In Daisetta, Texas in 2008, a massive sinkhole opened and continued to expand until it reached 600 feet, almost the size of two football fields.
This is an example of an active sinkhole that can be seen using water and pressure to grow in size. Many times, once these sinkholes stop growing, developers will literally fill them in and build on top of them. This is true of Lynn and Debra Fregia, who built their home a year and a half after the sinkhole opened.
When we get involved later, we find stories of about the history of the property or even find aerial photos taken prior to the construction. These then show how the homes were built right on top of these geological conditions.
How to stay safe from rural sinkholes
When purchasing a home in remote areas, you should do your homework as a homeowner. Go to the building department and pull the file regarding all permits and history of the property. These materials are public record.
It’s incredibly important that you know this, and understand how it may affect your insurance policy. More often than not, land that has given way to a sinkhole in the past will continue to do so in the future. If this occurs and you don’t have appropriate sinkhole insurance, you’ll likely find yourself in a tough spot.
Again, we never tell people what to do, only suggest that our clients and readers educate themselves on the homes they are purchasing or have already purchased in order to make informed decisions. We also advise that you’re very clear in what is covered in your insurance policy.