Of all the natural disasters that can happen in Florida, homeowner’s are concerned with hurricanes not sinkholes. Although they are fairly rare, they do happen — causing a great deal of damage to homes and buildings. In fact, our state experiences the most sinkholes than any other in the country, and many people find out too late that their homeowners’ insurance policies don’t cover the damage caused by them.
When you purchase homeowners’ insurance, there are a number of things bundled into the policy, no matter what. In Florida, sinkholes used to be part of this bundle. In 2009, however, the state legislature opted to make lesser damages caused by sinkholes an optional add-on to a typical policy because these types of claims were costing insurance companies — and therefore policyholders — more than they could afford.
The degree of sinkhole coverage still included in the standard homeowners’ insurance policy is known as “catastrophic ground cover collapse” coverage. Basically, the only for-sure way you can receive compensation for sinkhole damage to your property is if your home collapses into it, damaged so severely that it’s deemed unlivable. Of course, it isn’t you who ultimately defines “livable” when filing a claim. That’s up to the claims adjuster handling your claim.
Knowing the costs
If you are not properly covered for sinkhole damage, the cost of repairs can be extremely high. Because a sinkhole is essentially a result of dissolution in the ground caused by groundwater, the damage may involve cracks in the driveway or foundation, which can then have a ripple effect to other areas of your property.
You can get a quote from your insurance agent to find out how much sinkhole coverage would add to your premiums, and you could do some research on average sinkhole damage repair costs. Unfortunately, the damage can come in such a wide range of forms that it is difficult to make a fair comparison and plan appropriately.
If you are concerned about whether you’ll be covered in the event of a sinkhole on your property, speak with your insurance agent first and request a quote. When discussing this matter, ask about the risk factored into the quote for your area, as your insurance company is likely to have data regarding past incidents for your particular region.
Once you’ve gone over this with your agent, talk to a Florida public adjuster. These professionals can help you better understand your policy and serve as a valuable resource if you do need to file a homeowners’ insurance claim in Palm Beach County.
Advocate Claims Public Adjusters is a trusted resource for business owners and homeowners across Florida, including Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Wellington, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding areas. To learn more, call 1-954-369-0573 or contact us online.