Florida experiences the highest number of sinkhole occurrences and insurance claims. Sinkholes are a natural phenomenon, but they can be highly dangerous in residential areas. They occur when soil, sediment, or rock start sinking and the groundwater level lowers.
There are several other reasons why sinkholes occur on the ground. They occur due to erosion or drainage of water. Sinkholes are dangerous and often large enough to swallow whole houses or buildings. This can put you and your family at risk. The alarming thing is that sinkholes are becoming a common problem in many urban areas. This is why sinkhole insurance is high in demand as well, especially in Florida. But many homeowners still fail to recognize the importance of sinkhole insurance, which is why in this article, we will cover all the essential facts you need to know about sinkholes.
We will cover the facts about sinkholes, their causes, warning signs, and fundamentals about sinkhole insurance in Davenport, Florida.
· Sinkholes Can Be Small or Big
It is often understood that sinkholes are large, catastrophic, and impossible to cover up – but this is not true. Some sinkholes are small and require a sand or soil filling. These sinkholes are much less damaging than big ones, but nonetheless, they are dangerous. If they occur anywhere near or on your property such as your garden or backyard, they can endanger your children or pets. In order to repair them, you can call your local authorities or file a claim under your sinkhole insurance in Davenport, Florida.
· Some Sinkholes Can be Left Untreated
There are some types of sinkholes that can be left untreated. They are the ones that are either away from your property, far from reach, or small ones that don’t directly impact your house or life. The point is, the presence of a sinkhole doesn’t always mean danger or damage. These sinkholes can be left untreated until they show signs of expansion.
Small sinkholes that occur near your swimming pool or front garden can be covered through property insurance. However, if you decide to leave them untreated, remember to place boundaries around them to prevent accidents. You can also fill it with sand or soil, but do not use organic material filling as that can decompose and release toxins into the soil and groundwater.
· Sinkholes in Florida Are Part of the Natural Landscape
Residents of Florida are often concerned about the occurrence of sinkholes. It has also been one of the reasons why many homeowners prefer to relocate. The truth is, sinkholes are just a part of the natural landscape in Florida. There are several natural sinkholes found across Florida that have been there for years. If you have a sinkhole near your property, call local authorities for sinkhole assessment to ensure it doesn’t affect your groundwater. They will perhaps fill it with clay so that it doesn’t absorb water.
· Water Flowing into Sinkholes Is Not Good
If there is a small or a natural sinkhole near your property, always remember to keep it dry. Water flowing into sinkholes is not a good idea as it causes the ground to expand. Even if the sinkhole is small, flowing water can make it active and possibly contaminate groundwater.
· Sinkholes May Not Always Be Visible
A number of factors are responsible for sinkholes or ground depression. However, sinkholes are not always visible. Sometimes, sinkholes form slowly and gradually, which make them unnoticeable. If you are living in an area where sinkholes are a common phenomenon, the safest thing to do is to get your property and land tested by a licensed engineer or geologist.
· You Can Detect a Sinkhole
Sinkholes can be detected most of the times. All homeowners living in Florida, or any other state where sinkholes are common, must look out for warning signs. Detecting sinkholes ahead of time can help prevent damage and destruction up to 50%. Sinkholes cause various types of structural damage. Here are some of them:
- Cracks in doors, windows, or floor
- Doors or windows become harder to open or shut
- Muddy or clayey water in taps or wells
- Deep cracks in walkways, driveways, or the street right outside your house
- Depression in the yard, garden, or near a swimming pool
· Sinkholes can Take a Few Minutes or Hours to Grow
Sinkholes are dangerous because they are unpredictable. Small sinkholes can turn into big ones in a matter of minutes. They can take a couple of hours or even years to grow bigger. The exact nature of sinkholes and their occurrence is not known yet, which makes it a gray area for engineers and insurance companies too. However, engineers have concluded that filling the sinkholes with clay or sediment can restrict the growth and expansion by up to 70%. It is also important to create a fence or a boundary with the same material over the ground so that the sinkhole doesn’t expand.
Moreover, heavy rainfall or flooding can worsen the sinkhole. It can prolong the process of stabilization and erosion may continue.
· Sinkhole Insurance in Florida is Covered Under Statute
Given the common occurrences of sinkholes in Florida, the state laws include statutes for sinkhole insurance. The Florida statute 627.706 says that every insurance company must provide coverage to homeowners for catastrophic ‘ground cover collapse’. All insurance companies are liable under the law to provide coverage for sinkhole damage and losses to personal property for an additional premium. The insurance company can inspect the property before adding the sinkhole coverage to the residential insurance. The sinkhole insurance will be added as a premium to the existing property insurance.
The insurer is also allowed to restrict the loss coverage caused by ground cover collapse and sinkhole occurrence. According to what the statute states, any abrupt collapse, depression in the ground, and structural damage to the foundation of the property will be covered in the insurance. Losses caused by mere cracks in the structure need not be covered.
· Reported Incidents of Sinkhole Losses are Few
Even though Florida experiences the most number of sinkholes than any other state in the US, the Florida Geological Survey shows that reported incidents of major property damage or human loss are few. The incidents reporting the occurrence of sinkholes are from populated areas, which commonly affect roads and dwellings. Many incidents are either not reported or don’t cause severe damage. The chances of sinkholes causing loss to human lives are 0.01%.
· Sinkholes Are Unavoidable in Florida
Yes, this is true, no matter how devastating it sounds. Florida is a state that is entirely underlain by carbonate rocks, which is why sinkholes could occur or form anywhere. Hence, the whole state is at a constant risk of experiencing sinkholes. However, according to the geology department, certain areas are more susceptible to sinkholes than other areas. The state has disallowed property ownership and construction of buildings in such areas. Meanwhile, residents who live in areas where there is a high risk of sinkholes are mandated to have premium sinkhole insurance.
The only way to hide from sinkholes is by not purchasing properties in areas where the risk is higher. This is also advisable because many insurance companies refuse to give sinkhole insurance in Davenport, Florida, if the risk of sinkhole formation is higher in that area.
Why Do You Need Sinkhole Insurance in Davenport, Florida?
Since sinkholes are not always damaging and dangerous—many people in Florida who forego the additional premium payments in their insurance for sinkhole losses. This practice can be highly dangerous and can put you and your family at great risk. It is not worth taking a risk, even if the risk of damage and destruction from sinkholes is only 5%.
Sinkhole insurance in Davenport, Florida, is essential as natural disasters are unforeseeable. You never know what is about to come next. That makes it difficult to live with peace of mind as your family will always be vulnerable to the risk.
The risk of sinkholes is rising as they are caused by natural and manmade factors. So if you wish to protect your property and the lives of your loved ones, then opt for sinkhole insurance in Davenport, Florida, even if it means paying an additional premium. Trust us, it will be worth it!
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