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Lately there has been quite a spotlight on sinkholes in Florida. It seems to be in the news daily. For those of you that don’t know what a sink hole is let me explain it (as Wikipedia does): A sinkhole, also known as a sink, snake hole, swallow hole, swallet, doline, or cenote, is a natural depression or hole in the Earth’s surface caused by karst processes — for example, the chemical dissolution of carbonate rocks or suffosion processes in sandstone. Sinkholes may vary in size from 1 to 600 metres (3.3 to 2,000 ft) both in diameter and depth, and vary in form from soil-lined bowls to bedrock-edged chasms. Sinkholes may be formed gradually or suddenly, and are found worldwide. The different terms for sinkholes are often used interchangeably
So basically water dissolves whatever type of rock (usually limestone)is beneath the land, it creates a space and then eventually the land will collapse. Here in Florida in the Central part of the state, it is common for this to occur. Determining whether or not it will occur however, is not so easy.
I have pulled the information below from the Florida Department of Financial Services website for some information about sinkholes.
What Every Floridian Should Know
Florida has more sinkholes than any other state in the nation. Florida law requires authorized insurers to cover “catastrophic ground cover collapse,” but damage caused by a sinkhole may not be covered by your policy.
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 catastrophic ground cover collapse coverage. However, Sinkhole coverage is usually added as an addendum or rider to an existing policy, for an additional premium charge. It is recommended for you to attach this rider to the policy even if you live in a county not associated with sinkholes. Better to be safe than sorry.
Thinking about Purchasing a Home:
•Be sure that the house is insurable.(Call your agent!)
•Make sure that sinkhole coverage is included in your policy, or in a rider. Ask your agent for details about your coverage. Make sure you fully understand what is covered under your policy and what is not covered.
•Hire an experienced home inspector who can help you find signs of potential sinkhole activity.(Although not always foolproof.)
•Consider sinkhole testing. (Especially in questionable areas.)
Colliers flood zones changing
New flood maps mean changes in how much Collier County homeowners will pay for flood insurance – and will affect whether or not flood insurance is needed.
Bo Thorne has lived in his Naples home for more than 30 years.
He and the house have made it through several storms without flood insurance.
“We don’t live in a flood zone,” said Thorne.
But according to a new Collier County flood map, he and his neighbors do live in a flood zone.
“I didn’t know that,” said Olga Blanco.
For the first time in 7 years the flood map is changing and your property might be affected.
On the old map FEMA only took into consideration storm surge, but the new map takes rainfall into consideration.
Depending on where your property is the map changes could either cost you more or save you money because your insurance rates will change.
If you own property in a high risk zone and have a mortgage, you’ll have to buy flood insurance.
“Those that make these laws are probably unfamiliar with our neighborhood and have no idea what happens when it rains here,” said Thorne.
“No matter what you may think, is the house is going to flood or not, if it’s shown as being in flood hazard area and if you have federal dollars attached to your house, by law you are required to have flood insurance,” said Project Manager Robert Wiley.
Some areas have been downgraded to less risk and will pay less.
The county wants you to know where you stand and says if you need insurance get it before it’s too late.
“You can get it yourself or your lending company will purchase it for you,” said Wiley.
If you are in high hazard need to have flood insurance by May 16.
To check your flood zone give us a call at 239-597-1096 or send us an email at :
Ackerman Insurance Services Receives 2011 Best of Naples Award
U.S. Commerce Association’s Award Plaque Honors the Achievement
NEW YORK, NY, December 7, 2011 — Ackerman Insurance Services has been selected for the 2011 Best of Naples Award in the Insurance category by the U.S. Commerce Association (USCA).
The USCA “Best of Local Business” Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USCA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.
Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2011 USCA Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the USCA and data provided by third parties.
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