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Does Home Insurance Cover Sinkholes?

What Is Sinkhole Insurance? 

Sinkhole insurance is insurance explicitly made to cover damage caused by a sinkhole. Because sinkholes are geologically unique, standard home insurance usually does not cover sinkhole-related incidents. 

Various factors can cause sinkholes, including natural processes and human activities, so most homeowner’s insurance policies exclude coverage. To fill this gap in your insurance coverage, consider purchasing a sinkhole insurance policy or adding an endorsement to your standard policy.

Understanding Sinkholes 

Sinkholes are depressions or holes in the ground caused by the collapse of a surface layer, often caused by the dissolution of soluble bedrock such as limestone or gypsum by water. When water erodes the rock beneath the surface, a void forms, causing the overlying layers to collapse.

Besides swallowing structures and disrupting foundations, sinkholes can cause substantial damage to homes and property. Most home insurance policies exclude sinkhole-related damages, so you should consider a separate policy if you live in an area prone to these disasters. It provides essential financial protection against the unique risks posed by sinkholes.

How Sinkhole Insurance Works 

Sinkhole insurance provides coverage to pay for repairing or replacing your home and other structures due to damage from a sinkhole. Usually, this is a separate policy but can sometimes be added as an endorsement to your existing policy. 


The main eligibility requirements for getting sinkhole insurance are the geographical factors and sinkhole activity in your particular area. An insurance company may do an inspection to determine the risk factors associated with your home. By identifying the potential risk, these assessments assist in determining eligibility for the policy. 

If you live in an area prone to sinkholes, you may be required to have an inspection. You may have to pay for the inspection if the insurer wants it to be from a third party. You should consult with a professional to determine your next steps. 


Sinkholes can cause severe damage to your entire home, such as foundation problems, window and door cracks, bowing walls, and floor issues. 

Sinkhole insurance typically provides the following coverage:

  • Repairs to your home’s structure and foundation
  • Repairs and rebuilding of your home
  • Repairs and rebuilding other structures on your property
  • Repairs and replacement of items damaged or ruined by the sinkhole

Your policy may also include additional living expenses (ALE) coverage. ALE can cover additional expenses, such as temporary housing and food if you cannot live at your home while it’s being repaired. 

What’s Not Covered

There may be limitations on coverage, however, such as the following:

  • Cosmetic damage
  • Land restoration
  • Negligent acts and intentional damage
  • Sinkholes caused by mining activities

When purchasing sinkhole insurance coverage, you must understand all the inclusions and exclusions of the policy. If you add an endorsement to your standard homeowner’s insurance policy, remember it may be even more limiting.

Types of Sinkhole Insurance 

There are also different types of sinkhole insurance available. You should understand both options before making a purchase. 

Sinkhole Loss Coverage 

Sinkhole loss coverage protects homeowners against sinkhole-related damages. It helps pay for the repair or replacement of structures that were damaged by a sinkhole. It may also cover personal property replacement and upgrades to stabilize your home, such as installing structural braces. 

This coverage may be offered as a standalone policy or as an endorsement to your current home insurance. Without sinkhole insurance, a homeowner may experience devastating financial loss if their home is damaged. 

Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse Coverage 

This type of insurance covers damage caused by a severe ground collapse that forces a homeowner to move out because it is unsafe to live in. A government-declared state of emergency is required, and only the most severe sinkhole incidents are covered. 

A catastrophic collapse usually results in the insured being reimbursed for structural repairs or rebuilding costs. Even though it is more limited in scope than general sinkhole coverage, it offers critical protection against the most severe consequences of catastrophic ground collapses for homeowners.

Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse Coverage in Florida

Florida insurance companies are required to provide catastrophic ground cover collapse coverage because Florida has more sinkholes than any other state in the U.S. In Florida, the event must meet the following criteria to qualify for this coverage:

  • The abrupt collapse of ground cover
  • Depression in the ground cover is clearly visible to the naked eye
  • Structural damage to the building, including its foundation
  • The structure is condemned and ordered to be vacated by a government agency

If a sinkhole damages your home but does not meet all of those points — such as the foundation wasn’t damaged or the structure wasn’t condemned — then the coverage would not apply.

Florida home insurance companies do have to offer sinkhole insurance as an endorsement. It might be worth getting the endorsement in the case of a sinkhole event that does not meet their qualifications for catastrophic ground cover collapse coverage. However, it’s essential to know that insurance companies can decline to offer you a sinkhole endorsement if they inspect the property and determine that sinkhole activity is already present. 

How Much Does Sinkhole Insurance Cost? 

Insurers charge different premiums for sinkhole insurance based on different factors such as location, property value, and coverage limits. Catastrophic ground cover collapse coverage is generally less expensive due to its narrower coverage, while sinkhole loss coverage typically costs a few hundred to over a thousand dollars annually. In Florida, where sinkholes are common, a sinkhole endorsement can cost upwards of $2,000. 

