Sinkholes and Homeowners Insurance Policies
Sinkholes and homeowners insurance policies do not always mix. It is important to know how your plan will cover this hazard should an issue ever arise on your property. Being aware of potential sinkholes before you commit to a property can save you a great deal of headache down the road. It is also important to make sure your insurance company acknowledges the existence of the sinkhole on your property before you need to file a claim to fix it.
There may also be a discrepancy between homeowners in their insurance companies as to how to repair a sinkhole. Logically, both parties will want to perform maintenance, such as replacing smoke alarm batteries, that will cost the least. This typically involves filling the hole with concrete. However, this is not always the safest method to fixing the issue and could cause more damage later. It is important to find a company that will listen to the experts who investigate the sinkhole on your property and pay for whatever repair options they believe are the most sound.
Filing a Claim
If you believe you have a sinkhole on your property, it is important to investigate immediately so you do not wind up having to deal with a collapse. Your insurance company will likely want to send their own investigators to check out the situation. Combine this report with one from a city investigator to make sure you have all the information you might need to properly file your claim. When your homeowners agency sends their report, compare the results from the two investigations to help you decide the best method of treatment.
The severity of the sinkhole will depend on how large it is and how close to any structures on your property it is. Many sinkholes can be left alone, but having a report in hand to confirm this can mean wonders for your peace of mind. If you have discovered a sinkhole on your property, even if it is only a small pit, keep a close eye on your foundation and get a consolation immediately if it appears to be shifting. The sooner you act on a potential collapse, the more you will be able to do to prevent it.
Sinkhole Warning Signs
There are man signs you can keep an eye out for if you live in an area that is known for having issues with sinkholes. Since these develop over time, you may wind up developing an issue years after you move into your home. The easiest way to tell if your foundation is being compromised is to watch for cracks. If any large portions of concrete on your property are developing severe cracks with no noticeable explanation, have a crew come to check for a sinkhole immediately.
Being aware of the condition of your yard is also vital to watching for sinkholes. If you notice tree roots popping out of the ground or a tree that is slanting in a way that it did not previously this could be a sign of a sinkhole. Similarly, if water is pooling after it rains in areas that it did not previously or the soil is not compacting with the same density it did previously this is a sign that the ground is shifting below.
The best way to work with sinkholes and homeowners insurance policies is to have all the information you might need before it becomes necessary to file a claim. Having an open dialogue with your agent will make you aware of their policies and what you need to do. Taking action early can prevent serious damage from destroying your property.