Paying for extra sinkhole testing

When an insurance company denies a sinkhole claim, the insured has the right to request a test for sinkhole activity when the insurance company may not have completed one themselves. Is this a smart move?

Why your claim is denied

While every situation is different and needs to be looked at uniquely, I generally recommend people avoid this option. This is a lose-lose for you, the homeowner. Here’s why.

Your insurance company is required to conduct a structural evaluation to determine whether structural damage is present at your home first. If they do not find what they believe to be structural damage then they can deny your claim without ever testing for sinkhole activity at all.

Therefore, your insurance company may make a negative decision without putting a real effort forward to understand the situation.

What you have to lose

Florida law does state that the homeowner has the option of requesting that the testing for sinkhole activity be performed. While this may seem like good news to you, the bad news is that you will have to $2,500 out of pocket. Except there’s even more bad news.

Remember, your claim was already denied. Even if they find sinkhole problems below the ground they have still already determined that the damage is not severe enough to qualify for coverage.

Also, despite the fact that you’re paying for the inspection, your insurance company will still send out the same engineers to inspect your home; yup, the same ones that have already assessed that your home does not have enough damage.

Why this is a bad idea

More often than not, I’d suggest you do anything but this. You already know your insurance company doesn’t think you have an issue to be worried about, so there’s no reason to believe they’d change their mind and decide to pay out.

Unfortunately, sinkhole activity is a matter of opinion, and your insurance company is in the business to make money. If they can validate not paying out, they’ll stick to their guns.

If you pursue this option, you’re more likely to waste $2,500 for them to tell you what they’ve already told you, and continue to deny your insurance claim.

When to fight your denied claim

If you don’t want a sinkhole or don’t want to fight the insurance company, walk away. Don’t waste your money. If you think you have a real issue and want to challenge their denial of your claim, then hire a lawyer.

A lawyer can help from the cost of the testing and have the testing performed by an engineer not working for the insurance company. The value a lawyer has by simply having the financial resources and knowing the right people is often equal to their legal skills in a courtroom can be.

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