Site Navigation

Do You Have a Sinking Feeling?

Florida is replete with sinkholes. Why? Because the entire state has an underlying layer of carbonate rock, which, when mixed with the acidity from rainwater, erodes quicker than many other ground substances. Therefore, in theory, the entire Florida region is at risk for sinkholes. However, certain regions have a considerably higher risk than others, particularly those with limestone bases. Public Claims Adjusters in Florida frequently are involved with claims for sinkhole damage. Each week we get calls about cracking of walls and foundations, cosmetic damage and even entire homes swallowed up by these threats.

Feeling a little anxious, now? On the one hand, no one wishes for sinkhole problems – they can be highly dangerous, even causing fatalities. In addition to possible danger, you need to be aware of the structural status of your property – after all, who should pay for the repairs? Specifically, if your home, office, or other property ends up with structural damage, you will need to find out whether the cause was a sinkhole in order to pursue insurance coverage.

Sinkhole Warning Signs: Structural cracks – wall cracks, floor cracks, and pavement cracks. Ground surface cracks. Fence posts, home foundations, or trees start to look brightly new at the bottom, just above ground. Trees, fence posts, yard sundials, garden sculptures, or other objects embedded in the ground start to slump, sag, or slant. Windows or doors need adjusting in order to close properly. Ponds start to form where they had not been before. Called ponding, you’ll start to see small ponds of collected rainfall. Circular areas of vegetation start to wilt, whereas before it would grow fine. Well water starts to look murky or grey.

What to Do? If you see any of these warning signs, rope off the area, and call your insurance adjuster immediately. If the warning signs are inside the home, you may need to evacuate. If the hole is directly impacting a house, and sinking, sagging, or cracking walls are apparent, stay out of the dwelling. Report the incident to the appropriate Subsidence Incident Report Form and submitted to the Florida Geological Survey.

Many Florida sinkholes are not dangerous – they are just part of the natural landscape, and can be filled with clayey sand in order to impede further water movement in the area. But it’s hard to distinguish, so it’s best to leave the area alone until you get an expert opinion. Call Reliable Claims Adjusting to assess your particular situation – we offer a free property and claim evaluation. It really is better to be safe than sorry.