MONDAY, JUNE 13, 2016
Florida has more sinkholes than any other state in the nation. A recent change in Florida law requires authorized
insurers to cover “catastrophic ground cover collapse,” but damage caused by a sinkhole may not be covered by your
That’s because the law defines catastrophic ground cover collapse differently from sinkholes.
Florida law defines a sinkhole as “a land form created by subsidence of soil, sediment, or rock as underlying strata are
dissolved by groundwater. A sinkhole may form by collapse into subterranean voids created by dissolution (the
dissolving) of limestone or dolostone or by the subsidence as these strata are dissolved.”
“Catastrophic ground cover collapse” is defined as “geological activity that results in all of the following: 1). The abrupt
collapse of the ground cover; 2). A depression in the ground cover clearly visible to the naked eye; 3). Structural damage
to the building including the foundation; and 4). The insured structure being condemned and ordered to be vacated by
the government agency authorized by law to issue such an order for that structure.”
This means that if your home is damaged by sinkhole activity, but does not meet all four criteria for catastrophic ground
cover collapse – for instance, you may have foundation cracks, but the home is still livable – your insurance may not pay
for the damage if you do not have sinkhole coverage.
All insurance companies licensed to do business must offer sinkhole coverage, usually as an addendum or rider to an
existing policy, and for an additional premium charge. However, insurance companies may require an inspection before
extending coverage. If sinkhole activity is present on the property or within a certain distance of the property to be
insured, the insurance company may decline coverage.