Friday, July 18, 2014

Hot topic: Sinkholes in Trinity, Florida

I am asked the same question time and time again: What is the deal with the sinkholes in Trinity!? Am I covered !?

1. We are prone to sinkholes...
 Let's take a look at the map below from the Florida Geological Survey. Trinity is in a blue shaded area. The Florida Geological Survey says "...abruptly forming, collapse sinkholes are dominate..." for this blue shaded area. Insurance carriers look at this information when they decide where to offer insurance policies and what type of coverages they will include.

2. Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse is included in most policies in accordance with Florida law...

When we see the devastating, massive sinkholes on the news they are usually (not always) classified Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse. Most policies in Florida include Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse in their policy in accordance with Florida law. This differs from what might be called 'sinkhole' coverage.

Here's the 4 criteria that must ALL be met for a loss to be defined as a Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse:
  • Abrupt collapse of the ground cover
  • A depression clearly visible with the naked eye
  • Structural damage to the foundation AND
  • Structure being condemned by an authorized governmental agency

3. If you have 'sinkhole' insurance, it will be clearly marked on your insurance policy's declarations page along with the deductible.

'Sinkhole' insurance is different than Ground Cover Collapse and policy coverage is different for each carrier. In my experience, it is very challenging to get the seperate 'sinkhole' coverage in the Trinity area. Typically, homeowners are required to get a geological inspection through an approved vendor. The company then decides if they are willing to write the risk based on the inspection results.

If you have 'sinkhole' coverage as indicated on your declarations page, you will want to be cautious before cancelling this coverage. While it might be causing your premium to increase in price each year at renewal, it could be difficult to get this coverage added back onto your policy.

More info from the Florida Department of Financial Services:

Again, each policy and homeowner has unique circumstances. This article is meant for general informational purposes. To obtain insurance advice specific to your needs, please contact me at


Interested in a quote or want a second opinion on your current policy? I only need your address. Call me at (813) 406-2290 or email me at

Brianne Ruggeri Small Agent
Ruggeri Insurance Agency
Main Office (941) 966-5900
Cell (813) 406-2290