There are plenty of emergencies that families know to prepare for: fires, hurricanes, even earthquakes in some states. But sinkholes? While surprisingly common in Pennsylvania and Florida, most people don’t worry about sinkholes on a daily basis and thus don’t know if their insurance policies will cover such an unexpected disaster.
What Is a Sinkhole?
As the name suggests, a sinkhole forms when land suddenly collapses and sinks into an empty space underground. Florida law in particular defines a sinkhole as “a landform created by subsidence of soil, sediment, or rock as underlying strata are dissolved by groundwater.” Since the hole underneath the earth’s surface is nearly impossible to detect, sinkholes can’t be identified or prevented says Brice Zoecklein, a Tampa property damage attorney who specializes in sinkhole coverage.
Minor sinkholes may cause manageable damage like cracks in walls or fences sinking into the grass, but major sinkholes can literally swallow a house whole and cause enormous amounts of damage. Unfortunately, many of Florida’s buildings are built with the highly porous rock limestone, and as water is absorbed into that limestone, it dissolves and sinks.
Legal Actions for Sinkholes
A tampa sinkhole attorney may sound like a funny joke, but it’s a serious matter. Though insurance providers in Florida are required to offer catastrophic ground coverage, sinkhole damage isn’t always included in that bundle. It’s actually possible for an insurance company to legally refuse to pay a sinkhole claim due to the loopholes in the insurance language.
This makes it very important to take the right steps after you find sinkhole damage in your home. Cracked interior or exterior walls, ceilings and floors separating from the walls, windows and doors jamming, and dips in the yard are all telltale signs of a sinkhole. Rather than fight with your insurance company over how the damage should qualify in your coverage, call a sinkhole attorney to help you review all data and information and fight for your right to financial compensation for damage.