About Sinkhole Damage
Sinkholes are the result of a slow, natural process of erosion. Given Florida’s limestone terrain, Florida experiences the most sinkhole damage and activity of any state. This geologic phenomenon commonly occurs when limestone is within a few hundred feet of the earth’s surface. Sinkholes are formed under pressure, generally from extreme drought or extreme rains. Human activities can also be accounted for as contributing factors to the development of sinkholes.
Although Florida Statute 627.706 requires every insurance provider selling property insurance in the state of Florida to also provide the coverage for catastrophic ground cover collapse, sinkhole damage may still not be covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy. Sinkhole damage is defined differently than a catastrophic ground cover collapse by law.
Florida law defines a sinkhole as “a landform created by subsidence of soil, sediment, or rock as underlying strata are dissolved by groundwater. A sinkhole may form by collapse into subterranean voids created by the dissolution of limestone or dolostone or by subsidence as these strata are dissolved.”
Florida law defines catastrophic ground cover collapse as “geological activity that results in all the following:
- The abrupt collapse of the ground cover;
- A depression in the ground cover clearly visible to the naked eye;
- Structural damage to the building, including the foundation; and
- 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.”
Chapter 627 of the Florida Statutes also states: “Contents coverage applies if there is a loss resulting from a catastrophic ground cover collapse. Structural damage consisting merely of the settling or cracking of a foundation, structure, or building does not constitute a loss resulting from a catastrophic ground cover collapse.”
If you do not have sinkhole coverage and your claim does not meet all four criteria points, your insurance company can legally deny your claim. All in all, sinkhole claims can provide for a great deal of difficulty as there are ultimately so many factors involved.