Sinkhole damage can cause extensive repairs or even total property loss, which makes these costs relatively small compared to the potential financial ramifications. An affordable means of protecting yourself from substantial financial losses caused by sinkholes is to invest in sinkhole insurance.

Should You Get Sinkhole Insurance? 

Sinkhole insurance is a critical protection for some people to invest in. While it is not for every homeowner, you may need to consider it if the following apply to you:

  • You live in a high-risk area prone to sinkholes.
  • Your property has the presence of karst terrain or soluble bedrock.
  • You have property investments you wish to protect.
  • There’s a history of sinkhole incidents in the area in which you live.
  • Your bank requires sinkhole insurance.
  • Your state is required to offer sinkhole insurance. 
  • You’re worried about sinkholes.

How to Get Sinkhole Insurance 

Home insurance providers in certain states, such as Florida and Tennessee, where sinkholes are more common, are legally obligated to offer sinkhole insurance. In fact, Florida insurance providers must cover catastrophic ground cover collapse in their home insurance policies. 

Outside of Florida and Tennessee, however, there are no requirements, even in locations with a higher risk of sinkholes. Check out sinkhole insurance in the following states where sinkholes occur:

Insurance Requirements
Insurers are not required to offer sinkhole insurance. Homeowners may be able to get policies from certain companies. 
Insurers are not required to offer sinkhole insurance. Homeowners may be able to get optional coverage. 
Insurers are not required to offer sinkhole insurance. However, if homeowners cannot get coverage through their insurer, they may qualify for a standalone policy through the Missouri FAIR plan
Insurers are not required to offer sinkhole insurance. Homeowners may be able to get sinkhole coverage from their insurance provider. 
Insurers are not required to offer sinkhole insurance. Homeowners may be able to get sinkhole coverage as an endorsement to their current home insurance policy. 

If you are worried about sinkholes and you live in a state that is not legally required to provide coverage, you can follow these steps:

  1. Evaluate your risk. Check to see if your area is prone to sinkholes. Sinkholes are most common in areas with karst terrain, meaning an area where the rock underneath the ground can naturally be dissolved by groundwater.
  2. Get a professional inspection. Have a professional come out and do an inspection. You likely will need official documentation of sinkhole risk in order to purchase a policy.
  3. Compare insurers. Shop around and get quotes from multiple insurers to compare. Make sure you choose enough coverage and a deductible you can afford.
  4. Review the costs. Ensure you can afford the premium costs. Weigh the risk of sinkholes in your area with the monthly costs you will incur for coverage.
  5. Choose a policy. Review your chosen policy to ensure it’s the correct fit. Then, submit the required documentation to your insurer and make the premium payment.

Signs of Sinkhole Activity 

Sinkholes typically develop over time, so it’s important to know what signs to look out for, such as:

  • Previous sinkhole activity: Previous sinkholes in your area may indicate an increased risk.
  • Cracks in the ground: New or widening cracks, especially those in a circular pattern, can indicate a sinkhole.
  • Sudden depressions or holes: New depressions or holes in the ground, especially those that get larger over time, may mean sinkhole activity.
  • Tilting trees or fence posts: Watch out for trees, fence posts, or other structures on your property that start slanting.
  • Pooling water: A new pooling of water, especially in a place that did not have water previously, can be a sign.
  • Wilting vegetation or plants: When water is drawn into a nearby sinkhole, you may notice your vegetation browning, wilting, or dying. 
  • Cracked foundation: Any noticeable damage or shift in your foundation or other structures can be a possible indication.

Remember, these signs do not always guarantee a sinkhole but could signal potential risks. You should seek professional advice to assess the situation if you notice any of these signs.

All in All 

It is important to understand sinkhole risks and the limitations of standard home insurance. When considering sinkhole insurance, consider geographical factors, professional inspections, and coverage options. 

Recognize the value of specialized coverage when it comes to protecting your property investment from sinkhole damage. In order to ensure that your homeowner’s insurance adequately addresses the unique geological risks specific to your area, you need a thorough evaluation of your insurance needs.

Frequently Asked Questions 

If you live in a high-risk area, there may be stricter requirements to obtain sinkhole insurance. Usually, a professional inspection will be required, and premiums may be higher since there is more risk.

Unfortunately, a sinkhole can reduce property value, making it harder to sell in the future. Premiums may also be higher because there is a perceived risk due to a history of sinkholes. 

Typically, a homeowner will purchase sinkhole insurance since they have an interest in the structure. However, a tenant should encourage a landlord to make sure they have sinkhole insurance if they are worried about a sinkhole occurring.