Sinkholes are becoming more and more common throughout the country. Unfortunately, people receive little or no warning before the ground gives out under them. In the best case scenario, the sinkhole is small and in an unoccupied area. However, the news has covered at least one major hole that opened up under a home. In that particular case, there was a fatality. This makes it even more tragic, but even in cases where no one is hurt, the house quickly becomes unlivable.
Where are Sinkholes an Issue?
While most people think of Florida when they think of sinkholes, there are several other states where they form frequently. Texas, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama and Missouri also see quite a few of these holes.
The rapidly growing problem can be attributed to specific factors. Many times, it is not possible to predict if the ground will collapse. When rock below the ground dissolves due to groundwater moving through it, caves form. These can be fairly small, or they may be huge. Either way, the damage can be devastating, particularly when a house is built over the unstable ground.
When the underground cave is large enough, everything collapses into it. Even if it is a relatively small hole, it can render a home dangerous. Since the rock will continue to dissolve, there is rarely a good fix for the problem.
Finding Sinkhole Insurance
Homeowners in areas where homes are built on limestone, gypsum or dolostone will want to look into sinkhole insurance. This is considered a specialty policy in many companies, so you may have to purchase it separately. Note that catastrophic ground cover collapse coverage is not the same as sinkhole coverage.
Before you purchase a policy, you may want to have your property appraised. While a geological report costs money, it is worth it to have on hand. This is very useful to have before purchasing a property, as well.
In states like Florida, where these geological issues are very common, most insurance companies will offer this type of policy. It is always a good idea to check around and make sure you are getting a good price. Since most policies are going to be the same, you usually only need to compare pricing and coverage. Due to issues with people not using the insurance money to fix the damages caused by a sinkhole, some states now have laws which require the insurance is used for this purpose, rather than selling the home and buying new land.
What to Do in Case of a Sinkhole
The most important thing to do if a sinkhole opens in or near your home is to ensure your family’s safety. Get everyone away from the site. Remember that these holes can expand unexpectedly, so stay away from the edges. If necessary, evacuate everyone, including pets.
The next step is to get any important or valuable possessions to safety. You should never risk your life doing this, however. Only go into the house if it is still safe. You should also use tape or rope to keep people away from the collapse since you could be liable if someone falls in.
If the problem was caused by a sinkhole, as opposed to another geological issue, you should be covered. However, this will need to be proved with a professional survey conducted by a neutral party.
Contact us at Prosperity Public Adjusters. We can help you with your insurance claim so you can get your life back in order. Call us today at (561) 452-632