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Sinkholes have been a cause of damage and destruction all over Florida. In 2011, a beauty salon was partially swallowed by a sinkhole in Leesburg. These sinkholes are not just recent occurrences – In 1981, house and nearby commercial properties suffered damages due to a sinkhole in Winter Park. According to statistics, Florida has experienced more incidences of sinkholes as compared to any other state in America.

Sinkhole insurance coverage was a part of insurance properties until changes were made in 2011. These changes are meant to distinguish between sinkhole damage and catastrophic ground collapse. While the law has obliged insurance providers to cover the latter under homeowner’s insurance, sinkhole damage might not be covered.

When you buy homeowner’s insurance, you must make sure that the policy covers your house for sinkhole damage. Otherwise, you will have to purchase an additional sinkhole policy to make sure that your house in Lake Wales is protected against sinkhole damages.

For sinkhole insurance please call us at 407-344-1228 or email us at [email protected].

Causes and Signs of Sinkhole Damage

Sinkholes occur due to depressions in the ground. These depressions occur because of natural and gradual erosion processes. When there is a presence of limestone underneath the surface of the earth, the groundwater starts dissolving those limestones. As a result, pressure develops and forms a hole in the ground. This hole forming underneath the ground isn’t visible from the surface because of the groundcover. When the hole gets too big, the groundcover collapses, sinking in the buildings.

Sinkhole activities typically occur in areas with a high amount of water, like rivers and lakes. The causes of the sinkhole are almost always natural – extreme drought or rains. Human activities might also contribute to the formation of sinkholes. Florida and South Texas experience the most sinkhole activities. The surface in these states is karst that occurs due to gypsum, limestone, and dolomite getting dissolved in water.

To file for a sinkhole damage claim, you must make sure that a sinkhole activity has caused the damage to your house. You should learn to distinguish between the signs of sinkhole damage and the damage caused by other factors, like a flood. The signs are rather similar, which is why it is best to recognize the signs.

Here are some of the most common sinkhole damage signs:

  • Formation of cracks in your house’s exterior and interior
  • Cracks in the driveway and/or walkways
  • Doors and windows getting jammed frequently or not closing properly
  • Pools of standing water forming in the house or the yard
  • Soft spots in the garden where plants are wilting and dying
  • Presence of sediment in the faucet water

These warning signs are an indication of sinkhole damage in or near your house. Monitor your house regularly to spot these signs so that you can take immediate action. The sooner you can identify a potential sinkhole formation, the better are your chances of reducing the amount of damage that might occur. Moreover, you might also recover the damages from your insurance provider sooner.

Sinkhole Insurance in Lake Wales Florida

Lake Wales is prone to sinkholes because of the large number of rocks underneath the ground that eventually get dissolved with water. When this happens, the surface of the ground can suddenly collapse and cause complete or partial damage to the buildings. Therefore, opting for sinkhole insurance in Lake Wales Florida is highly recommended.

While the chances a sinkhole damaging your house might be small, you are still living in an at-risk area. It is essential to protect your home from any potential sinkhole damage. Otherwise, you will have to cover the repair cost without insurance.

Not all homeowner’s insurance policies cover sinkhole damages. You must go through all the details of the policy to check whether or not you have sinkhole coverage. Assuming that the home insurance covers sinkhole damage is a common mistake made by many homeowners. They only discover they are not covered when they try to file a claim to recover the damages they experienced due to the sinkhole activity. This negligence can create a massive financial burden on a household after incurring sinkhole damage.

When opting for the coverage, you must read the fine print as well. Your house can incur damage from the sinkhole but not get the damage compensation. For instance, if the sinkhole causes cracks on the ground or in the wall of your house, but there isn’t a ground depression. In this situation, you might not recover compensation for the damages.

What is Sinkhole Inspection?

The majority of the insurance companies in Lake Wales, Florida, perform a home inspection before adding sinkhole coverage to the homeowner’s insurance policy. The inspection team will examine your house for any existing damages, for instance, cracks in the driveway, foundation, or the building.

Your insurance company will recommend the inspection companies you can opt for, and the cost is split in half between you and the insurer. In case the team finds any existing crack in the house, it might reduce your chances of getting approval for sinkhole coverage to your homeowner’s insurance.

Before you purchase a house in Lake Wales or other areas of Florida, it is highly important to determine if it will get an approval for sinkhole insurance coverage. Get the house inspected before purchasing to save you from potential problems in the future.

Understanding Catastrophic Ground Collapse Coverage

This coverage is a sub-type of the sinkhole damage insurance. It refers to major sinkhole damage, which has explicit legal guidelines. According to Florida law, catastrophic ground collapse is the geological activity that covers the following factors:

  • Sudden ground cover collapse
  • Ground depression visible clearly to the naked eye
  • The building suffers structural damage, particularly in the foundation
  • The concerned government agency orders that the house or building is vacated immediately due to the severe damage

If the sinkhole damage covers all these criteria mentioned above, then you will be covered under the homeowner’s insurance.

Filing a Claim for Sinkhole Damage

The extent of the damage, as well as the repair costs, is dependent on the size and depth of the sinkhole. The claims for sinkhole damage might be tricky since there are various factors involved. According to Florida Statute 627.706, all insurance companies are obliged to cover catastrophic ground cover in Florida. However, not all homeowner’s insurance policies cover the sinkhole damages. You have to get the sinkhole coverage as an additional policy.

Therefore, be sure to check if your home insurance policy covers your home for sinkhole damage. Otherwise, you won’t be able to get compensation for the damages to your house caused by the sinkhole. If you already have the right sinkhole coverage, then you have to notify your insurer immediately in case there is a possible sinkhole forming underneath or near your property.

What Happens After You File the Claim?

Once you have filed the claim for sinkhole damage, the insurance company will send in their experts to examine your house. They will determine the cause of the damage and confirm whether or not the sinkhole is the root cause.

The inspection team might also drill in the ground to examine the soil. The team will take soil samples from your home to analyze the composition to check if there has been any sinkhole activity. The soil test results typically arrive after a month.

When the team concludes that the root cause of the damage was indeed the sinkhole activity, your insurance adjuster will come up with the ideal way of handling the situation. You will get the compensation for the repair costs as per the considerations of different factors.

Sinkhole Insurance: Will it be Worth It?

It all depends on the area you are living in and the possibility of a sinkhole developing underneath or near your house. Moreover, you should also consider the coverage price since the premium might be considerably higher in high-risk areas, like Lake Wales.

However, you must also keep in mind the expenses you would have to cover if a sinkhole opens up and damages your home. The repair costs can be too much for you to pay on your own, which is why opting for sinkhole insurance, is a wise decision. Make sure that you shop around, do your research to find the right sinkhole coverage that suits your requirements, so that you can make an informed decision.

For sinkhole insurance please call us at 407-344-1228 or email us at [email protected].

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Why Us? The Freedom Difference