Does auto insurance cover sinkholes?

Auto insurance covers sinkhole damage under comprehensive coverage, which costs an average of $13/month. You may need sinkhole insurance for your car if you live in an area like Florida or Georgia, where they are more common. Regardless of who is responsible for the sinkholes, you can avoid a sinkhole exclusion on your policy with comprehensive auto insurance.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Feb 26, 2021

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What You Should Know

  • Comprehensive auto insurance will cover damages to your car caused by a sinkhole
  • On average, comprehensive insurance costs $160/year or $13/month
  • Sinkholes occur when the surface layer of the ground collapses into an underground cavity
  • Some areas, such as Florida and Texas, are more prone to sinkholes than others

You’re visiting your sister in Florida when you hear a commotion in the parking lot. Looking out, you see that your car is now in a crater in the middle of the parking lot. You’ve never seen a sinkhole, but now you have a lot of questions. What does sinkhole coverage cover? Can you get sinkhole insurance? If so, is sinkhole insurance expensive? Understanding auto insurance can be difficult. Does auto insurance cover sinkholes?

Yes, but only if you have comprehensive coverage. Read our guide below to learn more about sinkhole damage and car insurance,

To get cheap comprehensive insurance that protects you from sinkhole damage, enter your ZIP code here to get quotes now.

Comprehensive Coverage and Sinkhole Damage

How does car insurance work? Let’s take a moment to talk about it.

We’ll start with this video explanation from Allstate:

All U.S. states have minimum requirements for auto insurance, but these are mostly limited to the very lowest levels of coverage that pay for injuries and damages related to vehicle collisions. While these state minimums will fulfill the letter of the law, basic coverage will not cover sinkhole damage or events not related to a collision.

However, many vehicle owners choose to purchase comprehensive coverage auto insurance which, although optional, will pay for damages resulting from non-collision events such as vandalism, theft, extreme weather, and sinkholes. If you’re unsure what this means, comprehensive auto insurance is explained more here.

Buying comprehensive coverage is an individual decision and depends on such factors as the value of your vehicle, your chances of encountering non-collision events, or just your personal preference for peace of mind.

In summary – you’re required to carry certain levels of bodily injury and property damage insurance. But comprehensive coverage is the type of auto insurance that covers sinkholes. If you want to make sure you have sinkhole coverage, be sure to ask your insurance company about this.

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Comprehensive Deductibles For Sinkholes

Let’s talk about deductibles for a bit here. You probably don’t want to pay a lot of money for your comprehensive insurance, yet you also want to have your deductible be as low as possible so if you do have a claim you don’t have to break the bank when you need to pay the deductible.

The table below shows the average annual rates drivers pay for comprehensive auto insurance coverage across the U.S.

Average Annual U.S. Comprehensive Auto Insurance Rates by State
StatesAverage Annual
Comprehensive Insurance Rates
New Hampshire$103.03
New Jersey$123.18
Rhode Island$122.17
North Carolina$123.00
New York$156.66
New Mexico$166.89
South Carolina$165.38
West Virginia$195.04
North Dakota$227.64
District of Columbia$230.25
South Dakota$228.59
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How high should your comprehensive deductible be? It will depend on how you choose to balance your insurance payments with how likely you think you are to have a claim. You will have to pay a deductible for sinkhole damage or any other claim for damage within the scope of your comprehensive policy.

Florida sinkhole insurance deductibles, for example have an “amount applicable to sinkhole losses equal to 1 percent, 2 percent, 5 percent, or 10 percent of the policy dwelling limits, with appropriate premium discounts offered with each deductible amount,” according to the 2019 Florida statutes.

Filing a Claim For Sinkhole Damage

If you’re wondering how you file a sinkhole damage claim, it’s not much different than any other insurance claim. Call your insurance company as soon as possible and explain the situation to them. They’ll let you know what you need when filing a claim.

Depending on the extent of the damages, they may want to send one of their adjusters to the site to check it out. But don’t wait too long – most insurance companies will have a limit on how long you have to file a claim.

Also, filing a comprehensive claim won’t increase your rates. Damage caused by external forces such as sinkholes have no bearing on your ability to drive safely.

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What are sinkholes?

Sinkholes are places where an underground cavity and the surface of the land collapse, creating a hole that is sometimes large enough to swallow a car or parts of a building. These cavities are most often created by underground water that dissolves the surrounding rock, such as the limestone in Florida, creating a space that eventually can’t hold itself up anymore. When there is not enough water to support the surrounding rock and ground, the cavity collapses, and a sinkhole is born.

Who is responsible for sinkholes?

It depends.  Certain parts of the U.S., such as Florida and Texas, are more likely to have naturally-occurring sinkholes due to their underlying geology. In these instances, we have no one to blame but Mother Nature.

However, man-made sinkholes can occur as well, such as when underground water has been removed or re-routed, or a mine has been built or sealed improperly. Even urban areas aren’t free from sinkholes, since broken water mains or sewer pipes can wash away enough of the underlying soil to cause a cave-in at the surface.

So, who pays for sinkhole damage? Unless you can prove that there was any negligence involved, you and your insurance company will have to pay for the damage.

Now that you know more about auto insurance covering sinkholes, enter your ZIP code in the box below to find affordable comprehensive coverage for sinkhole damage.

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Frequently Asked Questions: Does auto insurance cover sinkholes?

Read the answers below to some frequently asked questions about sinkhole coverage.

#1 – Who needs sinkhole coverage?

You don’t need special sinkhole coverage for your vehicle, but home insurance companies in Florida and Tennessee are required to include catastrophic sinkhole coverage as part of their homeowner coverage.

Most U.S. states have some areas that are at higher risk for sinkholes, so it’s best to know where these are before you decide to purchase sinkhole insurance in Georgia, for example. Whether to insure a sinkhole home in most states may require a bit of geological research.

#2 – Do I need comprehensive insurance to cover sinkhole damage?

Yes, unless you wish to pay for the damages yourself.

#3 – Can I get Allstate sinkhole insurance?

Yes, the company has sinkhole insurance as part of its homeowners policy. This is rare, as most companies have a sinkhole exclusion.

#4 – Can I get sinkhole insurance through USAA?

There are sinkhole endorsements in high-risk areas.

#5 – Does Erie insurance have sinkhole coverage?

Sinkhole coverage is not covered under its homeowners policy.

#6 – Should I carry any additional coverage if I live in an area with sinkholes?

If you already have comprehensive coverage for your vehicle, then you should be all set. If you’re a homeowner, however, you may want to consider getting a sinkhole insurance rider, since most homeowners’ insurance policies exclude sinkhole damage as well as that caused by other ground-moving events such as mudslides or earthquakes.

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