I recently made a sinkhole claim and was told that an engineering firm would be investigating to determine if sinkhole damage is present. Do I have a say into who is selected, and is so, how would I decide who to hire?

This is a very common concern from homeowners.

There is a general belief-fear that insurance companies will automatically select engineering firms who will always deny the presence of sinkhole activity. I think this is an over-generalization. Overall, the primary concern you should have is that the engineering firm who conducts the investigation is conducting the investigation within the standard of care for professionals who do this kind of work.

The issue often becomes not necessarily what their interpretation of the data is, but instead whether they have conducted sufficient testing before rendering an opinion. If they produce the test results, you can always have the data itself evaluated. Frankly, most insurance companies will get upset if they later discover that the engineering firm cut corners on the manner in which the loss was investigated.

We maintain active databases on most engineering firms who do this kind of work. We see some of the same engineering firms who do the work, and often cut corners. If you are interested, you are free to contact us and we can provide you information on the firm, and give you some questions to ask them. We can certainly give you some pointers on things to watch for when they conduct the testing.

Have a burning question you’d like to ask about sinkholes? Let us know.

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