The outdoor air conditioning unit is part of the “condominium property as originally installed” and is not on the list of “excluded items” and is therefore the insurance responsibility of the association. This is so even though many declarations define air conditioning equipment as “limited common elements” and require the owner to maintain, repair, and replace these items. That is one of the main sources of confusion. The duty to maintain, repair, or replace is set by the declaration of condominium, while the duty to insure and repair after an “insurable event,” or “casualty” is set by statute.
Because the air conditioning unit was damaged by an insurable event, the association should submit a claim to its insurance carrier. Chances are, the replacement cost may be below the deductible, which leads to the next issue, who pays.
The statute also discusses the responsibility to pay for repairs caused by an insurable loss when there is insufficient insurance coverage, including due to the insurance deductible. The law provides that any portion of the condominium property which must be insured by the association against property loss which is damaged by an insurable event shall be reconstructed, repaired, or replaced as necessary by the association as a common expense. Another complicating factor in this part of the law is that it conflicts with the provisions of many declarations as written when the law was created, opening up a whole realm of constitutional legal issues.
However, taking the current law at face value, and assuming your association has not taken the procedures in the statute to “opt out,” the association insures the air conditioner and must pay to have it replaced after an insurable event such as a lightning strike, and must absorb any deductible as a common expense shared by all unit owners.