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What you need to know about sinkholes before making a claim

Florida tops the list of states with the most sinkholes, and as a resident of the Sunshine State, you may know that your ability to purchase sinkhole insurance is guaranteed. You may feel perfectly safe in your home, but the fact is that sinkholes are unpredictable.

If your property were to suffer damage from a sinkhole, you would file a claim with your insurance company, but what if the claim is denied? The first step is to understand your risks and what to expect with the claims process.

The anatomy of a sinkhole

Sinkholes are described as catastrophic phenomena. They can be caused as the natural result of earthquakes, excess ground water or erosions. Sinkholes can also be triggered by man-made forces, such as mining, drilling, construction or even heavy traffic.

Signs of possible development

If you maintain your property well, you will probably not notice any red flags. However, signs that a sinkhole might be about to make an appearance include cracks that develop around your doors or windows, deep cracks in sidewalks or driveways, sediments in your drinking water or depressions that form in your yard.

Sinkhole testing

If you think a sinkhole might be developing on your property, your insurance company will send someone out to investigate. The report that comes back might deny that there is any sinkhole activity going on. However, when the depression deepens and the driveway cracks widen, your home may be in jeopardy, and you can call a geotechnical engineer to take a look. If the report provided by the expert confirms that there is a sinkhole on your property, you will want to file a claim with the insurance company, but it is wise to have help.

Supporting your claim

The process for filing a sinkhole claim can be complex. You should make sure that the damage is actually covered under your policy, and you want to be prepared for the possibility of a fight from the insurance company whose investigator denied any sinkhole activity in the first place. If you have concerns, this may be a good time to reach out for legal assistance. 

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