Last year, my insurance company investigated and determined that my house was being impacted by sinkhole activity. Although the sinkhole repair was performed, cracks like the ones previously on my home have reappeared. Now what?

Under Florida law, when an insurance company confirms the presence of sinkhole activity, it must pay repair the home. If the cost of the sinkhole repairs exceeds the amount of your policy limits, which does happen, the insurance company must either pay the actual amount – even if it is above your insurance policy limits – or pay you the limits of the policy and walk away. (Certainly, there are some details in this, but you get the idea.)

If they have started the repair process, they must have determined that they could do the sinkhole repair within the limits. I assume this because you are still insured with them. Now that it appears the damage has returned, you are entitled to file another claim to repair these newly emerged sinkhole damages. The good news for you is that you start at “dollar one” on your coverage, not where you left off. For example, if the cost of the sinkhole repairs was $100,000 and your coverage was $125,000, you start the calculation of how much coverage is available at zero, not $101,000. Some insurance companies mess this up and try to write you a check for $25,000, which is almost always wrong.

If your damages have returned, this is commonly referred to as “failed repair.” A lot of times, engineering firms will investigate and then try and blame the damage on something other than sinkhole activity when they do the second investigation. This is a tenuous legal position for the insurance company and can be defeated with some effort. My suggestion would be to make a written demand to your insurance company and ask that they investigate the damage, much like you did when you filed the original claim.

Read my tips on filling out a sinkhole claim.

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