BOWLING GREEN, Ky (WBKO) -- It's a known fact that Kentucky's karst landscape is the cause of sinkholes. Regardless if your home is swallowed, or if your mailbox caves in, homeowners want to know where their safety net lies.
"Most insurance carriers in the state of Kentucky do not offer sinkhole insurance coverage on their policies. There are some carriers, however, that do. This is a small number and these carriers often get overlooked," said Chris Wiseman, Director of Personal Lines & Business, Van Meter Insurance.
Tennessee and Florida are two states with even more active sinkhole activity. Because of this, their State Legislature has mandated all carriers to provide sinkhole coverage to their customers. Kentucky carriers have not been mandated. This helps explain why customers may have to do more research in order to find a company to provide coverage.
"Because this is such a hard model for the insurance carries to predict where a sinkhole may open up or may not, it is not something they've been able to do financially to come up with a viable model for them. Because they are not required to offer it, they don't," said Chris Wiseman, Director of Personal Lines & Business, Van Meter Insurance.
The sinkhole coverage does come as an endorsement to a policy and there is a cost. Each carrier has a target market, this allows for competitive rates. However, the target market can also discourage customers.
"If you're not in a segment they are targeting, it can get relatively pricey," said Chris Wiseman, Director of Personal Lines & Business, Van Meter Insurance.
Although a homeowner may have to dig for coverage, commercial sinkhole coverage is very common.
"Sinkhole collapse is built in to most commercial policies , not all, but most. So, there is coverage for the sinkhole damage to the building,” said Michelle Montgomery, Director of Quality Control, Van Meter Insurance.
Rental homes do fall under most commercial policies.
"It's really how the insurance industry has developed. The commercial policies, covering businesses and rental properties, have always had sinkhole in the actual wording of the contract. Homeowner's policies didn't develop that way,” said Chris Wiseman, Director of Personal Lines & Business, Van Meter Insurance.
States started mandating the coverage after sinkhole collapses became more frequent in recent years. In order to ensure your home is protected from monetary losses ,due to sinkholes, check with your insurance carrier.