Florida families struggle to receive adequate sinkhole repairs

A sinkhole below the surface of a family’s home in Florida has created deep cracks in the walls of their dwelling. A lengthy gash runs just over the family’s mantel, extending the entire length of a hallway. The sinkhole is so severe that it has swallowed portions of the home’s foundation, and the ceiling has moved out of place.

When the family realized that a shifting sinkhole was eating away at their walls and floors, they pursued repairs from their insurance company, Citizens Property Insurance. Unfortunately, three years after filing a claim, the house remains without fundamental repairs.

The insurance company sent the family a small check for superficial fixes; however, this amount is not sufficient to cover essential repairs, such as those to restore the foundation of the home. Unfortunately, this family is not the first to struggle with Citizens Property Insurance. Several other Florida families are battling with the company to receive adequate insurance payments for sinkhole repairs.

In fact, the Miami Herald reports that approximately 1,800 homeowners have filed legal action against the business, contesting the handling of their sinkhole claims. Most matters involve contention over the method of repairs.

Insurance claims for sinkhole repairs

Most sinkhole lawsuits between homeowners and insurance companies concern the appropriate repair process. The problem is that insurance companies generally recommend repair strategies that are in their best financial interests. As a result, it is helpful for a Florida homeowner to work with an experienced sinkhole attorney for help pursuing an insurance claim for repairs. Insured homeowners are entitled to receive the full benefit of their insurance policies. Moreover, repairs should be made in accordance with their needs, not the financial interests of insurers.

Grouting vs. underpinning

Many insurance companies use the grouting method of sinkhole repair. This method, which involves pumping concrete under the foundation, is the cheapest way to make provisional fixes. Unfortunately, there is no specific way to decipher exactly where the concrete is moving or how much will be required to properly stabilize the sunken area. Generally, this method is not very reliable. Many homeowners are forced to pursue future repairs after grouting.

However, underpinning is considered the superior method of sinkhole repair. Underpinning stabilizes a home with sinkhole damage. In this construction method, metal piers are forced into the foundation, implanted in the limestone under the property and then connected to the building. Underpins are installed around the boundary of the home. This repair strategy typically resolves the problem.

If you are struggling to receive necessary repairs for your home, do not wait until it is too late. Insurance companies should be held accountable for repair obligations. Contact an experienced insurance law attorney, who can help preserve and protect your home.