The challenges of sinkhole insurance

8:00 PM, Nov 15, 2013   |    comments
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Photo Gallery: Sinkhole opens up near Dunedin home
As of 5 p.m. Thursday, November 14, the sinkhole had grown to 90 feet in width and 56 feet deep.


Dunedin, Florida -- When it comes to the Dunedin Sinkhole that has now swallowed two homes and has evacuated even more families, people living in the neighborhood say they are shocked... but not surprised.

They say sinkholes in the area are quite common, and thankfully most homes are insured. But for those families who aren't, they could end up having to pay for it.

The two homes being demolished are going to be filed under "catastrophic ground collapse." Every homeowner has this on their insurance policy. It's when a sinkhole opens up and the house is swallowed up and is deemed unlivable. Insurance will take care of that. 

But for homes along the neighborhood that are just cracked, if they don't have sinkhole insurance on their policy they will have to pay.

Living just feet away from the massive sinkhole that's already swallowed two homes, Linda Davis and Margaret Whitelaw are hoping their property is safe.

"Unfortunately, we are watching houses get torn down and it's sad."

Fortunately, the home does have sinkhole insurance in case something were to happen.

"This hasn't been the first one."

Neighbors Kathy Shuart and Pat Simon ,who have been kicked out of their home until it's safe to go back in, aren't sure what is going to be covered.

"I don't know what we've got. We've got same policy since '71."

When it comes to sinkhole insurance it's something that's difficult to get.

"When we first had 100 people apply for it, only four people got approved," says Chris Coleman with Coleman Insurance Agency.

Chris Coleman with the Coleman Insurance agency says there are sinkholes everywhere in Florida.

"It's something you can't see. The limestone is kind of like an  hourglass and it reaches a point where it collapses."

Coleman says if you have stucco cracks, you can get your home tested for sinkhole activity... but it will cost you.

"To get sonar tested it costs about 7 to $10,000."

For Davis and Whitelaw, although they are insured they still feel bad for the neighbors who aren't.

"It's sad. It's very sad."

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