I just discovered that my sinkhole coverage is going to lapse unless I contact my agent and put it back in. I live in Hernando County and understand they are automatically removing sinkhole coverage unless you ask for it. What should I do?

If you want sinkhole coverage, you should immediately contact your agent, in writing, and tell them to put it back into your policy. Under a law that went into effect in January, all people in problems and have it replaced with catastrophic coverage. Suffice to say, the catastrophic coverage provide coverage only if your home literally, and I mean literally, falls into a hole. The reason this is unfair is that the vast majority of sinkhole claims do not involve damage of this nature. Instead, the home experiences subsidence, of varying degrees, but never “falls” into the hole.

The problem is that if people permit a lapse in their sinkhole coverage, it is nearly impossible to get it back later. In fact, most insurance companies will require you to retain the services of an engineering firm (at your cost, at about $8,000), to exclude sinkhole activity before they will sell you the coverage back. But, think about it: what if you actually went through the cost of having an engineering firm do this, only to find out you DID have sinkhole problems? Now, not only can you not get insurance coverage, your house would be worth almost nothing unless you expend your own money to fix it.

Given the overall savings in premium, and I recognize it may be significant, I would recommend you retain your sinkhole coverage. Sure, it could save you hundreds, maybe even thousands in premiums over the years. But, losing the total value of your home over this is just too risky.

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