Florida is the sinkhole capital of the nation. Some regions of the state report more sinkhole activity than others, but we all share a common foundation, primarily limestone or dolomite, which dissolves easily in rainwater. That process creates acidic moisture resulting in a terrain known as “karst,” a porous, cavity-ridden underground layer that is less supportive and can give way when its ceiling (the ground) is overburdened.
While rainfall on limestone is a natural occurrence, it’s the consequences of man-made development that aggravate the sinkhole situation in Florida. Land-use practices such as excavating, creating landfills, groundwater pumping, or blasting from construction are common human-generated causes of sinkholes.
If you’re buying or selling a home, Florida Statute requires the seller to disclose to the buyer if a sinkhole claim was made against the property, whether the claim was paid by the insurer, and whether the funds paid were used to repair the insured damage from the sinkhole.
Sinkholes can happen anytime but occur more frequently between early spring and late summer. Heavier rain in the spring, along with agricultural needs to pump groundwater in a cold snap, and increased construction development are factors that make that time of the year Sinkhole Season.
Does My Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Sinkholes?
Every insurer must provide coverage for “catastrophic ground cover collapse” if the home is rendered uninhabitable by the occurrence. However, if your home is still livable, the damages from a sinkhole event will only be covered if you have an additional policy for sinkhole coverage.
According to the United States Geological Survey, “Sinkhole damages over the last 15 years cost on average at least $300 million per year. Since there is no national tracking of sinkhole damage costs, this estimate is probably much lower than the actual cost.”
To be sure you are covered for all of life’s ups and downs, contact your Pallant Insurance agent.