Sinkhole repair contractors
When you find sinkhole damage in your home and open up a claim with your homeowner’s insurance, you may feel overwhelmed. You may be faced with choices to make that you were not expecting about things you know nothing about. Specifically, you may be expected to choose sinkhole repair contractors to execute suggested repairs.
Your insurance company’s first steps
Under Florida law, if the damage to your home is consistent with sinkhole activity, the insurance company may be obligated to conduct an investigation into the cause of the damage. If this damage is, in fact, sinkhole related, the engineering firm retained by the insurance company must prepare a repair recommendation as to how to stabilize the land and repair the foundation.
This repair recommendation will be sealed by an engineer (not a contractor), who must approve the actual plans to do the repair. In simple terms, the engineering company will make a generalized statement regarding the method of repair that they believe will fix the problem (grouting, grouting and pinning, or pinning only), but will not necessarily present a specific “this is how you fix it” in the report you receive.
Who hires the sinkhole repair contractors?
Once the engineering firm completes its evaluation and presents this report, the insurance company may do two things: (1) do the repairs themselves (which rarely happens – called the “election to repair”), or (2) wait for you to get bids from contractors.
Part of your rights as the homeowner is the entitlement to select the sinkhole repair contractors of your choice, who will then act upon the specific recommendations made by the engineering firm retained by the insurance company.
As long as their work is within the scope of the original engineering firm, your insurance company can have little say about who actually does it.
However, if you do not agree with the method of sinkhole repair recommended by your insurance company’s engineer, there are additional steps you can take. Your first step in this is to contact your insurance company to see if they will accept a second opinion. If they will not, you may need to address this conflict with an attorney who can help you fight for your right to protect your property.