Tag Archives: sinkhole engineering firms

Property Insurance Cancelled vs. Non-Renewal Part 1

What is the difference between having my insurance policy “cancelled” versus “non-renewed” and, does either impact my future ability to get insured?

These are issues that all insureds in Florida should be paying close attention to so, I am dedicating the next two posts to this issue.

During the past 3 years, several large, multistate insurance companies have left Florida entirely, or have reduced their total number of insureds. In so doing, they have both cancelled and non-renewed hundreds of thousands of homes. A non-renewal is a decision by the insurance company to no longer insure your home, and occurs at the end of the insurance policy.

Most, if not all, homeowners’ policies in Florida are annual, so you would receive a notice months prior with a statement as to the reason why the policy will not be renewed. For most reasons, getting non-renewed is a part of insurance in Florida, and should have no direct impact on your ability to get new coverage. Although, the reason the insurance policy is not being renewed may be a reason why another similar carrier may not write you. But, the act of being non-renewed is not relevant.

When most people are non-renewed, they often accept whatever insurance company is offered as a substitute or will often jump to Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. While this may be one of the only options, you must remember that Citizens policies may be limited in the coverage they provide, such as future limits on sinkhole insurance coverage.

Additionally, because Citizens is owned by the State of Florida, you cannot sue for extra-contractual damages, otherwise known as “bad faith” insurance practices. Suffice to say, when you receive a notice of cancellation, you should consider it an invitation to examine your homeowners’ insurance and look at all options.

Read our tips on filing a sinkhole claim.

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

Sinkhole Testing On Condos and Apartment Buildings

Sinkhole testing for larger buildings

Question: I am on a condo Board of Directors for our condo, where we had a sinkhole investigation completed. In reviewing the report from the engineering company, it seems to me that they only studied one side of the building.

Are there special rules for larger, multi-unit buildings like apartments or condominiums when it comes to sinkhole investigations?

Sinkhole testing changes depending on building size

Sinkhole investigations very much relate to the size and complexity of the buildings. The larger the building or lot, the more sinkhole testing is required. If you have a condominium complex where a sinkhole investigation is being completed, the investigation should relate in some way to the size of the building.

Ordinarily, most engineering firms will conduct 3 standard penetration tests on a standard home site. Using this as a baseline, while not an exact comparison, I would expect a larger condo property to have considerably more borings on the property.

How many borings should you expect?

We find that some sinkhole engineering firms will do only a limited number of borings, even if the property itself is larger. If a condo or apartment building is 3 times the size of an average lot, you would expect 3 times as many borings.

However, engineering firms may be limited to the amount of testing due to budgetary restrictions. When we get questions about these issues, we will usually ask an independent engineering firm to review the report, not always to challenge the conclusions, but simply to assure that the investigation meets the minimum requirements for larger properties.

Ultimately, if you believe the testing failed to meet your expectations, either as a condo association owner or a member of a board of directors, your feelings are probably warranted. It is important as a member of a board that you act in the best interests of your members, and consider a second opinion to resolve your concerns.