Sinkhole Insurance

Residents in a Tampa area neighborhood where a sinkhole swallowed a man and destroyed a house are worried. A second sinkhole has been discovered nearby. The tragedy has homeowners concerned about who will pay if their house is damaged.

The sinkhole that swallowed a Florida man last Thursday in his bedroom is revealed after a construction crew destroyed the house around it on March 3, 2013. / WTSP-TV

Sinkhole insurance, the name can be misleading because you don’t need it if your house is swallowed up by a sinkhole.

Residents in a Tampa area neighborhood are getting a solemn course in sinkhole coverage. Last Thursday a hole opened up under a home and killed one man.

“I tried my hardest to get you out bro. I think I’m the only one who really tried to get you out,” said Jeremy Bush.

Now a second sinkhole has been discovered nearby and residents are worried about their homes.

What homeowners need to know right now is, if they have a policy and their house is swallowed up they’re covered under what is known as catastrophic ground collapse coverage. It used to pay for smaller damages caused by sinkholes but here at the state capitol in 2011, lawmakers changed that.

State Representative Mike Fasano was one of the biggest opponents of the changes.

“If you have property insurance then you are going to be covered because that is a catastrophic ground cover collapse. However many of those homeowners throughout the Tampa Bay area no longer have property insurance because they can’t afford it,” said Fasano.

Now if homeowners want coverage for minor damage caused by sinkholes they need to purchase extra coverage, coverage that’s getting more and more expensive.

“Many of those who want sinkhole coverage now, with the 10% deductible, premiums going up 30 to 40% if you want sinkhole coverage, homeowners just can’t afford that there’s no way our senior citizens, our working families can afford to come up with that kind of money,” said Fasano.

Florida has more sinkholes than any other state in the nation.

Which means insurance issues surrounding the coverage will remain a hot topic in Tallahassee for years to come, and the extra sinkhole coverage fluctuates depending on where you live.

There was an outcry last year when Citizen explored raising sinkhole insurance rates more than 100% in some areas.

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