Sinkhole damage continues to make headlines in Florida. Even just recently guests were quickly evacuated from a resort near Walt Disney World after a sinkhole opened up and two buildings partially collapsed.
But, while damage like that done to Lake County’s Summer Bay resort will most likely be covered by insurance, many homeowners in Florida are not as lucky. This is due to insurance changes that were made last year.
Last year the Florida legislature approved sweeping changes to the way insurance companies handle sinkholes. The law was changed in response to adjusters and contractors who were taking advantage of the system. However, while intended to stop the ongoing abuse of coverage, the changes ended up hurting homeowners who have significant sinkhole damage to their homes and need repairs.
According to a WFTV news report, only catastrophic collapse is now fully covered. This means the ground must abruptly collapse, there must be structural damage to the property and the property must be condemned in order for the sinkhole damage to be fully covered. What this means is that even though a sinkhole may cause significant damage, an insurance company may still deny a claim.
What these changes mean to Florida homeowners
The realization of what these insurance changes mean to the average Florida homeowner may be alarming at first, especially considering the fact that sinkholes are rather common in the state.
Sinkholes can naturally develop over time as the limestone underground dissolves. This means that while there may be signs of sinkhole activity, including cracks in the foundation, doors or windows that will not close and cracks in the wall, a homeowner may not realize there is a problem until there is significant damage. Even with this damage though, an insurance company may still try and deny a claim. You can check my company for quality window treatments.
This is where an attorney with experience handling Florida sinkhole denied claims can step in. For a homeowner with a denied claim, after talking with an attorney, it may be determined filing a lawsuit against the insurance company is the best way to go. This can end up resulting in compensation, which can then go toward the damage caused by the sinkhole.
In the end, homeowners should not feel bad about contacting an attorney. After all, a homeowner pays for their insurance month after month thinking that if it is needed, the money will be there. This is why it can be particularly frustrating when a legitimate claim is denied.
Source: wftv.com, “Action 9 breaks down Florida sinkhole insurance coverage”, Aug. 12, 2013