While living in Florida offers many advantages, it also has some drawbacks, such as potential damage to our property from hurricanes and other acts of nature. One of the truly alarming threats is sinkholes, since they seem to come out of nowhere and swallow up homes and other property.
Unfortunately, sinkholes in Florida cause huge losses. In these cases, property owners turn to their insurance companies to cover their losses and are often disappointed by delays in payment, undervalued claims, or denied claims.
At Malik Law, we have extensive experience helping homeowners successfully navigate the insurance claims process following property damage. If your home has been damaged or destroyed as a result of a sinkhole, the experienced insurance claims attorneys at Malik Law are committed to assisting you through the insurance claim process to help you get the payment you need to repair or replace your damaged property.
What Is a Sink Hole?
As the name implies, a sinkhole is a hole that opens up in the ground, causing the ground – and anything on top of the ground – to sink into the hole. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a sinkhole is an area of ground that has no natural external surface drainage. When it rains, the water stays inside the sinkhole and typically drains into the subsurface.
Sinkholes can vary from a few feet to hundreds of acres and from less than 1 to more than 100 feet deep. Some are shaped like shallow bowls or saucers, whereas others have vertical walls. Typically, sinkholes form so slowly that little change is noticeable, but they can form suddenly when a collapse occurs. Although sinkholes are found all over the world, they are especially common in Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Florida.
Insurance Coverage for Florida Sinkhole Damage
Homeowners are often shocked to learn that a loss caused by a sinkhole may not be covered under their homeowner’s insurance policy. The reason for this is that when a homeowner’s insurance policy is priced, the real estate value of the land is excluded. In other words, the property is insured for what it would cost to rebuild the home’s structure, which does not include the price of the land.
Consequently, most property insurance policies exclude damage related to movement of the earth. It is for this reason that homeowners living in areas with a high risk of earthquakes are required to purchase separate earthquake insurance. Sinkholes present the same insurance coverage issues as earthquakes.
Because of the difficulty predicting and investigating sinkholes, some states require insurers to offer optional sinkhole coverage for an additional premium. That coverage may be offered either as an endorsement to a property insurance policy or as a stand-alone policy. Florida’s insurers are required to offer optional sinkhole coverage, which provides comprehensive protection against sinkhole damage.
In addition, Florida property insurers are also required to provide insurance for “catastrophic ground cover collapse” as part of the standard homeowner’s policy. That coverage applies when damage is severe enough to make a home uninhabitable. It is defined according to four criteria:
- The abrupt collapse of the ground cover.
- A depression in the ground cover clearly visible to the naked eye.
- Structural damage to the covered building, including the foundation.
- The insured structure being condemned and ordered to be vacated by the governmental agency authorized by law to issue such an order for that structure.
Get Help from Experienced Miami Sink Hole Insurance Claim Attorneys
If you have suffered a loss to your home and/or property as a result of a sink hole, the Miami insurance claim attorneys at Malik Law are committed to helping you. We understand how homeowner’s insurance policies work regarding sink hole coverage and claims, and we are dedicated to helping you to get the payment you need to repair or replace your damaged property as soon as possible.
To get started, call us at 407-500-1000 or submit our online form today. One of our experienced Miami insurance claim attorneys will discuss your rights and options with you at no cost.