Calgary condo owner battles insurer over ‘overpayment’ of premiums – Calgary

Calgary condo owner battles insurer over ‘overpayment’ of premiums – Calgary

A Calgary condo owner is calling out his insurance company after he said his home was defined and rated “incorrectly,” allegedly costing him thousands of dollars extra in premiums.

Calgary condo owner battles insurer over ‘overpayment’ of premiums – Calgary

Rob Braile bought a small condo in Southwest Calgary back in 2021. He then insured it with his three-decades-long insurer, Intact Insurance.

“It’s two-and-a-half years at $2,100 a year,” he told Global News.

Braile said he didn’t question the premium until he started talking to others. He eventually also reached out to Alberta Motor Association (AMA).

“I give them the information and they shoot back a quote saying, ‘$300’. I said, ‘Whoa, like monthly?’ They said, ‘Annually.’

Braile asked why there was a discrepancy. He said AMA looked into his property and ascertained his condo may have been misclassified.

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“They said they (Intact) must have you as a homeowner — not a condominium owner.”

“I did the math. A $1,800 difference on the same policy, for the same property, for the same length of time,” he said. “Intact owes me $4,500.”

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As a condo owner, Braile said he’s been told by several sources he’s only on the hook for “contents” insurance not “comprehensive” coverage, something Intact doesn’t agree with.

The large insurer told Global News, “The information provided and available for Mr. Braile’s property states it is a bare land condominium as opposed to a conventional condominium unit, thus the risk was written and rated as a comprehensive homeowner policy.”

Bare land condominiums are also known as sub-dividable single-family homes, built on a bare lot (they come with land). Intact said this means that the parts of the building that are within a unit’s boundaries aren’t considered common property and should be insured as such.

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“Should a property match a bare land condo, one should choose a home insurance policy with an extension of coverage for bare land condos.”

Insurance Bureau of Canada Weighs In

Global News also reached out to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). Officials told us once a structure is built on “bare land”, the unit owner is responsible for the entire building while the condo corporation is responsible for things like the roadways, sidewalks, etc.

The group representing the insurance industry added that’s different from a traditional condo, where the unit owner is responsible for the interior space and the condo corporation the exterior.

IBC did point out there may be differences with insurers, due to how much the condo corporation owns.

Braile’s condo board told Global News it has “extensive corporate insurance” covering most of the exterior and even interior of the various buildings.

Condo owners, like Braile, then pay a condo fee.

“I don’t shovel the snow. I don’t cut the grass. The (condo management) fixes the stucco when it cracks. They also fix the roof if it’s leaking,” Braile added.

Braile said he’s been banging his head against the wall for over a month trying to get through to Intact, and he’s now canceled his longstanding policies.

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“You dropped the ball,” he said. “I had enough. You lost me as a customer.”

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