Sinkholes in Florida
Sinkholes in Florida: Sinkholes are rampant in Florida. In fact, no state has more sinkholes than Florida. They can cause extensive damage, and in some cases, they have even caused death. There are several things that you can do to make sure you are protected from the expense of damage they create.
What Causes Sinkholes?
Water is the most common cause of sinkholes. In areas of Florida, there is either too much or too little water. The level of water allows the Karst to remain stable. The karst is the soil with a layer of limestone underneath. The limestone has been dissolved over time producing ridges and fissures. The ground is typically supported by the water table but pumping from the water table for development can cause depressions that suddenly collapse.
Additionally, heavy rains or flooding can cause an influx of water to inundate the ground, resulting in the displacement of soil. Ironically, development plays a pivotal role in displacing water as well. Water that had traditionally seeped into established locations in the state is now forced to find new paths underground when parking lots or large developments cover the surface.
How long does it take for a sinkhole to appear?
Sinkholes are unique and controlled by forces below ground, and often unseen, but when the ground begins to move it can be a fast, sudden collapse or it can be a slower, more gradual erosion.
Are there any warning signs?
The best way to predict the possibility of a sinkhole on your property is to watch for subtle changes, such as windows that crack or doors that don’t open or close properly. Also, be aware of sidewalks, driveways, and patios that might develop a crack suddenly. Fences may start to sag, and mailboxes might begin to lean. All of these are cues that the ground your home sits on is subsiding.
What can you do to protect your home?
The best practice is to make sure you have homeowner’s insurance that covers natural disasters, like sinkholes. Many people mistakenly think they have insurance and their home, and the contents of their home are covered, but that is a risky assumption. The time to find out if you are covered is today before disaster catches you off guard.
Once you have discussed your policy with your agent, be sure to contact them at the first signs of ground movement. An adequate policy should protect your investment. However, insurance companies are often reluctant to pay what you are entitled to. Contact an attorney who is experienced in dealing with damages and personal injuries. You need someone on your side.