For Florida property owners, the idea of a sinkhole opening at their location is a nightmare. Unfortunately, it may also be a reasonable fear, based on news reports over the last few years. If you have homeowner’s or property insurance, you may assume you are covered if the unthinkable happens. At Tyler & Hamilton, P.A, we often assist clients whose insurance claims were denied or were offered insufficient compensation for their loss.
Property Casualty 360° reports that some sinkholes appear with no warning, while others may show signs that they are developing. Those that occur on a distant o part of the property may go unnoticed until they expand to a frequently used area. When water collects underground, with no external drainage, it begins eroding the bedrock. This may happen as a result of many situations, including ruptured sewer lines or seismic activity. Over time, underground spaces and caverns form, making the area above unstable. Sinkholes may also develop in areas where there is drilling or mining. Signs that something may be wrong underground include dying or wilting vegetation in an area where it is green and thriving everywhere else. New ponds, slumping trees and fence posts or cracked foundations may also indicate issues.
Florida requires that insurers offer sinkhole coverage. However, to take advantage of this, you must opt-in to and pay an additional premium. Depending on your policy, it may be your responsibility to hire a company for the repairs. There may be other expenses as well, including the need to live somewhere else while repairs are complete. If the sinkhole develops on a commercial location, business interruption may occur. Visit our webpage for more information on this topic.