The insurance industry in Florida has taken note. Florida law requires insurers to cover "catastrophic ground collapse," and many homeowners buy additional riders to cover more minor damage.
"The number of insurance claims for sinkhole damage has increased significantly over the last several years. According to Office of Insurance Regulation, total reported claims in Florida increased from 2,360 in 2006 to 3,135 in 2010, according to information from the website of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. "The Florida Insurance Commissioner has identified sinkhole claims as a major cost-driver and expressed concern that these claims could threaten the solvency of Florida's property insurance market."
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Sinkhole insurance can run anywhere from around $200 to $2,000 depending on where a home is located. The Tampa Bay area is considered "Sinkhole Alley," but some have referred to Florida as the "Swiss Cheese State."
In 2012, Citizens collected $56.7 million in sinkhole premiums, but estimates sinkhole losses for 2012 totaling $18.7 million, according to its website.
"Mother Earth controls this," said Paul Caldwell, president and general manager of the Summer Bay resort where Sunday's collapse occurred. He said its developer does not build in "dense" areas. "We test as we develop."