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As insurance brokers, we know that it is extremely difficult to get sinkhole insurance in Polk County Florida.  But now we have a solution.  Please call us at 407-344-1228, or email us at [email protected] to get your FREE quote on sinkhole insurance in Polk County Florida.

Sinkholes are natural depressions on the earth’s surface, which are usually formed as a result of an earthquake. They are not only devastating but also pose a great danger to real estate and personal property. Sinkholes can be a great deal of worry for homeowners in Florida as this state experiences the most sinkholes.

Of course, natural disasters are uncontrollable, which is why an insurance policy is the best idea when it comes to ensuring safety from such unforeseeable disasters. Whether it’s life insurance, health insurance, or homeowners insurance – it is the best way to deal with accidents and ensure the safety of you and your family.

Sinkhole insurance is one such type of safety cover, often included in homeowners insurance, providing shelter to you against unpredicted ground collapse and damage due to a sinkhole.

Here are the important things you need to know about sinkhole insurance in Polk County, Florida.

Sinkhole vs. Ground Collapse

If you live in Florida or you are buying a home here, you must know how to differentiate a sinkhole from a catastrophic ground collapse. Since sinkholes are not so commonly seen, many people fail to understand the phenomenon. You don’t want to miss out on an insurance cover that could save your money and pay for your damages only because you didn’t know if you needed it, right?

So here is how you can differentiate a sinkhole from a ground collapse. There are three types of sinkholes:

  1. The ones that form slowly due to the changes and movements in the earth’s surface. They gradually develop into bigger, more dangerous sinkholes.
  2. The ones that are caused due to the fluctuations in the level and pressure of underground water. These are called collapse sinkholes.
  3. The clay shrinkage sinkholes are the ones that vary season to season and are influenced by the amount of annual rainfall.

Because of the changing climate and high amount of rainfall in Florida, sinkholes have become a common phenomenon. Most of the sinkholes seen in the state are caused by the collapse of earth sediments because of the unfilled gaps in the limestone. Other sinkholes are caused due to the underground water pressure changing with the erosion.

It has also been noted that 20% of the land in the US is susceptible to sinkholes. Florida is most affected by sinkholes, followed by Tennessee, Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, and Pennsylvania. Sinkholes, geographically, also have the tendency to open up and swallow everything on the ground. However, this type of damage is rare.

On the other hand, catastrophic ground collapses are differentiated from sinkholes due to the following features:

  1. An abrupt collapse in ground cover
  2. A depression in the ground cover, which is clearly visible to the naked eye
  3. Some sort of structural damage to a building or its foundation

Most homeowners insurance policies cover catastrophic ground collapses if they fall into one of the categories mentioned above, but not sinkholes. Sinkhole insurance in Polk County, Florida, is something that you may need.

Sinkhole Insurance in Polk County Florida

Florida is a sinkhole territory and any homeowner living there is bound to be concerned about their family and home. Here’s why you need sinkhole insurance in Polk County, Florida.

1.    Sinkholes Cause Damage

Sinkholes are dangerous, especially the big and deep ones. They cause damage to the ground and, in the worst case scenario, they can swallow everything on the ground inside them. This is scary to think about even though such cases are rare.

Shallow sinkholes also have the tendency to cause damage around them – to the ground and to your house structure. The damage can range from small cracks to sagging in the foundation of the house. Sinkholes can weaken the entire ground surface that can pose a danger to anything that lies on that ground. This is why it is suggested that if a sinkhole activity is detected, families should leave their homes and dwell elsewhere unless a thorough inspection has been carried out.

Living in a sinkhole prone zone comes with these difficulties, and while you can save your family by moving away, your house still needs a cover. You will need sinkhole insurance in Polk County, Florida, to cover the damages, no matter how small they are. This is a protection cover for your house.

2.    Sinkhole Insurance is Not Covered in Homeowners Insurance

Since sinkhole damages are severe and can cause significant damage to properties and ground, most insurance companies find a way out of it. If you think it is something that will be included in your home insurance policy, then you might want to recheck.

Many insurance companies write sinkhole insurance off their coverage, knowing the costly damages it may cause, especially in sinkhole prone areas. Also, if you have a home in a zone where there has been sinkhole activity; chances are that insurance companies will write off the coverage there.

Sometimes, sinkhole insurance is also covered under the catastrophic ground collapse, but that is not always the case. This is why you need sinkhole insurance in Polk County, Florida, separately. As a homeowner, it is your duty to have complete knowledge about what your insurance policies cover and how they can protect you.

3.    Natural Disasters are Unforeseeable

Natural disasters are scary and beyond human control. There is only so much we can do to control natural disasters, especially sinkholes. They are known to appear in the most unforeseeable and unexpected manner. Your sinkhole insurance in Polk County, Florida, will ensure that your property is safe against all such events. Even if you have a beach house or summerhouse in Polk County, a sinkhole insurance cover will keep it safe.

4.    It’s Worth the Cost

Yes, sinkhole insurance in Polk County, Florida, can be highly expensive, but it sure is worth it. It works like any other insurance cover, but the cost of premiums for total coverage is much higher than any other type of insurance— even health. This is because insurance companies know the kind of damages caused by sinkholes.

Sinkholes can lower property value, which is why we say it is worth the cost. If you are living in Polk County, Florida, a sinkhole insurance cover, no matter how costly, will act as a shield for your house. In 2010, the estimated cost of losses from sinkholes in Florida was up to $400 million.

5.    The Risk of Sinkholes is Rising

Sinkholes are naturally occurring depressions in the land that no one can do anything about. With the changing weather conditions, the chances of sinkholes occurring have increased. The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation reported that the losses caused due to sinkholes almost doubled from 2006 to 2009. The number of insurance claims in Florida alone also doubled from 2006 to 2010. These growing numbers show that the state of Florida is at a higher risk of sinkholes today than ever before.

If you are buying a house in Florida, always remember to check the statistics, history and probability of sinkhole activity taking place. The higher the risk, the higher the cost of insurance premiums will be.

Florida Sinkhole Insurance Law

Fortunately, if you qualify as a homeowner in Florida who lives in a sinkhole prone area, the state insurance companies provide insurance coverage for sinkhole damages, but at an additional cost. The changes made in the laws in 2007 state that only Florida and Tennessee will include coverage for damage caused by earth movement.

According to the new law, all insurance companies in Florida that provide homeowners insurance are bound to cover catastrophic ground collapses. However, broader coverage to cover sinkhole damages is an optional coverage for additional costs.

During the period 2007 to 2011, the state saw the insurance claims for sinkhole damages tripling, which is why a new legislature was passed that narrowed the scope of qualifying damage. The new legislature says:

  • A sinkhole loss must include structural damage to the foundation
  • The foundation must have exceeded the acceptable movements in the building code
  • The foundation movement must be unable to support the load it was originally designed for
  • The sinkhole-caused damage is claimed within two years
  • If a rebate is paid after filing the claim and the insurance claim is void, the rebate will have to be paid back

Sinkholes can be highly terrifying and thus, sinkhole insurance in Polk County, Florida, is a must for those who want to protect their properties from damage.

As insurance brokers, we know that it is extremely difficult to get sinkhole insurance in Polk County Florida.  But now we have a solution.  Please call us at 407-344-1228, or email us at [email protected] to get your FREE quote on sinkhole insurance in Polk County Florida.


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