the amount of insurance premiums for most syndicates of co-owners. Two main factors are at issue: the general ageing of this stock of collective dwellings and the increase in claims caused by the failure to carry out maintenancework on the building. But the complexity of the insurance system also has its share of responsibility.
The Law states that your syndicate's object, therefore its mission is "[...] the preservation of the immovable, the maintenance and administration of the common portions [...]." This implies that it has a duty to have carried out, over time, the work required to prevent the deterioration of the common portions of the immovable. The maintenance and conservation of its built up patrimony are therefore a must for any self-respecting co-ownership.
Legal fees may hold back those co-owners wishing to assert their rights. Legal expenses insurance overcomes this obstacle.
What is legal expense insurance?
This insurance allows the reimbursement, in part or in full, of lawyers' or notaries' fees to prevent or resolve a dispute. However, this guarantee is subject to pre-established conditions, deductibles and caps.
Insurance companies offering legal fees insurance can propose a lawyer, although it cannot impose him to you. You remain free to retain the lawyer of your choice.
The law provides that the syndicate must keep a register available to the co-owners. Article 342 of the Civil Code of Quebec specifies that the board of directors shall keep the list of members, as well as the books and registers necessary for the proper functioning of the legal person. This register represents the memory of the building for those who administer it. It constitutes the history of the experience of the condominium from its conception, and this by specifying its maintenance and the work undertaken, while listing the contractors and suppliers who intervened. In this sense, it is invaluable. The syndicate must preserve for organizational and management purposes, or for legal protection and evidence purposes, all documents and information relating to the operation of the co-ownership. That is why "preservation", "access" and "archives" are the hallmarks of this register.
In the same way as any other natural or legal person, a syndicate of co-owners is likely to incur civil liability towards third parties, including co-owners. Responsibility is the counterpart of power: where authority is, there is responsibility. This responsibility can be translated into the financial contribution of the co-owners, since in the event of a judgment condemning the syndicate to pay a sum of money, this judgement will be enforceable against him and each of the persons who were co-owners at the time the cause of action arose, proportionately to the relative value of his fraction. Therefore the law obliges any syndicate of co-owners to take out insurance covering its civil liability towards third parties.
The Law and the overwhelming majority of declarations of co-ownership require that syndicates of co-owners insure their building. This may seem surprising at first glance as the syndicate does not own the private portions nor the common portions. However, its main object is to ensure the preservation and the longevity of the building and to manage and administer it diligently following rules of the trade. This is why the legislator has given to the syndicate an insurable interest and has made it compulsory that it subscribe building insurance.