Well, everyone, everywhere has been discussing what will happen to sinkhole insurance in Florida

The debate has raged on for years now and uncertainty has swirled over all our heads

Major changes were made in 2005 and minor tweaks have been added every year since

This year a major overhaul has been proposed that could mean the beginning of the end for homeowner’s ability to insure their homes for sinkhole damage

Bill 408 spearheaded was by Senator Garrett Richter and slashes the sinkhole law as we know it

Let’s examine some of the crucial changes

First, it is interesting that the insurance carriers want to add language to the statutes that addresses what the legislatures intent was when they made massive changes to the law in 2005

Essentially stating that six years ago we made the changes to avoid costly litigation and avoid lawsuits

This is simply a set up for the argument we all know is coming which is that any changes made to this years statutes should be retroactively applied to any claims filed since 2005

We can all agree that is an incredible violation of rights and actually attempts to change the contractual obligations that insurance company had under the policy but doesn’t add any rights for the homeowners

Second, and probably most important, the proposed bill changes one word very important word: “Shall”

Shall is proposed to be changed to “may”

What am I talking about you may ask? Thus bill would make is discretionary for the insurance companies whether they would offer coverage for sinkhole damage any more

Essentially, this would eliminate almost all sinkhole coverage in Florida from here on

The third big change includes a proposed definition for the term “structural damage” which we all expected to be a hot topic

In short, the definition would heighten the standard required before a claim for sinkhole damages is payable

Homeowners would no longer be provided coverage for sinkhole damage, even if sinkhole activity was found at the property, unless the home exhibited this structural damage threshold

Thus would likely result in close to nine out of ten sinkhole claims being denied from this day forward

Other changes include to the neutral evaluation program

The proposed changes would clearly favor the insurance companies and allows the insurance companies and the “neutral” evaluators more freedom

This includes giving the evaluators the ability to consult with other experts on the neutral evaluators list before arriving at their decision

This means that people that have never been to your house may determine your fate

It also means that the insurance company can continue to stack up a team of experts against homeowners under the disguise of being a “neutral evaluator”

Homeowners should also be aware of one other proposed change that would require homeowners to essentially begin the repairs to their house within ninety days of the report from the insurance company expert being issued

No pressure or anything! How about putting a gun to a homeowners head and telling them they have five minutes to make some other important decision in their life

It is simply another attempt to rush claims along and in the process of doing so, they hope to pressure homeowners into making a quick decision which ultimately saves them money

This Bill is much more in depth than discussed here so we invite, in fact encourage, homeowners to read it for themselves and don’t be afraid to contact your local representatives to express your feelings about the proposed changes

More to come as this Bill floats through Tallahassee

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