Sinkholes continue to be a problem for many homeowners. They are very common in many areas, and can be very dangerous. In a matter of moments, they can swallow a home whole.

Plus, sinkholes are both unpreventable and hard to predict. This makes them a significant risk. However, home insurance coverage remains limited for this type of risk.

What Does Your Policy Say?

Most home insurance will list exclusions on it. These are specific items the policy will not provide coverage for. A common type of exclusion is flooding. Earthquakes are also exclusions in many areas. Unfortunately, sinkholes frequently are, too.

Homeowners policies differ from one area to the next, and each insurer writes the plan differently. Take a closer look at your homeowners insurance. Are sinkholes listed as covered or not covered? If you live in an area prone to this risk, ask your agent about getting coverage.

Understanding Your Risk

Provincial regulations often define what a sinkhole is and what causes it. Generally, it is defined as any type of ground collapse.

Sinkholes occur when the rock, soil, or sediment under the ground dissolves. This can happen for various reasons, but a common cause is groundwater shifts. Changes in groundwater composition move the soil away until it is too weak to hold up the structures above. Additionally, areas that sit above limestone are prone to sinkholes, as groundwater can degrade the bedrock formation considerably over time.

You can visit your city hall to determine your risk of suffering a sinkhole. Local officials may or may not know what to expect. However, they may be able to advise you on precautions to take regardless of your localized risk.

What Can You Do If Your Risks Are High?

Being proactive is important. Don't buy a home in an area where sinkhole risk is high. If you already own a home here, talk to your insurance agent. Your typical home insurance policy might not offer coverage. However, specialized policies may be able to help. You may be able to add-on this type of risk to your existing policy. In areas with high risks, laws require companies to offer catastrophic ground cover collapse coverage. This may help with some of your risks.

Speak to your agent about your options. Contact Heritage Insurance LTD for more information.

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