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Pekar Law, P.A.
An experienced insurance claims lawyer serving the Tampa Bay area and across Florida

October 2014 Archives

Changes in Sinkhole Insurance Law Causing Havoc In Florida

Sinkholes are a common occurrence in Florida, especially in Hernando and Pasco Counties. So much in fact that the state had to change the law to limit liability for sinkhole claims.Between the years of 2007 and 2011, sinkhole insurance claims increased dramatically and in 2011, state owned and operated Citizens Property Insurance paid out ten times what they collected in premiums. In 2011, the legislature decided to reform the law so that insurers would not be liable for as many claims, to the benefit of insurance companies. The changes have significantly restricted sinkhole claims. The new law separates sinkhole insurance coverage from coverage for other perils under homeowners insurance. It has attempted to limit payouts to cases where there is near total destruction. It also provides that sinkhole insurance does not have to cover structures other than homes, allows insurers to choose the engineer that makes the decision regarding coverage and makes policyholders responsible for up to $2,500 if they challenge the engineer's decision. Also in 2011, an existing Florida statute relating to sinkhole insurance coverage was notably changed. The definition of the term structural damage was narrowed to include only certain types of harm to property. Therefore, if the damage to the property is outside of this restricted definition, a claim will be denied. The holding of a recent Federal case has affirmed that the statutory definitions are incorporated into the policy, even if not explicitly stated in the policy.

Florida Flood Insurance Market Gradually Changing

If you are a Florida resident, you are certainly familiar with flood insurance. This type of insurance protects your property against water damage, which in Florida, is a common occurrence. Whether you live in a low lying area on the east or west coast of the state or are concerned about inclement weather causing water damage, flood insurance is probably a good investment for you. Flood insurance can be obtained for your home, apartment or commercial property but can be quite expensive. Lucky for you, prices might be coming down.

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