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Sinkholes are a matter of significant concern for homeowners in Mulberry, Florida. The soil composition in the area makes it prone to the occurrence of sinkholes and the problems that ensue. An opening develops under the ground and gradually continues to grow until the top layer of the soil gives in. Sinkholes are not a problem in natural areas and even create a stunning view. However, it can cause considerable damage in residential or commercial spaces.

Call us at 407-344-1228 or email us at [email protected] for any insurance needs you may have. 

The worst part of this ordeal is that the homeowners are left to cover the repair expenses. The cost of a sinkhole damage repair can be massive, which means that without an insurance policy, it can cause major financial damage. Many people assume that sinkhole damages are covered under the homeowner’s insurance, but this is not the case.

The coverage for sinkhole damage is typically available as an add-on option to homeowner’s insurance. This policy is worth investing in if you are living in Mulberry or other areas of Florida. Moreover, it is also essential to learn about the warning signs of a possible sinkhole to prevent any severe damages.

Warning Signs of a Potential Sinkhole

Here are the main signs that indicate there might be a sinkhole developing on or near your property:

1.    Issues with Cabinets, Windows, and Doors

Since buildings tend to settle in over the years, slight unevenness is perfectly normal and not a cause of concern. If there is a sinkhole forming on your property or close by, you will experience frequent issues around the house. For instance, the doors will start jamming, closing, and opening the windows will get tricky, and the cabinet doors will be sitting unevenly or won’t be working correctly.

2.    Increasing Cracks

Cracks will start forming on the walls, particularly around the area where the ceilings and walls meet. You might also start noticing the formation of cracks in the tile, linoleum, and laminate flooring, as well as in tile grout. If there is an increasing amount of cracks, then it is worth getting your property checked for possible sinkholes.

3.    Separation or Gaps in Floors, Ceilings, or Walls

You might also notice separation or gaps in the ceilings and walls. Another warning sign is the molding and trims pulling away. Moreover, if you have this feeling that your house is slanting, sagging, or the floors are bulging, then get your property examined immediately.

4.    Water Problems

If there is an unusually strong earthy smell coming from your house after it rains, then it could be an indication of a sinkhole. Flooding, leaks, or wet crawl space during the rainy season is a sign of foundation issues.

5.    Unusual Changes in the Yard

The yard also starts showing early warnings when a sinkhole is developing underneath. Be sure to check the trees in your yard, and the fences to see if they are slanting or sagging. Scrutinize the ground, particularly near the trees.

The sudden appearance of small water ponds is also a sign; be sure to keep an eye out for pools of water gathered in the yard. If you already have a water pond and it starts draining, then that is another sign of a sinkhole.

6.    Cracks in Concrete or Pavement

Be sure to check outside your house for any buckling or sinking areas. Widening cracks or frequent appearance of new cracks on the pavement or driveway is also a cause of concern. A leaning or cracked chimney, as well as a sinking porch, indicate foundation problems.

As soon as you start noticing all or even some of these warning signs, then you must immediately contact an expert to evaluate your property. The professionals will carefully assess the signs and determine whether or not there is a sinkhole developing near your house. They will also help you determine the next possible steps.

What Should Be Your Next Move?

In case you notice several of these warnings in and around your house, then you should ask around your neighborhood of possible sinkhole activity. Make sure you also consult the emergency management authority and other concerned offices.

If the emergency services or the professional you hire affirms the possibility of a sinkhole, you must leave your house. Contact your insurance provider as soon as you can, so that they can send over an adjuster to evaluate the situation. Your property might undergo inspection by an engineer sent over by the insurance company.

How to File a Claim for Sinkhole Damage in Mulberry Florida

Sinkhole damages can be devastating and costly, which is why notifying your insurance provider as soon as you suspect a sinkhole might help in addressing the problem before it gets worse. Keep in mind that time is a crucial factor here. The sooner you can file a claim for sinkhole damage, the quicker you will be compensated.

If you are confused about filing the claim, here are the easy steps to help you out:

Contacting Your Insurance Agent

As mentioned before, you must contact your insurance company as soon as you notice the signs of a sinkhole developing underneath your property. It is best to open the sinkhole damage claim immediately so that you can start making repairs to save your property from any severe damages.

Be careful about the condition of your house’s foundation, as this is there the significant evidence and signs of sinkhole damage occur. Keep in mind that cracks on the concrete floors and driveways might not be a surefire sign of a sinkhole. There could be other issues with the foundation or structure of the house.

However, it is always best to get the professionals in to get things checked. If there are other issues, you can still file for damage claim under the homeowner’s insurance. If the foundation issues are covered under the policy, then you can get these issues fixed instantly.

If it is a sinkhole formation, then filing the claim will save you from major repair expenses. Additionally, it can also protect you from any possible physical injuries that might happen during sinkhole damage.

Filing the Claim

Under Florida law, all home insurance organizations must cover sinkhole damages. This policy is usually an additional feature in the homeowner’s insurance. You must opt for this sinkhole coverage policy; otherwise, you will have to pay for all the repair expenses from your pocket.

Moreover, insurance companies are often reluctant to cover the damages if the repair costs are too high. In such cases, you must consult an attorney to help you in filing the claim for sinkhole damage. Hiring a professional lawyer will help you avoid any wrongful denial or inadequate compensation for your damage claim.

The attorney will start the process of filing the sinkhole damage claim and negotiate with the insurance company to get you the best possible settlement as per your situation.

Providing Evidence

Once you have filed the claim for sinkhole damages, your insurance company will require evidence. You will have to provide proof that the sinkhole exists or is forming underneath the property and is damaging your property.

A geotechnical engineer or a geologist might be sent over to assess the property. They might conduct some tests to check the sinkhole formation and the extent of the damage. It might take a few days or even weeks to get all these tests done.

You should also expect a home inspection of your property. The home inspector will survey the foundation and structure of your house to evaluate the damage. These inspections and tests are conducted by the insurance company to verify if your claim is authentic.

Once all these tests are conducted, the repair cost will be estimated and you will get the compensation as per the evaluations.

Make sure you monitor your property regularly for the possible signs of sinkhole formation, so you can get your house professionally examined for possible damage. Moreover, file the claim as soon as you suspect a sinkhole on or near your property. Taking instant actions will decrease the possibility of severe damages and higher repair costs.

Call us at 407-344-1228 or email us at [email protected] for any insurance needs you may have. 

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