Many things can cause damage to a house here in Florida. The obvious being hurricanes and storms and the less obvious being below the ground. We all know about sinkholes but many other conditions exist that can cause settlement of a property. Two things we deal with a lot here in Florida are clay and organic materials. Clay is a soil type than can expand and contract with moisture content. It can cause severe damage. Organics materials can be an issue in areas where the land was not properly cleared and compacted and we also see similar type situations where strip mining occurred. We do have a significant amount of mining activity in Florida and homes built on these old mines can face serious issues. Organic material and clay are not covered under a residential insurance policy here in Florida. Only sinkhole activity is. It is not uncommon to see situations where something like clay or organic material is also causing problems to a home in conjunction with sinkhole activity. When the two work together it can be devastating.

It is a common misconception that in these situations the insurance will only have to repair the sinkhole. The general law in Florida is that if two things are causing damage to a house, one covered under the policy and the other not covered, if the insurance company cannot distinguish what damage is being caused by which problem, they have to fix both problems. We  believe the Florida Statutes support this as well. If you read the sinkhole statutes they require the insurance company to stabilize the land and building and repair the foundation of the building. It does not say you only have to stabilize the building from a sinkhole.

Repairing clay or organic issues is different than a sinkhole. These conditions cannot generally be stabilized with grout. Usually underpins are the more accepted method. If your insurance company only wants to grout your house but the engineers have also identified clay or organic material under your home, you need to push them to also pay for underpinning or else you may never see an end to the settlement movement.

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