insurance

6 things home insurance won't cover

Sinkholes
Sinkholes © TFoxFoto/Shutterstock.com

Sinkholes can seem like something out of a horror movie. For example, there was the Florida man who was swallowed up in early 2013 when a sinkhole opened without warning beneath his bedroom.

Sinkholes are sudden gaps in the earth's surface that occur after groundwater gradually dissolves rock such as limestone and carries bits of it away, creating large pores and cracks in bedrock. Once large cavities form underground, the land above it may suddenly settle or collapse, creating the sinkhole.

In the United States, sinkholes tend to cause the most problems in Florida, Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Pennsylvania, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Most home insurance policies will not cover damage associated with "earth movement," such as an earthquake or sinkhole.

"Florida is the only state in which insurers are required to provide coverage for sinkhole damage," Worters says.

Florida insurers must include insurance for "catastrophic ground cover collapse" -- which refers to damage so severe, the home is uninhabitable -- as part of standard homeowners insurance.

Worters adds that in Tennessee, insurers must offer optional sinkhole coverage for an additional price.

"In every other state, earth movement is excluded from the insurance policy," she says.

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