Tag Archives: ocala homeowners

Ocala Homeowners Could Be Gambling with Sinkhole Coverage

Double-check your sinkhole insurance coverage

Attorney Morgan Barfield of the Barfield Law Group recently provided an in-depth interview to a local Ocala newspaper, the Star Banner.  You can read the full article in the insert below.

The article focused primarily on the changes in sinkhole laws the past several years and how sinkhole insurance coverage is no longer mandatory but now is an optional coverage. The article encourages homeowners to not take the less expensive road and run the risk of homeownership in Florida (especially Ocala) without sinkhole coverage.

“This is a good warning to not only Ocala residents but all homeowners in Florida who live in a high risk area for sinkhole damage”, stated attorney Morgan Barfield in a follow up interview.

Many Ocala residents are still surprised to hear about the large scale sinkhole activity in their area and are not aware that the laws have changed or their own policies have been modified to comply with the new laws.

Barfield Law Group encourages each homeowner to review their current sinkhole policy and make sure it is up to date with the coverage best to protect their home investment.

Be informed of what catastrophic coverage is

As we have written many times, it is of crucial importance that homeowners be up-to-date on the quality of their sinkhole coverage, lest their policy be reduced only to catastrophic coverage without their consent.

When this occurs, one’s insurance policy is only required to foot the bill if they judge your home as unhabitable; if this is not the case, you are left on your own to deal with the effects of your sinkhole, when it comes to both your safety of your family and the property value of your home.

The Need for More Available Sinkhole Insurance Carriers in Florida

No home is immune to dropped coverage

The St. Petersburg Times published a story about a family in St Pete who literally built a fortress made of steel and concrete that could withstand almost any hurricane that hit Florida.

Despite that, State Farm dropped their coverage. Of course, State Farm claims it was solely due to a random reduction in the number of policies that they lost coverage. We get the question a lot: what happened to State Farm? I thought they left?

What happened to State Farm?

Well, in short, State Farm did threaten to leave Florida; however, as having State Farm in the state is better than having one less option for homeowners to insure their homes, the state of Florida later allowed State Farm the ability to raise premiums. In return, State Farm was allowed to drop a significant amount of its policies.

This means that State Farm is sticking around in Florida for the time being, though with fewer policies and higher premiums. While this may sound bad, it is, in the end, better than not having policies for our homes at all!

What does this say about Florida insurance?

Overall, State Farm adds a great deal of value to the Florida insurance market and tends to handle their claims better than most of the companies providing sinkhole coverage.

At the same time, while it is good that State Farm is staying, the state of Florida must do more to draw other, quality insurance companies into the state.  Several of the companies Charlie Crist bragged he brought into the State have already gone out of business, and some have even been sanctioned by the state for a lack of proper funding.

Therefore, one can only help that the state government will continue to seek out insurance companies who are willing to provide Florida homeowners with decent home insurance.