Holiday, Pasco County, Florida Possible Sinkhole Insurance: Possible sinkhole eats driveway -- would you be covered?

6:31 PM, Jan 27, 2014   |    comments
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Video: Possible sinkhole eats driveway: Would you be covered?

A possible sinkhole has taken half of this driveway along Calais Drive in Holiday.

 

Holiday, Florida -- We're learning more about what comes next for a woman whose driveway disappeared into a hole over the weekend.

Workers have been out to check on the possible sinkhole several times Monday. It's in Holiday, just east of where U.S. 19 and Alternate 19 come together.

Friends of the woman who lives there tell 10 News she has no homeowners insurance. Fixing this could cost her a fortune.

The only good news she's getting is that the hole has not grown since she first spotted it on Sunday morning.

Firefighters circled it in orange paint when it was around 20 feet across. Because the paint is all still there, they can tell it's not getting worse.

And there's a lesson here that everyone who lives in a home should hear. This woman has no insurance, but even if you do -- this may not be covered.

County workers who come to the home on Calais Drive can't do much but watch. Since the 15-foot-deep hole is all on one piece of property, they say -- by law -- it's entirely the owner's problem.

Friends say the woman who lives here is in her 70's, and has no homeowners insurance. Zero.

So the cost to survey this hole, find out what caused it, stabilize it, and fill it in, is entirely up to her.

Let's say this happens to you. If you do have insurance, could you still be stuck with the bill like her?

Believe it or not, yes.

Your regular insurance almost certainly does cover something called "Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse."

But that only pays if all of these things apply:

- You can clearly see the hole with the naked eye.
- The damage is sudden, not gradual.
- The building itself is damaged.
- You can't live in the house anymore.

Since the house in Holiday looks to be fine, Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse wouldn't work in this case.

What about extra sinkhole coverage?

It is available. In most cases, you can pay to add it on. It's already included in renters', condo, and mobile home policies.

But the extra sinkhole coverage still has to have damage to the main building and its foundation before it kicks in.

So -- unless an insurance company made an exception -- even extra sinkhole coverage would have left this woman with her car trapped in her garage, and a crater feet from her front door.

The woman is staying with friends. Her neighbors are back home, but they're still nervous.

Since it's up to her to hire an inspection company to come out and work on the issue, it may be a while before we know what caused the hole and what it will take to fix it.

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Grayson Kamm, 10 News

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