Sinkhole damage might not be as common as high winds and heavy rain, but it can wreak havoc on your home or commercial property. There are more sinkholes in Florida than in any other state, so if you have the budget to purchase sinkhole coverage, it is a good idea to do so.
Unfortunately, just because you have insurance does not necessarily mean that your insurer will step up to the plate and repair your property. Insurance companies are businesses, and they look for every possible excuse to deny or undervalue claims.
Even if your insurer approves your claim, it may not restore your property to its pre-disaster condition. Some contractors use low-quality materials and take a cut-corners approach to repairs. If this happened to your home, you may have grounds for a claim against your insurance provider. In the state of Florida, if you have to file a lawsuit against your own insurance company to enforce your rights, your insurer will have to pay your attorney fees and other costs associated with litigation.
Michael D. Leader is an insurance attorney in Fort Lauderdale who understands the tactics that homeowner’s insurance companies use to cheat claimants out of fair compensation. He will evaluate your case, review your insurance policy, and provide comprehensive legal guidance. Call 954-523-2020 to arrange a free consultation at Leader & Leader P.A.
What Is Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse?
In the state of Florida, insurance companies are not required to include sinkhole coverage in every policy; however, pursuant to Section 627.706 of the 2016 Florida Statutes, all insurance companies that offer property insurance must provide coverage for a catastrophic ground cover collapse.
Even if you do not have sinkhole coverage, your homeowner’s insurance company may still have to cover your damages if:
- There was an abrupt collapse of the ground cover;
- There is a clearly visible depression in the ground cover;
- The building’s foundation sustained damage; and
- The building was condemned and ordered to be vacated by an authorized government agency.
If just one of these criteria is not met – for example, if your property was not condemned and ordered to be vacated – then your homeowner’s insurance may not cover the damages. If you are in this situation and you do not have sinkhole coverage, you may have to cover the damages out of your own pocket.
5 Steps to Take If a Sinkhole Damages Your Property
Sinkholes are rarely harmful to people, but they have caused fatalities in the past. As such, it is important that you know how to protect your family if a sinkhole forms on your property. Also, taking the right steps may put you in a favorable position to file an insurance claim.
Follow these five tips if a sinkhole forms on your property:
- Evacuate your home;
- Use rope or tape to form a boundary around the sinkhole;
- Leave your belongings in your home unless you are certain that it is safe to remove them;
- Call the 911 and request assistance if someone was injured; and
- Contact an insurance claims lawyer.
Michael D. Leader is a Fort Lauderdale insurance attorney who will help you fight for the maximum compensation. Call 954-523-2020 today to schedule a free initial consultation.