Tags: florida insurance, RAB foundation repair, sinkhole repair
Why does Florida have so many sinkholes? Florida has more sinkholes than any other state in the nation. They are an obvious feature of Florida’s natural topography. But why?
The short reason is the karst topography in Florida. Karst topography is one that’s characterized by numerous caves, sinkholes, fissures, and underground streams. It usually forms in regions of plentiful rainfall where bedrock consists of carbonate-rich rock, such as limestone. The underlying bedrock in Florida is limestone.
A sinkhole forms when groundwater dissolves the underlying limestone bedrock. This creates a void in the land. When there is a drought, and you get a heavy rainfall in a short period of time, the limestone becomes brittle and the support can give and suddenly collapse the land surface; thus becoming a sinkhole. There are other states that experience sinkholes; however Florida is the most vulnerable.
Most of the large sinkholes in Florida have turned into lakes. They are simply old sinkholes that have filled with rain and the water doesn’t go into the ground because the ground cannot consume anymore water for some reason, such as rock under the sinkhole.
Often sinkholes can serve an important purpose. Sinkholes provide a primary pathway for rainwater to replenish subsurface groundwater; they are an important part of the Florida aquifer system. That aquifer system supplies 95% of Florida’s drinking water. Conservation of Florida’s sinkholes is essential to ensure the future of Florida’s supply of freshwater. If left unprotected, polluted surface water can drain into sinkholes and easily contaminate the aquifers. Unfortunately, property destruction caused by sinkholes frequently overshadows their vital role in Florida’s natural environment.
Many times Floridians will see a depression in a streets or their yard and automatically assume that a sinkhole is forming. Most times those depressions are the result of water main or storm pipes that have been separated or the result of broken irrigations systems.
What should you do if a sinkhole develops on your property? If you find a sinkhole developing on your property, you should first call your insurance company. With Florida’s new insurance regulations concerning sinkholes you cannot assume you are automatically covered by your insurance company for a sinkhole. Prior to June, 2011 Florida required that insurance companies offer sinkhole insurance. However, due to the recent changes, there is no longer a requirement to cover sinkhole damage (except in the most catastrophic collapses). Either way, it never hurts to verify what is and is not covered by your insurance.
If a sinkhole develops on your property, you could be liable for any accidents that might happen before the sinkhole is fixed. First, secure the area with rope, fence or tape. Also monitor the sinkhole to make sure it’s not growing.