Vacationers claim property lost in sinkhole may not be replaced - FOX 35 News Orlando

Vacationers claim property lost in resort sinkhole may not be replaced

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Some vacationers who were forced out of their rooms because of a sinkhole say they're not getting their property replaced by the resort.
When a sinkhole swallowed part of the Summer Bay Resort, Debbie Ward and her family told us that they would come back again.

"It's nature at it's best or worst. You can't control nature," she said.

That was more than two weeks ago. Since then, Debbie said things have changed.

"I feel betrayed, because in the meeting before we left, the president and vice president of Summer Bay Resorts told us they were going to take care of us, and now we're getting a letter that says,' I'm sorry we can't.'"

Several of the sinkhole victims said they received a letter from the head of Summer Bay Resort. It states that, under Florida law, a public lodging establishment is not responsible for the loss of personal belongings.  However, FOX 35 has learned that such losses might be recoverable under a personal homeowner's insurance policy for a guest or the owner of the property.

We tried contacting owner Paul Caldwell via phone and at his office,  but we were not able to reach him.

According to insurance consumer advocates, victims should be able to file their losses if they have their own insurance. 

"Under their homeowner's or renter's policy, they have coverage for all their personal belongings," said Lynne McChristian, with the Insurance Information Institute.   "That's the coverage that goes with you, no matter where in the world you are.  So your belongings are covered under your policy."

Debbie doubts her losses will be covered.

"What's the next step? My insurance company tells me they probably won't cover it either. I don't know where we are going to go."
Experts say you need to look closely at your policy.  Some companies in other states don't cover sinkholes under homeowner's insurance.

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