Pending sinkhole claim vs. hurricane
Question: Hurricane season is just weeks away, and my wife and I are in the middle of a sinkhole claim with our insurance company. Theoretically, what would happen to our claim if a storm were to hit while the claim is pending?
If a hurricane hits
This was a major problem for insureds during the 2004 storm season in Florida. Consider not just the possibility of multiple causes, as you have described, but also the possibility of multiple hurricanes.
In general terms, your home is insured for sinkhole damage, which is why you have the claim pending. Additionally, it is insured for hurricane damage as well. These causes are subject to different deductibles, and many other conditions under your insurance policy.
The fact is, even if your home were to suffer two different perils (here, sinkhole and storm), you are entitled to open up two different claims at the same time. In some situations, you might even be entitled to two separate payments for the limits of your policy. These are general concepts, but here are some guiding principles.
What to know about combining insurance claims
First, you cannot get paid twice for the same damage. If you have cracks in your stucco due to sinkhole settlement, you can get paid for it. You cannot also submit this same damage for payment under the hurricane claim.
However, sinkhole repairs are unique and could be paid for subsurface repairs under a different set of coverage limits. Suffice to say, these claims are complicated, but do happen regularly.
Take preventative measures
I would urge you to document all of the damage to your home and to ask for a copy of any cosmetic estimates prepared to date by your insurance company. Keep these in a safe place, away from the home. Also, consider reading our tips on filing a sinkhole claim.