March 16, 2010 by Morgan Barfield

What makes a sinkhole?

Sinkholes are one of the only causes of damage actually defined by Florida sinkhole laws. One of the reasons there had to be a legal definition, is that otherwise, you could ask two different geologists the question “what is a sinkhole” and you’d get two different answers.

This can cause a variety of concerns for you, your insurance company, and the law.  Therefore, it’s important to know that the difference between a sinkhole and simple property damage is what caused it.

What causes sinkholes to form

A sinkhole loss is associated with the dissolution of limestone or the calcium carbonate rock that lies beneath most of Florida. Calcium carbonate dissolves when it comes in contact with water because the pH level of water in Florida is acidic.

After a while, portions of the underlying rock form holes as the water washes over the stone. When this happens, soil can move or “ravel” into the holes. This results in the surface moving, even if it does not actually create a “hole” as you mentioned.

How to know the difference

So you may be right, but so may your neighbor. You can have sinkhole activity, even when there is no giant sinkhole in your yard. The only way to know is to either hire an engineering firm or demand that your insurance company do so.

Proceed with caution, as you might find yourself in an argument with your insurance company. Whether or not they feel like a sinkhole inspection is necessary can make a big difference – they’re expensive, and you probably don’t want to foot the bill yourself.

If you find yourself in this situation you may also consider contacting an attorney to see what you can do to get leverage in this situation. Sinkhole claims involve some fine lines, to tread with care.

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