If you live in Florida, you are probably not a stranger to sinkholes. Whether or not you have seen one in person, you have probably heard about it in the news. Sinkholes seem to pop up all over Florida. That is why we believe it is important for you to know more about them. Here are a few common questions and answers about sinkholes in Florida.
What are sinkholes and how do they occur?
Sinkholes are depressions that form in karst terrains causing indented land with open cavities. They occur when the limestone under the surface cracks and dissolves. Acidic water that goes through the earth can cause such cracks. Sinkholes can form in a variety of shapes and sizes, depending on how much land collapses. They usually occur more during the rainy seasons, when water seeps through the land.
What warning signs should I look for when watching for sinkholes?
Although you can never be sure when a sinkhole might appear, there are some warning signs you can watch for.
- If you have had work done that caused fresh exposure of land, such as putting in new posts, digging up the land for any reason, and modification to foundations, be aware of sinkholes. The exposure can lead to precipitation seeping through, causing the limestone to dissolve or crack.
- If a door or window is not closing properly.
- Any sagging posts, fences, mailboxes, etc.
- New cracks in the surface of the ground.
- If you see water pooling together where it did not before.
Although these things do not necessarily mean you have a sinkhole, it can be good indicators for one.
How long does it take for sinkholes to stop growing?
There is no set time for any given sinkhole. They can take anywhere from ten minutes to hours to form. It depends on the size of the cavity and how much moisture has gone through the land to the limestone. However, all movements usually take place within 24 hours.
What should I do if I think I have a sinkhole on my property?
If you think you have a sinkhole on your land, close it off and make sure that no one goes near it. Call our property insurance adjuster and report it to them. If the hole is impacting your house, make sure to exit the home and stay away until the sinkhole can be fixed.
Will my insurance pay for sinkhole repairs?
Having home insurance does not guarantee that they will cover sinkhole repairs. Look at your insurance policy to make sure that they cover damages acquired by sinkholes. Often times, if a property is characterized to be at a high risk for sinkholes, insurance companies may not offer coverage for it. Make sure to ask about it before obtaining insurance.
If you or someone you know has had to deal with injuries or damages because of sinkholes, call our Tampa personal injury attorneys.