FOX 4 News
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FORT MYERS, Fla. - We took your questions to Lynne McChristian, who is with the insurance information institute.
She says although situations like what happened recently near tampa are rare, people need to know that your homeowner's insurance does not cover sinkholes unless it's determined that your home is not liveable.
"it's not whether you determine that a house in uninhabitable, it has to be determined that's it's condemned by the proper city or county officials"
So what if your home has cracks down the walls like the Faith Community Church in Naples but it's not deemed uninhabitable? Well, you have to buy a separate sinkhole insurance rider.
"they will come out and do an inspection to make sure your property has no damage but it's a visual inspection. it's not boring into the ground and testing."
Mcchristian says sinkholes are very rare.
"just because there's some cracks in your walls, it does not mean that it's a sinkhole. it could be the land settling. it could also mean that there were some defects when the property was constructed in the first place."
In 20-11 a new law was passed in Florida because people were abusing the system. in pasco and hernando counties alone, and in one year alone- 2009, insurance companies paid out over $84,000,000 in sinkhole claims but insurance companies collected under $20,000,000 in premiums for sinkhole coverage.
"a lot of the claims were coming through for cosmetic damage and people were allowed under the former law to file a claim for hairline fractures, things that didn't look nice but didn't affect the building. and then they weren't required to use their insurance money to make repairs to the building. so, the buildings did not get repaired and people just took the money and used it for other purposes instead of it's intended purpose."