Sinkholes are formed when limestone erodes. Commonly, acid rain causes the limestone, which is a soft rock, to crack and eventually open to form a hole. If a sinkhole opens under a house, the entire house could be destroyed. In Florida, there were 2,000 sinkhole claims filed in 2006. In 2010, Floridians filed 6,500 sinkhole claims for a cost of almost $1.5 billion.
State officials believe that the high costs of claims related to sinkholes have caused insurance rates to rise. Thus, they have implemented changes in the sinkhole law, including placing a statute of limitations of two years to claim sinkhole damage. The homeowner must claim sinkhole damage within two years of the incident.
Furthermore, the new law also changed the definition of damage by a sinkhole. The new changes make filing a sinkhole claim even more difficult. Floridians may or may not have sinkhole coverage, and that in most cases, it costs extra to put it on the insurance policy.
Homeowners should determine whether a sinkhole may be forming by paying attention to the area. Look for areas that are now exposed but were never previously exposed. Another way to track down a possible sinkhole is to check for cracks forming in the walls of your home. Keep a journal of any unusual changes, such as new bare spots near the home or near fence posts and cracked walls and ceilings. Take pictures of the damage from the first time you notice it. If the damage seems to be expanding, be sure to have pictures showing the expanding damage.
Source: Claims Journal, “Florida’s Sinkhole Statute Continues to Evolve,” Denise Johnson
Our law firm assists individuals throughout the entire sinkhole claims process. For more information, please contact us.
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