In the past, Florida property owners could purchase a separate insurance policy to protect themselves from losses caused by sinkholes, a loss commonly excluded from most homeowner’s insurance policies, for a reasonable price. In recent years, reforms to sinkhole insurance claims have resulted in sinkhole insurance getting incredibly expensive. And purchasing a policy does not guarantee that your claim will be paid, even if it is supported by the evidence.
As a result of these changes, many homeowners are left with homes that are drastically reduced in value, either because they cannot afford sinkhole insurance, because their insurer refuses to insure the house against sinkholes even though they could afford a sinkhole policy, or because they have sinkhole insurance and their insurer has denied their claims. These homeowners are essentially trapped in their homes, because no one wants to purchase properties in areas that are known as being “hot spots” for sinkholes.
The reason that many insurers are avoiding paying claims on sinkhole policies that they have issued is that the standards for structural damage exclude many types of damage that fall short of imminent collapse. Also, the geologists and engineers who are examining properties for which sinkhole claims have been filed are professionals who are selected by the insurance companies. In sinkhole cases, when a claim is denied, a homeowner may have a difficult time affording to fight the denial, because it is expensive to hire geologists and engineers to assess the damage.
Homeowners who do have sinkhole policies may find themselves shocked by the high out of pocket costs for sinkhole repairs. Between the fact that deductibles for sinkhole coverage can be as high as ten percent and the fact that repairing sinkholes often costs tens of thousands of dollars, they may not even be able to afford the portion of repair costs that is required by their deductible.
You can reach Miami Insurance Claims Lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email Attorney Gonzalez-Sirgo directly at [email protected].