What is sinkhole insurance?
Sinkhole insurance is a home insurance endorsement (i.e., an addition to your policy) that can help pay for structural damage sinkholes cause. This coverage applies to your home and your personal property.
Simply put (because this can get complicated fast), a sinkhole is a depression in the surface of the ground caused by the sudden collapse of the land’s surface layer. When a sinkhole occurs near a home, its effects can be devastating.
That’s why sinkhole insurance is so important in regions that experience sinkhole activity, like Florida. If the ground collapses and cracks your home’s foundation, it can cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair the damage. And that’s if your home isn’t completely destroyed.
Sinkhole insurance offers a way forward after the unexpected strikes. It can help pay for necessary, expensive repairs, such as:
- Stabilizing the land and the home
- Repairing the foundation
How sinkhole coverage works
If you have sinkhole coverage, it applies when your home sustains structural damage. Usually, that means your property shows signs of:
- Floor displacement
- Foundation displacement
- Buckling walls
- And more
A professional engineer who can identify sinkhole activity according to state testing standards must confirm the loss was caused by a sinkhole.
When you draw on this coverage, a sinkhole deductible applies. Usually, it’s 10 percent of your dwelling insurance limit.
What sinkhole insurance doesn’t cover
Depending on your insurance, some exclusions apply. For example:
- Some insurers don’t cover damages resulting from mine subsidence.
- Many insurers won’t cover properties with existing sinkhole damage, such as minor cracks in the foundation.
Before issuing a sinkhole insurance policy, some insurance companies require a professional engineer to visually inspect the home. The homeowner is often required to pay the inspection fee.
Is sinkhole insurance required?
You, the policyholder, are not legally obligated to add sinkhole insurance to your homeowners insurance policy. But certain states require home insurers to offer catastrophic ground collapse coverage as part of their homeowners insurance, while others require earth movement to be made available as an optional extra.
Even if you don’t buy sinkhole coverage with Kin, we still provide catastrophic ground collapse coverage as part of your standard homeowners insurance.
Sinkhole insurance vs. catastrophic ground coverage collapse
Catastrophic ground cover collapse applies to some geological activity, but its coverage is less robust than sinkhole insurance. In order for catastrophic ground coverage collapse insurance to apply, all of the following conditions must be met:
- There's an abrupt collapse of ground cover
- The depression in the ground cover is clearly visible
- The home and its foundation sustained structural damage
- A government entity condemned the structure and ordered it to be vacated
By contrast, sinkhole coverage does not require the government to condemn the structure (a very high threshold to meet) in order to cover a sinkhole loss.
Lastly, it can be difficult to find coverage if your home has unrepaired or remediated sinkhole damage. Kin currently does not offer coverage for these homes.
If you have questions about your home’s sinkhole protection, talk to a Kin representative today.