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The Groundhog Speaks: What About Property Grounds & Insurance?

Groundhog Day is an annual folkloric predictor for the start of the spring season. On February 2nd, if the groundhog’s shadow doesn’t appear, spring is imminent. Conversely, if his shadow is visible, spring won’t be coming for another six weeks or so.

Now, switch over to the topic of home insurance. While the groundhog’s shadow is not scientifically reliable to predict spring’s arrival, by contrast, the state of your property grounds can be indicative of current damage, or predictive of damage in the future.

Here are some ways in which your property grounds might be associated with damage.

  1. Foundational shifts. Ground, especially the moist ground in Florida, is not static – it shifts or erodes. In fact, soil changes can ultimately dislodge your property from its foundation, causing minor, if not major, damage. The relevant insurance is usually called “earth movement coverage,” and is sometimes categorized with earthquake insurance. It is meant to protect you from unusual soil movement which causes property damage. Bear in mind that normal soil movement is not usually covered, so you should investigate whether the property was constructed correctly.
  1. Swamps & sinkholes. This is particularly applicable to Florida, where sinkholes are common. Insurance is usually called “ground cover collapse coverage,” and can insure property foundation damage.
  1. Flood insurance. Water seeps. This means a flood might not only damage the building, it might damage the foundation of the building, in turn, causing more damage. Therefore, if you have a flood, this coverage could protect you from major water damage to your home and foundation.
  1. Burst pipe. Again, water seeps. A burst pipe is similar to a flood in the sense that it can leak into the ground of your property and disrupt the foundation, causing damage. Look into whether your burst pipe coverage includes foundational damage.
  1. Termites. Subterranean termites often build their homes in soil mounds, creating intricate tunnel systems leading to wood which they feed on. If this wood is part of your home, over time, these termites’ appetites could cause damage to your home’s foundation. Homeowners insurance usually does not cover this type of damage, so make sure you are taking preventative measures against termites.

Unlike the groundhog, you don’t need to look at your shadow to predict what’s ahead. Instead, by being aware of the above-ground issues with regard to property damage, you can make sure you have the correct insurance coverage and/or are taking steps to avoid the problem in the first place. If you have any questions regarding your home insurance coverage, contact us.

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