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Multiple Sinkholes Open in Florida After Rains From Tropical Storm Debby

Sinkholes occur when the ground caves in karst terrains. Considering that most of Florida’s terrains are karst, it is not unusual to hear about the formation of sinkholes. These cave-ins happen because acidic water slowly dissolves underground cavities, making surface sediments collapse into underground caves in the limestone bedrock.

Many Sinkholes Open After Debby

Tropical storm “Debby” brought along a lot of rain. It also brought along more than a dozen sinkholes in Brooksville, Florida alone. The problem is that while at this point Debby is only a memory for most people, for residents that saw sinkholes grow in their backyards and still threaten to swallow their houses it is not…

Mike Berros, a local homeowner, told wtsp.com how nervous they are with the sinkhole that grew overnight in his backyard. We don’t know if he has sinkhole coverage in his homeowner’s insurance policy. There is a common confusion between coverage for “catastrophic ground collapse” and coverage for “sinkhole damage”. They may seem like the same thing to a lay person, but in reality they are two very different things under Florida Law:

A catastrophic ground collapse is defined by law as “a geological activity that results in the abrupt collapse and clearly visible depression of the ground cover, which in turn causes structural damage to buildings and their foundations to the point that the building is condemned by the government”.

On the other hand, a sinkhole is defined as “a landform created by the subsidence of soil, sediment, or rock as underlying strata is dissolved by groundwater”.

Moreover, while insurance companies are obligated by law to include coverage for “catastrophic ground collapse” in their policies, they only have to include coverage for sinkhole related damage if the homeowner asks for it and pays an additional premium. Over the years we have found that many homeowners believe that this coverage is automatically included and therefore, do not ask for it.

For Now, Worst Part Is Lack Of Information

For now the worst part of the sinkhole situation for most of the residents of this small Florida community is the lack of information from homeowners associations and authorities as to what’s really going on with the sinkholes. In most cases the sinkholes are not an immediate threat to the houses themselves, just to the backyards and the common areas. Crews are working hard to fill up the sinkholes that have opened in the common areas, but keep “tight lipped” and do not give any information to the owners of the houses surrounding these sinkholes.

These homeowners could use the help of an experienced law firm to contact their insurance companies and/or to get information that could help ease their concerns from the local authorities. The lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano have been helping victims of disasters resolve their homeowners’ insurance claims for many years and stand ready to assist.

The Lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano Can Help

Regardless of whether sinkhole coverage is included in your homeowners insurance or not, you should have an attorney help you review your policy and advise you on what coverage you should have and for how much. With more than 67 years of combined experience, the Miami Dade County Homeowners Insurance Claims Law Offices of Greenberg Stone and Urbano have helped thousands of homeowners all over Florida review their policies, present their claims and get the compensation owed them by their insurance carrier.

Visit our website to learn more about our firm and contact us today for a free consultation.

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