Recent legislative action is bad news for Pasco and Hernando Counties
In most of the posts on this blog, I try and remain as neutral as I can, given the fact that people are on the site to gain well-rounded information, not just my perspective on things associated with sinkhole activity.
However, I must break from this for this particular post. Bill 742, signed into law by Florida Governor Crist, is playing a game of hide and seek with the citizens of Pasco and Hernando counties with sinkhole insurance coverage.
A recent history of sinkhole legislature
In 2007, the Florida legislature decided to allow insurance companies to offer an alternative to sinkhole insurance coverage. Instead of having sinkhole coverage, you can, if you wish, purchase “catastrophic ground cover collapse coverage”.
This alternative was designed to offer coverage for sinkhole activity, but only the damage of an immediate magnitude to cause the home to be condemned.
The false premise of the 2007 alternative, though, was the reality that large, open cavern sinkholes occur in less than one percent of the actual sinkholes. Because of this, most homeowners in areas with the most sinkhole claims (e.g. Hernando, Pasco, Marion, and Pinellas counties) elected to keep their coverage “as is” and reject the alternative.
What is Bill 742
Because so few people accepted it, Bill 742 pops its head again. Among other things, Bill 742 deletes “standard” sinkhole insurance coverage and inserts the alternate, catastrophic coverage. Then, if homeowners want to add sinkhole coverage back into their policy, they must notify their agent within 90 days of the renewal period.
Once the sinkhole coverage is gone, you cannot recover it. In essence, the Florida Legislature is trying to “catch homeowners asleep” after they rejected the new alternative. Frankly, this is pathetic.
Taking out important, standard sinkhole coverage, with the hope that people won’t notice, is no way to protect the interests of the people of Florida. Senator Fasono and Governor Crist, shame on you.
Make sure you understand your insurance policy. It’s incredibly important that you have standard sinkhole coverage – otherwise, you may find yourself in a sticky situation.
If you’re unsure, contact your insurance carrier directly and discuss your concerns.