Back in the good old days of yore (which, at this point, was approximately 4 years ago), whenever an insurance company provided you with a policy of homeowner’s insurance, it automatically included coverage for any damage caused by sinkhole activity. In 2007, as part of the insurance industry’s never ending attempt to limit coverage to its clients, insurance company lobbyists convinced the legislators in Tallahassee to change this law and to make sinkhole coverage “optional”.
In fact, after that initial revision to the law, if you lived in Pasco or Hernando counties specifically, sinkhole coverage was automatically excluded from your insurance policy, and if you wanted this coverage, you had to specifically request such coverage and pay an initial premium for it. For the rest of the state, sinkhole coverage was still included in your policy, but you could opt out of such coverage – if you were feeling lucky!
As part of the insurance industry’s “bait and switch”, the Legislature allowed insurance companies to completely remove full sinkhole coverage from their policies in Florida and to provide Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse Coverage instead. In order to qualify for coverage under this new provision, property owners must meet a four prong test – the last of which states that coverage will only be allowed if the property is both “Condemned” and ordered “Vacated” by a “governmental entity”. What?
Needless to say, it is vitally important to thoroughly review your policy of insurance. Should you find that the coverage provided by your policy provides insufficient protection, you should give a lot of thought to obtaining more complete coverage – preferably long before the need to place a claim arises!