Do You Need Sinkhole Insurance in Florida?
From 2005 to 2014, there have been 24,671 claims made for sinkhole damage. This means that, on average, there were nearly 17 claims made per day in the state of Florida alone.
Sinkholes can not only cause significant damage to property, but they’re also expensive to repair. Homeowners’ insurance typically doesn’t cover natural disasters like these because they’re so unpredictable. This is where sinkhole coverage comes into play.
You may not realize it, but sinkholes are a real threat to homeowners across the country. If you live anywhere near Florida, you might already be familiar with how big of a problem it is in the sunshine state. Do you need sinkhole insurance in Florida? This is a question that every Floridian has thought about.
The question of whether or not to get sinkhole insurance coverage has been hotly debated among residents of Florida and other parts of the country with high-risk factors for this type of disaster. Some people believe that they don’t need to get this insurance because their property doesn’t fall within the boundaries of an area at high risk for these natural occurrences. But the truth is, it can be extremely difficult to predict where sinkholes will appear and how big they’ll be when they do finally show themselves.
What are sinkholes?
Sinkholes are natural disasters that can devastate your property and ruin your day. In the past decade, sinkhole coverage has become more popular as sinkhole events have increased in frequency. Sinkholes happen when water from rain, snowmelt, or irrigation wears away rocks under the land until it eventually collapses. The ground either sinks or heaves up, creating what is known as a sinkhole.
The most common type of sinkhole is called an edge collapse sinkhole which occurs when the groundwater corrodes rocks along the edges of streams and rivers causing them to break away into the streambed below, forming deep vertical shafts that lead to underground caves. When these cave openings get too big for their ceilings, they will collapse causing sinkholes on the surface.
While sinkholes are a natural phenomenon, sinkhole insurance is not always part of standard homeowners or renters’ insurance policies. Firstly, it’s only available in areas that experience sinkholes, and secondly, sinkhole insurance can be pretty costly. There’s a lot of other things to cover besides sinkholes including damages from fire, faulty construction, etc.
With sinkholes being so common, many insurance policies have provisions for this type of damage. That means that if your home suffers from a sinkhole, you will be able to get help with repair costs through your insurance company.
Florida’s Sinkhole Problem
Florida is a state where sinkholes are a huge problem. In the past, sinkholes have caused a lot of damage in Florida. The state is also known as the “sinkhole capital of the country”. This is due to the fact that Florida is lying on top of a bedrock of carbonate, primarily limestone. That rock dissolves relatively easily in rainwater, which becomes acidic as it seeps through the soil. The resulting terrain, called “karst” is honeycombed with cavities. When a cavity becomes too big to support its ceiling, it suddenly gives way, collapsing the clay and sand above to leave a cavernous hole at the surface.
In total, over the 10-year period from 2005 to 2014, statewide sinkhole costs came up to approximately $1.4 billion. This large increase has been attributed to the strong population growth and construction trends in Florida.
Currently, the areas with the highest risks for sinkholes are along the coasts of Florida, especially in regions where limestone is close to or at the surface. These include Hernando, Pasco, Hillsborough, and Pinellas counties.
What is sinkhole insurance?
The sinkhole insurance that many homeowners have may not be just for sinkholes, but also other natural disasters. If you have sinkhole insurance and a sinkhole happens, then your sinkhole should be repaired at no cost to you. The sinkhole insurance will cover the cost of repairing structural damage and replacing any items that are destroyed during the event. It also covers sinkholes that take away an entire section of land or an entire building when they happen to be in their way. One sinkhole insurance coverage amount can sometimes be limited to a specific dollar limit which is what sinkhole policy’s limit is set at.
Sinkhole insurance can provide coverage for other natural disasters as well. You can also purchase this coverage to protect against landslides or earth movement, which may cause sinkholes.
It is important to note that sinkholes can be catastrophic and sinkhole insurance is not something that most people think of obtaining. Coverage for sinkholes is something that is not included in standard homeowners’ policies.
Why sinkhole insurance is important?
No one knows when a “Big One” will hit the ground. It’s better to be safe than sorry. The most dangerous sinkholes are those that occur without any warning. When sinkhole insurance is not purchased, there’s no guarantee that the damage will be covered as sinkholes can happen at any time without warning.
