Over the past year or so, we have been getting an increasing number of calls from property owners who continue to experience sinkhole damage to their property – even after their property has been repaired by the insurance company! The factual circumstances are almost always the same – the insurance company mandates that the insured repair the sinkhole damage pursuant to the recommendations of the insurance company’s experts and then, after these supposed repairs are completed, the property continues to incur new damage. Although sometimes this new damage appears immediately after the insurance company’s repairs are completed, many times the damage appears years later. In almost every scenario, after the insured contacts the insurance company regarding this damage, the insurance company’s expert issues a quick report saying that the damage – if the expert even acknowledges the damage – is not from sinkhole activity and the claim is then summarily denied.
Many property owners do not realize that if the insurance company repairs the property pursuant to the insurance company’s recommended repair method, the insurance company must stand behind that repair method and must continue to repair the property – regardless of the cost – until the property is fully remediated. The law on this process is clear – if the insurance company mandates that a property owner perform the insurance company’s sinkhole repairs to the property, the insurance company must continue to pay the cost of the repairs until the property is fully remediated or, if the insurance company gives up on repairing the home after beginning the process, the insurance company must issue a check for policy limits to the property owner without deduction for monies already spent towards the repair!
Always know that you have rights against your insurance company and that you do not have to accept whatever remedy the insurance company may try to force upon you. Clearly, it is important to have your claim reviewed by an experienced insurance attorney who can explain your options and, if necessary, zealously pursue your claim against the insurance company.