Sinkholes, such as the one that swallowed part of a resort near Disney World in central Florida, are common in the Sunshine State. Unfortunately, many property owners discover their homeowners insurance policy does not cover sinkhole damage until it's too late. Before you search for sinkhole insurance quotes, there are several factors to keep in mind.
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Florida Sinkhole Facts and Statistics
These are facts and statistics from Florida studies and surveys:
- A recent statistical analysis by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation shows a sharp increase in reported sinkhole losses in the state in previous years.
- Total sinkhole costs over the sample period amounted to approximately $1.4 billion, an increase from $209 million in previous years to $406 million in recent years.
- The average single sinkhole insurance claim in Florida is more than $140,000.
- The majority of claims were in regions well known for sinkhole activity, including Hernando, Pasco, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Miami-Dade, and Broward counties.
- The Florida Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance reported that insurers had received 24,671 claims for sinkhole damage in that state alone during recent years. That's an average of nearly 17 claims a day, just in Florida.
What Is a Sinkhole?
There are three types of sinkholes:
- Collapse sinkholes: Fluctuations in underground water frequently trigger these types of sinkholes.
- Subsidence sinkholes: These sinkholes generally form slowly and gradually.
- Clay shrinkage: This type can vary with seasonal and annual precipitation changes.
The most common FL sinkhole insurance claims stem from subsidence.
What Is Sinkhole Insurance?
Many homeowners policies and business property damage policies offer special endorsements for sinkhole coverage. Without this extra liability insurance coverage, traditional policies will not cover sinkhole damage. If a sinkhole destroys your home or business and you do not have this extra insurance coverage, you will receive no compensation for your losses. Most households cannot afford this financial burden.
As sinkholes can, and often do, swallow cars while leaving the home untouched, you may want to find coverage for your vehicle by obtaining comprehensive coverage with your car or truck insurance policy. This coverage will provide you with compensation for loss or damage caused by sinkholes, as well as other common occurrences such as fire, severe weather, theft, and vandalism.
What Does Sinkhole Insurance Cover?
Sinkhole insurance can offer reimbursement for sinkhole damage to your home, business, outlying property, and personal belongings kept inside the building. Even a small shift in the ground beneath the foundation of a building can cause severe structural damage. A major sinkhole can swallow up an entire building and its contents. Be sure you carry enough coverage to help you to rebuild if a sinkhole destroys your home or business. This insurance will also cover necessary preventive measures, such as structural bracing, to keep an impending sinkhole from causing more damage to your property.
What Does Sinkhole Insurance Cost?
A sinkhole homeowners insurance endorsement in Florida can seem expensive at first. Most policy quotes range from $2,000 to $4,000 a year and can come with a high deductible. Considering, however, that the average sinkhole insurance claim exceeds $100,000, the quotes you find may prove worth the added cost. It's important to compare several sinkhole insurance quotes from a variety of Florida providers to ensure you find the best rates available.
What Should You Do If You Find a Sinkhole?
You should report any sinkhole in a public street or parking lot to law enforcement immediately. If you find a sinkhole on your property, immediately cordon off the area to protect yourself from liability claims. As soon as you are able to, contact your Florida insurance provider and notify them of the sinkhole. You should also contact your county's emergency services office for assistance. A small sinkhole is repairable by filling it with natural materials such as rock, clay, and sand. Large sinkholes may require the expertise of a professional geologist or a geotechnical engineer. Never attempt to repair a large sinkhole yourself.
Where To Find Sinkhole Insurance
Sinkholes are commonplace in Florida, so you want to rest easy knowing your home and property have sinkhole insurance protection. Knowledgeable, independent insurance agents in our network are always available to answer your questions, suggest coverage options and even assist you in filing a claim.
Contact an agent near you to find out how you can obtain a sinkhole insurance policy that meets your needs and budget.