Florida’s new property insurance reform, SB 408, may lull some homeowners into thinking that they don’t need to buy sinkhole coverage. After all, won’t paying for a “Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse” policy be enough? Many in the insurance lobby say that it is a viable alternative to paying those expensive sinkhole loss coverage premiums. Given the high costs, I can understand why a good number of homeowners will simply decide not to purchase, or renew, their sinkhole loss coverage. That decision, however, will cost them in ways they cannot even begin to imagine.
Take a look at the images below. This is what a Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse policy is all about.
A Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse policy is exactly what it says it is — “catastrophic.” In other words, your house must be structurally damaged to the point of making it uninhabitable. You and your family would have to be vacated from the property by a governmental agency to qualify for coverage under a cover collapse policy. While they make big news, homes that are completely destroyed by cover collapse sinkholes are a rare occurrence and the insurance industry is very well aware of that. Yet, many in the industry will tell you that catastrophic ground cover collapse coverage is all you need. This is a huge disservice to homeowners, to say the least.
Think of it this way — unless your home is falling into a sinkhole — catastrophic collapse coverage is of no value to you — zip, zero, nada! Yet, your home could sustain a substantial amount of damage associated with a sinkhole, even if it is not condemned. What happens then? Examine the images below. The cracks in a home’s foundation, ceilings, walls, and floors may be caused by sinkhole activity — but if the house can still be lived in — none of the damage to the home will be covered unless the homeowners have sinkhole loss policy.
What happens to the value of your property if you are unable to repair the damage caused by a sinkhole? Would potential buyers be willing to purchase a home that shows signs of sinkhole damage such as unsightly cracks on the exterior walls, a collapsed pool deck, cracks in the driveways, or walls that are separating from floors? You could lose up to 50% or more of your home’s value if you have noticeable sinkhole-related damage.
With sinkhole loss coverage, your home is protected. Keep in mind, however, that most policies cover your home only. You must purchase an additional insurance rider to cover damage to patios, driveways, pool decks, and other buildings or structures that are not part of your primary home.
If you’re thinking you’ll save money by not buying sinkhole loss coverage, think again. Sometimes, the cheaper option costs you a more in the long run. No matter where you are in Florida, your home is at risk. If you live Hillsborough, Hernando, or Pasco county, it is usually a matter of when, not if, you will have a sinkhole problem.
If you have a confirmed sinkhole on your property, contact the experts at Helicon. Call us today at 813-567-1065 or visit us online at Helicon. We are there to help and support you through the sinkhole repair process. At Helicon, we keep our promises.