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Insuring Your Property Against Sinkholes

Posted by Joe Brennan | Posted in Homeowners Insurance, Insurance Advice, Insurance Claims Help | Posted on 07-24-2014


sink-hole-illustrationInsuring Your Property Against Sinkholes

Sinkholes are depressions that form on the surface of the earth, causing large portions of the ground to either collapse or sag… SINK inward. They can occur by either man made or natural causes. Underground tunnels, mines, water systems can often collapse if they are not constructed properly or have significantly aged. The more common way in which sinkholes can form are natural. Volcanic activity, below the surface of the earth, sometimes create large holes that can collapse under the right amount of pressure. Other ways that sinkholes can appear is if there is a construction carried out above buried waste. If the waste decomposes, the construction can collapse. The most common cause for sinkholes is the sudden dry spells that can cause the water table to hollow out below the surface, swallowing whatever is on top of it.

Sinkholes in the USA

The US Geological Survey has claimed that more than 30 percent of mainland USA is susceptible to sinkholes. There are some regions that are highly active like Florida, Pennsylvania and Georgia. The geological make up of the regions are to blame. Limestone, salt and Gypsum deposits are found in large quantities in these areas and rain water, when it gets below the surface, dissolves them. This causes the seemingly solid ground to dissipate into a slushy mass. These holes are not always dramatic and massive gaping fissures hundreds of feet deep, and are normally seen as slight sags on the ground, but even that is enough to destroy a house or completely warp a built up structure.

Sinkhole insurance coverage availability

There are states that have insurance coverage for sinkholes as standard, but most states in the country do not offer such insurance. It is not necessary in some parts, but based on recent reports, a good part of south eastern USA is vulnerable. Florida is the most famous state for sinkholes and between the years 2006 and 2010, there have been over 24,600 insurance claims, which is over 15 claims every day, costing up to nearly $1.4 billion. Following this, many insurance companies have increased their premiums and some parts have reported over two thousand percent hike in sinkhole insurance.

Do you need sinkhole coverage?

If your state or region is in the sinkhole zone, then yes, you should get it covered. Perform a survey of your property and find out if your home or any part of your land is sitting above a potential sinkhole. This should be done every year after the rainy season, to be safe. Speak to your insurance agent to find out if it can be worked into your existing insurance policy.

Sinkhole Resources:

Sinkholes: there’s good and bad news …

Sinkholes: How are Insurance Companies Responding?

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(C) Joe Brennan is President and owner/operator of Insurance Claims Group, Inc., a national independent adjusting, appraisal, and umpiring firm. We will answer your claim questions FREE as part of our FREE Insurance Advice and Insurance Claim Consulting Services.

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