Tag Archives: Sinkhole Claims

Why You Could Lose Sinkhole Insurance Coverage

Why you could lose sinkhole insurance coverage

Once you go through the time and effort of educating yourself on sinkhole insurance and can be confident that you’ll be covered in the case that a sinkhole opens up beneath your home, there are situations in which your sinkhole insurance coverage is canceled, and for reasons you might not expect. For example, did you know your insurance may be canceled if you’ve filed a claim and it’s getting expensive?

When losing sinkhole insurance coverage is legal

The most obvious and common reason that insured lose their sinkhole insurance coverage is in the event that they fail to pay their premium on time. Check your policy: if you take too long to pay for your homeowner’s insurance, you could lose it!

In this case, if you happen to get a sinkhole, your insurance company may provide you with lesser coverage: catastrophic coverage. However, do not get your hopes up, as catastrophic coverage only kicks in when a sinkhole makes your home unhabitable. That being said, paying your premium could be the only thing keeping your home and your family from homelessness, debt, etc.!

When it’s not legal

A sinkhole claim can prove to be a long, arduous process, sometimes requiring a variety of separate stages like subsurface investigation, the initial cosmetic estimates, the subsurface remediation, more cosmetic estimates, and an evaluation of other potential repair methods.

Of course, to an insurance company, a  longer, more complex claim means more money that they have to cover. We’ve seen an unfortunate trend where insurance companies will flag these claims, and canceling or non-renewing their insureds’ policies while they’re in the midst of processing a claim. Even the most dependable, loyal insureds have seen their sinkhole insurance coverage stop in the middle of an already difficult situation.

Florida Statutes say that this may not be legal and we are representing more and more homeowners who want to take action. If your homeowner’s insurance has been canceled or non-renewed because of a sinkhole claim you filed, feel free to contact our office to discuss if you have a claim against your carrier.

When Should You Hire a Sinkhole Attorney?

When to hire a sinkhole attorney

Nobody wants to be in the position where they need an attorney, especially when they’re already dealing with something like a sinkhole. Unfortunately, however, an experienced sinkhole attorney is necessary to fight your insurance company for what they owe you. So when should you hire a sinkhole attorney?

My claim was denied – will a sinkhole attorney help?

Of course, the answer to this question varies on a case-by-case basis, and to give you a fair answer in your particular situation, we will need to have a consultation. For the sake of education, however, let’s say your insurance company has said that your home needs underpinning, but their expert denied that it was sinkhole related, and your claim is therefore denied. What would we do?

Without knowing further details, it is possible in particular, rare circumstances that a home would need to be pinned even though sinkhole activity has not been detected. These instances typically involve a finding of extremely shallow limestone or clay affecting the property. Without getting too technical, grout, which is the normal procedure for re-mediating a sinkhole, does not play well with clay and typically it won’t be effective.

If you’re unsure, ask a sinkhole attorney

As sinkhole attorneys, we often see times where the expert for the insurance company will admit that a home has suffered significant settlement and admits that it requires a very expensive and invasive underpinning procedure but as aforementioned, denies the sinkhole claim.  When this occurs, it’s highly suggested that you consult with a sinkhole attorney to make sure your insurance policy is being respected and you are getting the coverage you deserve.

When you contact a sinkhole attorney with your claim, you not only get the attention of a legal professional who is experienced in almost any kind of sinkhole situation, but you can also opt for a second professional opinion on the state of your sinkhole and the repairs that are required, as opposed to putting the safety of you, your home, and your family in the hands of a single opinion from your insurance company. Not only are we concerned about your safety, but also the dependability of your insurance to cover these costs for you before you begin the repairs at your own expense.

How to Protect Yourself in a Sinkhole Property Damage Claim

I”?m getting a lot of runaround with my sinkhole claim. Who bears ultimate responsibility for the repair strategy for sinkhole damage, the insurance company or the engineering firm?

The issue of whether a sinkhole property should be fixed with “grout only” versus the use of underpinning, supplemental chemical grouting, or geotechnical based fix remains a major dispute between homeowners and their insurance company. Learn more about traditional cement grouting vs. chemical grouting options.

As a property insurance sinkhole lawyer, I find that most insurance companies try to focus the solution on the engineering firm they hire. When the issue of actually fixing the sinkhole property comes up, the insurance company is apt to place the responsibility of fixing a home with sinkhole damage on the engineering report provided, even when they may very well be aware of problems at the home that will be not resolved.

Challenge of Claims for Sinkhole Properties with Complicating Non-Sinkhole Issues

In Hernando and Pinellas counties, sinkholes are often discovered with other, serious subsurface problems such as clay, organic material, and poor consolidated soil. This becomes troublesome for a homeowner with a sinkhole or a suspected sinkhole because separating the actual cause of the damage when these conditions are present can be challenging.

When submitting a claim for a property damaged by a sinkhole “? especially when it”?s a property insurance claim in Hernando, Pinellas, Pasco, or Marion counties “? it is important to understand whether the engineering firm found other, non-sinkhole related conditions, which may not be resolved by a grout-only fix. Oftentimes, serving as sinkhole lawyers, we are able to get these other issues resolved, too, for limited or no cost to the homeowners.

If a sinkhole claim is denied because of these other conditions, it is often because a sinkhole condition is being masked but may still be there. For example, recently in a Hernando County sinkhole property claim, we were able to obtain a credible opinion of a local expert, who was able to convince the insurance company that while there were these other conditions, it was at least colorable to call the damage sinkhole related as well. In so doing, the claim was paid, and the client was protected.

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