If a home is swallowed by a sinkhole, the damage is not covered by a standard homeowner's insurance policy in Connecticut, according to the state Insurance Department.
Sinkholes have alarmed the public recently since a man and his bedroom fell into one beneath his home Thursday in Seffner, Fla., apparently killing the man, whose body has not been recovered.
Only two states — Florida and Tennessee — require home insurers to "offer" sinkhole coverage, either as a stand-alone policy or as part of a standard homeowner's policy, said Michael Barry, a spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute, an industry-funded property-casualty research group.
Sinkholes are characterized as "earth movement," which is excluded from homeowners' policies in Connecticut, said Donna Tommelleo, spokeswoman for the state Insurance Department. It's the same exclusion in a standard homeowner's policy that means the insurer doesn't pay for earthquake damage or mudslides.
Some insurance carriers may offer separate coverage for sinkholes through an insurance endorsement or rider, which is added on to a homeowner's policy, Tommelleo said.
In Florida, where sinkholes are common, the state legislature in 2007 required insurers to provide coverage for "catastrophic ground cover collapse," according to the Insurance Information Institute.