Does your insurance policy cover sinkholes?

SINKHOLES. A somewhat frightening word for many Floridians. Over the years, Florida has experienced fires, hurricanes, and NOW – sinkholes. Initially the West coast of Florida and Central Florida were the most predominately affected areas in the state; however, the effect of sinkholes has become a growing issue spanning the entire state of Florida.  Sinkholes are common where limestone, carbonate rock, salt beds or rocks naturally dissolved by ground water, exist below the land surface. Most people believe any soil problem resulting in a loss of soil is a sinkhole, when in fact there  a multitude of common causes of foundations failure, the most common of which are: activity of shrink-swell clay, buried debris, vegetation, settlement due to foundation pressure, organic and other deleterious materials, and change in groundwater levels. Common signs of sinkholes include the following: cracks in interior joint areas, windows or doors, cracks in your exterior block or stucco, windows and doors become harder to close properly, depressions in your yard, other yards near you or the street, deep cracks and separation of paved concrete walks and drives, circular patches of wilting plants, sediment in your water, neighbors with confirmed sinkhole activity, observation of an actual cavity beginning to open.

 

Many Florida homeowners dropped sinkhole coverage from their insurance policy when state legislation removed mandatory coverage in 2008. It is important to note, that a sinkhole differs from “catastrophic ground cover collapse.” In order for a claim to be covered as a “sinkhole loss,” there must be “actual physical damage to the property covered arising out of or caused by sudden settlement or collapse of the earth supporting such property only when such settlements or collapse results from subterranean voids created by the action of water on a limestone or similar rock formation.” More simply stated, not all direct collapses from settlement problems fall within sinkhole coverage. It is advised that you discuss your policy with your insurance agent to confirm that “sinkhole” coverage is included on your current policy.

 

If you are to experience the devastation of such an occurrence, it is advised that you first mark and secure the area to keep children and pets away. If the hole is directly impacting a building it is best to stay outside of the structure. After securing the area and insuring your safety, immediately contact your insurance agent to report the occurrence. 

Safe drivers save money by using Progressive

Alayna DeSalvo, Office Administrator at McGriff-Williams Insurance, has been participating in the Progressive Snapshot Discount program since April. Snapshot is a six month usage-based insurance discount rating program, which allows customers to potentially save money based on a variety of driving variables. Personal Insurance Advisor, Bryan Williams, attended a training course to authorize McGriff-Williams’ involvement in the program.    

 What does the Progressive Snapshot device record?

1)      Number of miles driven

2)      Number of ‘hard brakes’*

3)      Times of day you drove

* Hard brakes are defined as the ‘total number of times a decrease in speed of 7 mph per second or greater occurred.”      

 How can I save?  

1)      Driving fewer miles

2)      Avoid driving conditions that may cause you to brake hard or frequently, such as stop-and-go traffic

3)      Avoid driving between the hours of midnight and 4:00am    

 How do I participate in the program?  

Progressive Insurance customers, new or renewal, can enroll in the program by registering either online, over the phone, or through your Progressive agent.    

 What does it cost to participate in the program?  

It is FREE to participate in the program! The only way you could possibly incur a fee is if you do not return the device, which is a $50 fee. To avoid this charge, the device must be returned upon opting out of the program or at the completion of the program.    

 How much can I save?  

You could save up to 30% off of each participating vehicle’s premium!    

 If I choose to enroll, what happens next?  

After enrolling, you will receive a Snapshot device in the mail. Simply plug the device in to your car by following the instructions that come with it.  

To view your driving habits report generated from Snapshot, you can log in at www.progressive.com, using your Progressive username and password.  

After 30 days of driving with the Snapshot device installed in your car, Progressive will generate an initial discount percentage based on your driving habits.

After continuing to drive with the device for an additional 5 months, Progressive will generate your finalized discount percentage rate, which will apply to all future renewals.  Your discount percentage rate can only improve from your initial discount percentage.    

 FEEDBACK FROM A SNAPSHOT USER: Alayna DeSalvo     

After participating in the Progressive Snapshot program for 30 days, Alayna received a 24% initial discount on her premium. Currently, Alayna’s discount is projected to increase to 27%. Alayna admits that her device experienced a few minor malfunctions; however, when she expressed her concern to Progressive they were extremely helpful and quickly provided her with a replacement device. Overall, Alayna has had a great experience with the Progressive Snapshot program, and has even said, ‘If I was not already a Progressive customer, I would switch to Progressive just for the program.”    

To learn more about the Progressive Snapshot program visit, http://www.progressive.com/auto/snapshot-how-it-works.aspx