Florida Statutes currently require homeowners insurers to provide their insureds with sinkhole coverage. The statutes define "sinkhole loss" as sinkhole activity that causes "structural damage" to a home. Structural damage is not defined in the statute. However, homeowners insurance company, USAA, applies a very narrow definition of "structural damage" against its policy holders.
My client has USAA, and reported what he thought was sinkhole damage to USAA. USAA sent engineers to my client’s home to perform sinkhole testing. The engineers confirmed the existence of sinkhole activity causing damage to the home, but USAA stated that the level of damage to not rise to the level of its very narrowly drawn definition of structural damage.
USAA’s definition of "structural damage" is too narrow. Because the sinkhole statute doesn’t define structural damage, the court will utilize a dictionary definition. The dictionary definition of structure damage is damage "of or pertaining to a structure." Under this definition of structural damage, the sinkhole damage to my client’s home would be covered.
Today, I filed a lawsuit against USAA seeking to have a court throw out its definition of "structural damage" and apply the common everyday definition.
If I am successful, the court will require USAA to pay my fees and costs, and if I lose, I’ll work for free.