Failed sinkhole remediation
If you’ve gone through the process of sinkhole remediation, or you’re still in the middle of it, and symptoms of a sinkhole begin to appear again, you may be concerned, and rightfully so. Your sinkhole coverage policy is only up to a certain amount, and if the repairs haven’t even been completed yet, your insurance company needs to start again from square one. This means a lot of money. So what does this mean for you?
Your insurance policy
The amount of money your insurance company is required to spend on you is limited to the amount that your home is covered for. There is an exception to this rule, however: if you are in the process of sinkhole remediation (meaning an engineer has not yet confirmed that the sinkhole is completely repaired) and it’s determined that more repairs are necessary, your insurance company is likely on the hook for paying for these repairs.
Essentially, once your insurance company chooses an engineering firm to assess the damage and report the repairs needed, they have taken responsibility for the situation. Their ability to close the claim and minimize the flow of money relies on their engineer. Therefore, if the engineer advises that more repairs are needed or else they are not able to sign off on this sinkhole, your insurance company has to step up or else they can’t complete the claim.
Who determines the state of the sinkhole?
The engineer. More often than not, unless you have specifically taken it upon yourself to find your own engineer and come to an agreement that your insurance company will accept them, your insurance company is responsible for employing an engineer to asses the problem.
Therefore, if you come across more damage to your home while the sinkhole is being repaired or before the engineer signs off on it, you need to address this directly with the engineering firm. If you can provide photographic evidence that the damage occurred after the last assessment of your home, you may be able to help your case. However, the engineer’s opinion is the “end all, be all” of your sinkhole claim.
Is my insurance company responsible for failed repairs?
Since 2005, the Florida Legislature has been pushing for homeowners to take money received in sinkhole insurance settlements and use them to repair their homes, as opposed to just taking the cash. Due to this shift in responsibility towards insurance companies to get the job done, rather than have homeowners pay for it themselves, insurance companies are now potentially responsible for failed attempts to stop sinkhole damage.
The amount of responsibility for your insurance company can vary on a case-by-case basis. If you have questions regarding what you can do about your failed sinkhole remediation, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.