There are many reasons to have sinkhole coverage. It provides protection for your home or business. A lot of property owners are not aware that they can get this type of coverage, but it might be worth looking into if you are at risk for sinkholes. The coverage will provide the peace of mind that you are protected against anything that could happen due to sinkholes. You will need a sinkhole policy if your home or business is at risk of being affected by a sinkhole.
One benefit of this insurance is that it covers the loss of your building contents as well as any structural damages incurred from a sinkhole. It pays for the costs associated with fixing any foundation damage caused by a sinkhole. The coverage also includes any damages to outside buildings, porches and driveways.
How does it work?
Sinkhole insurance policies in Florida protect you against unforeseen natural disasters related to sinkholes. Sinkhole policy premiums are based on where your house was built, its construction materials, and how vulnerable it may be to sinking or shifting soil due to nearby cavities that could cause damage over time.
The companies that provide sinkhole coverage will offer you rates based on your location, the type of soil underneath your home, and any damages to the foundation in recent years due to shifting soil or water damage. This information can be found by having a qualified inspector check out your property before signing any sinkhole insurance policies.
How much does it cost?
Sinkhole insurance can help you pay for the damage sinkholes do to your property. But how much would it cost? The answer depends on a number of factors, such as location and size. Most policies range from $2,000 to $4,000 a year and can come with a high deductible. However, considering that the average sinkhole insurance claim exceeds $100,000, the quotes you find may prove worth the added cost. In some Florida counties with a history of sinkholes, sinkhole insurance may cost around $3,500 per year. Enquire with your agent or company to find out how much sinkhole insurance would cost you and what you get from it. Also, don’t forget to check in with multiple insurance providers and compare their policies.
Catastrophic Ground Collapse
Catastrophic ground collapse coverage is included under your existing home insurance policy. However, your claim must meet four requirements before your insurance company will reimburse you for the loss:
- The abrupt collapse of the ground cover.
- A depression in the ground that is clearly visible to the naked eye.
- Structural damage to the insured building, including the foundation.
- The insured structure is being condemned and ordered to be vacated by the governmental agency authorized by law to issue such an order for that structure.
It is important to note that you need to meet all four of these requirements in order to file a claim.
Sinkhole insurance is purchased separately and covers damage to your building caused by sinkholes. Sinkhole coverage is much less restrictive than catastrophic ground cover collapse, making it easier for crooks to abuse (leading to sky-high premiums). Catastrophic ground cover collapse coverage doesn’t cover every sinkhole, but it does ensure that, in most cases where your home is directly over a major sinkhole, you are covered without a sky-high deductible.
Do you need sinkhole insurance in Florida?
There are several factors that go into determining who should get this type of coverage. The sinkhole coverage is designed to cover you against property damage caused by subsidence or subsidence-related events.
The first thing that you want to consider is the location of your home and whether it is near a sinkhole. If you live in an area where there has been past history of sinkholes, or if sinkholes have started to form around your area or you think that sinkholes may be affecting your home, then this type of insurance may be necessary for you.
Furthermore, if your property has a pond, pool, septic system, cisterns or retention area and you live in an area prone to sinkholes, you should think about getting sinkhole insurance.
As we have discussed, sinkhole insurance in Florida can be quite expensive. You have to weigh the risks against the costs. The most important factor in that regard will be the sinkhole history of your area.
Sinkholes can do a lot of damage. They are not only a threat to your property but also the lives of your loved ones. In some cases, sinkholes can swallow entire houses. Most insurance policies do not cover the damages done by sinkholes. That is why it is a good idea to get yourself sinkhole insurance coverage. A lot of times, these insurance policies include natural disasters other than sinkholes as well. They cover damage to your home, office, or any such property.
The most important thing to consider while deciding if you need sinkhole insurance or not is your locality and the area’s history with sinkholes. If you live in an area with a lot of sinkhole-related incidents in the past, chances are that you are also sitting on top of sinkhole-prone ground. In that case, it is a good idea to get yourself sinkhole insurance. Click here to see the regions that are most likely to be affected by sinkholes.