Re: How much liability insurance do other cohousingcommunities carry? (S. Kashdan)
From: Michael Barrett (
Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2011 20:47:31 -0700 (PDT)

Until this year our HOA had 1 million dollars in liability coverage for accidents on the common property. This year we asked half a dozen agents to bid for our business and obtained 2 million in liability coverage plus increases in our property loss coverage, all for a 14% reduction in premium. The highest bid received was more than twice our previous premium - for the same coverage! Shopping around was an eye opener but very worthwhile.

So, to respond to Slvie's question, Christine, and satisfy my curiosity, how much liability coverage does Stone Curves Cohousing have? And what range did the retired broker recommend ?

Insurance performs a definite and needed function. Unfortunately it can involve very large sums of money which also attracts trial lawyers. How much is a child's life worth? What she/he might earn over a lifetime career as a stay at home mom, a school principal, or a hedge fund manager? Should you insure for 1 or 10 million dollars of liability? If you have 10 million dollars in coverage the plaintiff's lawyers will come running. If you have little or no insurance and few liquid assets, they may be quite reluctant to even take the plaintiff's case, if they cannot see a fat fee (maybe 40% of sum awarded + expenses) being won and paid. Potentially hugh injustice here, but that's what a litigious society does.

Michael    -    at Shadowlake Village, Blacksburg VA

----- Original Message ----- From: "Christine Johnson" <manzjohnson [at]>
To: <cohousing-l [at]>
Sent: Friday, October 14, 2011 7:26 PM
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ How much liability insurance do other cohousingcommunities carry? (S. Kashdan)

Slyvie Kashdan wrote:

 As part of this, we are looking at our liability insurance coverage
to see if we have enough. Alternatively, we may decide
that some of our liability insurance is unnecessary, and drop it...

Since risk varies wildly from local to local and within a local,
varies wildly from property to property, a good practice is to pay for
an independent analysis.  If you underinsure, the broker or agent who
wrote the policy will not be accountable for your error unless s/he
advised you in written form (which of course, no one who knows their
business will.)

It's worth every penny to have an independent party (someone who would
not profit from your purchase of coverage) to complete a risk analysis
for you.  We did so with very good results.  We contracted with a
retired Farmer's Insurance broker.  He quoted us a flat fee to do a
simple risk analysis and reviewed three proposals for coverage.  He
met with the owners to discuss his recommendation and answer
questions.   This was a very good meeting as those who attended came a
way with a pretty good sense of why it is that we insure and what it
is that we are insuring.  Another benefit of contracting for this
analysis and recommendation was that the final decision was not second
guessed. No one argued that we should insure with the provider who
offered the lowest rate.

Not having adequate coverage is up there with driving on bald tires.
Nothing bad happens for quite awhile but when it does, it can be just
horribles upon horrible.

Christine Johnson
Stone Curves Cohousing
Tucson, AZ

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