Tag Archives: sinkhole laws

Sinkholes and Solutions for Property Owners

As a homeowner, is there is solution to the sinkhole problems and damage we read so much about?

The most any property owner in Florida can do about sinkholes is about as muchFlorida Sinkhole Problems and Solutions as a California property owner can do about earthquakes. While there are things we can do as communities to avoid creating these problems, the individual homeowners must focus on gathering as much sinkhole information as possible so they can protect their investments. Certainly, the news was flooded with reports about Plant City sinkholes caused by the over-pumping of water near strawberry fields, which triggered a lot of damage. We are also aware of homes being impacted by neighborhoods known for sinkhole activity, most of which is now a matter of public record.

Sinkhole Information is Key

In the end, people can find a sinkhole solution by making informed decisions about the homes they purchase, and the insurance they buy. Right now, there are rumblings among insurance companies that there will be significant changes to the sinkhole laws during the next legislative session. Most of these changes are not designed to offer solutions to the sinkhole problem but instead are focused on economic and politic problems most homeowners just do not care about. Although a lot of people want to talk about the sinkhole “problem” being the claims, I do not think this is the issue.

It’s the Home, Not the Homeowner

If we were to really focus on the how this problem began, it would have been decades ago when most of the construction occurred. While most of the community developers were aware they were building homes in areas where sinkhole problems were likely, they built the homes without doing any pre-construction testing, nor did they even consider modifying the foundations to try and avoid settlement damage. Now, homeowners are buying those houses, and are relying upon the insurance they purchased to recover their losses. This does not make the claims “bogus,” as many are suggesting. Instead, it simply means that insurance companies are making considerably less money than they always have, and must now pay claims.

Be forewarned, that there will be change next year, and we will be watching from here. Visit us frequently so you can have your input into the new laws.

Read our tips on filling out a sinkhole claim.

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

Ocala Homeowners Could Be Gambling with Sinkhole Coverage

Double-check your sinkhole insurance coverage

Attorney Morgan Barfield of the Barfield Law Group recently provided an in-depth interview to a local Ocala newspaper, the Star Banner.  You can read the full article in the insert below.

The article focused primarily on the changes in sinkhole laws the past several years and how sinkhole insurance coverage is no longer mandatory but now is an optional coverage. The article encourages homeowners to not take the less expensive road and run the risk of homeownership in Florida (especially Ocala) without sinkhole coverage.

“This is a good warning to not only Ocala residents but all homeowners in Florida who live in a high risk area for sinkhole damage”, stated attorney Morgan Barfield in a follow up interview.

Many Ocala residents are still surprised to hear about the large scale sinkhole activity in their area and are not aware that the laws have changed or their own policies have been modified to comply with the new laws.

Barfield Law Group encourages each homeowner to review their current sinkhole policy and make sure it is up to date with the coverage best to protect their home investment.

Be informed of what catastrophic coverage is

As we have written many times, it is of crucial importance that homeowners be up-to-date on the quality of their sinkhole coverage, lest their policy be reduced only to catastrophic coverage without their consent.

When this occurs, one’s insurance policy is only required to foot the bill if they judge your home as unhabitable; if this is not the case, you are left on your own to deal with the effects of your sinkhole, when it comes to both your safety of your family and the property value of your home.