Tag Archives: sinkhole testing

Insurance Company Sinkhole Testing

How much testing does the insurance company have to do?

We have discussed before how the insurance expert’s opinion is presumed to be correct. Well, this is a similar scenario.

The law simply requires the insurance expert to perform whichever testing is sufficient in their professional opinion. This is again a very subjective definition which is a point of contention in many of these cases. You have to remember that it is the insurance company’s burden to rule out sinkhole activity at the property so, what does constitute sufficient testing necessary to rule sinkhole activity?

This is a harder question to answer because every home is different.

Variables matter

It’s incredibly important to not only have an independent geologist review the opinions brought forth by the insurance company’s engineers, but have your geologist weigh in on the actual testing methods as well. This matters for a few reasons:

1)  Certain homes have accessibility issues that mean the trucks or equipment can not get to certain areas to test. This creates the potential of an inaccurate report which could mean that you do not get the coverage or repairs that you really need.

2)  The depth of the limestone may determine how much or what type of testing is necessary. If your insurance company’s engineer does not consider this, you may not get an accurate report.

3)  How many anomalies they find during GPR testing may determine how many borings they drop.

4)  The size of the home and whether it is multi or single story may impact testing or a property may have other conditions such as clay or organic material that can influence the type of testing.

Don’t be afraid to be involved

Whatever happens, you’re the one who will be living in the home and will be footing the bill. If you have any concern that your insurance company’s engineer isn’t getting the right story, speak up. Contact a lawyer and/or your own engineer for a second opinion.

How to Test for Sinkholes Before Buying Property

How to test for sinkholes before buying your home

If you’re considering purchasing a home in Florida and are concerned about the threat of a sinkhole, you are ahead of the game! Sinkholes are incredibly common in Florida, and while we wouldn’t suggest you be too anxious, it is worth being prepared. Prior to purchasing your Florida home, you might consider a more extensive home inspection before purchasing. In this case, you’ll need to know how to test for sinkholes, and if it’s worth it in the first place.

Testing for sinkholes comes at price

Unfortunately, the cost for a certified sinkhole inspection makes it difficult to pay for one unless absolutely necessary – a sinkhole investigation can run you $6,000-$8,000. This is a steep fee for a buyer who hasn’t even purchased the home yet, with all the costs that go with that first step. If it’s really important to you, you may consider asking the seller to foot the bill, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up.

First, this is expensive! Tampa’s rapid growth means it’s very easy for homeowners to sell their homes, so they’ll likely be more interested in waiting for a cheaper buyer to come along! Second, ignorance is bliss. If a homeowner knows there is sinkhole activity present in their home, they will be obligated to disclose it to any potential buyers; if they don’t know, they don’t need to mention it! Therefore, asking your seller to provide you with a sinkhole investigation is more risk than it’s worth for the seller.

Is a sinkhole investigation necessary?

The answer to this question varies on a case-by-case basis, but there are ways for you to consider whether or not is necessary to go down this route. The State of Florida does not enforce any rules requiring builders to test for sinkhole activity prior to new construction, however, sinkholes are not difficult to find!

When touring the home, look out for cracks in the home. If there are no obvious cracks, and the house looks like it’s fitting together, you should not be concerned about the potential of a sinkhole. Go ahead and ask your realtor to keep an eye out for you as well if you’re concerned.

Another way to satisfy your anxiety regarding sinkholes is to investigate the surrounding neighborhood. You might ask your realtor if they know about the history of sinkholes if any. If they’re not sure, they can do some research for you to calm your fears.

However, if you’re really concerned about the potential of a sinkhole opening and don’t have the money to pay for a professional investigation, taking a good look at the foundation and the walls of the home should be plenty of proof either way. This is the most reasonable, easiest method of how to test for sinkholes before you purchase a home.