Tag Archives: Florida Home Values

Sinkhole Damage Diminishes Home Values

What can I do about the lost value of my sinkhole home?

Unfortunately, insurance policies and Florida law do not allow for recovery of loss of value to your property. This is an extraneous consequence of having a sinkhole claim that insurance contracts and insurance companies do not take into consideration.

This is a cold business with a cold approach. Insurance companies do not take human factors such as diminution of value of the home, inability to find insurance again or time missed from work to be present for the numerous inspections into account. These are things that you will not recover under the contract. These are things that we hope juries pick up on and take into account when determining the damages to a homeowner.

Repairing a sinkhole home does significantly increase the value of the home but, is unlikely to recoup 100%. The good news is that as sinkholes become a more integral and accepted risks of homeownership in Florida, buyers seem to be a little less bothered by the sinkhole stigma as in years past. Keep in mind that there may be some additional coverages or damages that can be payable for over charged premiums or the cost to move out in some circumstances, so there may be a light at the end of the tunnel for certain homeowners.

Read our tips on filling out a sinkhole claim.

Have a burning question you’d like to ask about sinkholes? Let us know.

Sinkhole Insurance Coverage and Florida Insurance Lobbyists

Potential changes to sinkhole insurance coverage

Our ears are abuzz with rumors the insurance industry is making plans for an active season of lobbying our legislature, either to limit or even extinguish sinkhole coverage for property owners.

I understand recently, as many as a dozen representatives from insurance companies met at a local restaurant to share ideas, fears, or just vent about the payments they must make under their insurance policies.

While I can understand, given the financial affairs of much smaller, poorly run insurance companies, I also see this as a threat to the interest of homeowners, mortgage companies, and others who are interested in protecting the value of Florida real estate.

What to prepare for

Homeowners should be prepared for a variety of new attempts to limit their insurance coverage, without making any reduction in premiums you pay.  While many insurance companies worked with the Florida legislature on bills to automatically delete sinkhole coverage in Hernando and Pasco counties, most of the people in those communities are now experiencing skyrocketing premiums, with increases as much as 30, 40, and 50 percent over the previous year.

If, as they claim, sinkhole losses were the problem, I query how they could justify both the loss of important coverage like sinkholes, while at the same time increasing premiums.  Note, the trick that was pulled 2 years ago was that they deleted sinkhole coverage in these two counties, and only added it back if you asked.

Furthermore, if you didn’t ask, they make you pay for a sinkhole investigation to determine if sinkhole activity is present.  They only did this because most people who actually read the alternative insurance coverage (catastrophic insurance coverage) figured out it provides no value anyway.

Gear up for a battle

Bottom line, is that homeowners are likely to have a battle next year over protecting their homes, and need to help the legislators who are looking out for their interests and not the insurance lobby.