Sinkholes are funnel-shaped depressions in land that usually occur when the underlying limestone is dissolved by ground water. They are particularly common in Southeastern states where much of the land is karst, which is limestone, gypsum or dolomite.
Sinkholes can cause extensive property damage depending their size and depth. While some sinkholes have swallowed buildings, many leave a house or commercial property heavily damaged or uninhabitable.
Signs of a sinkhole include prominent cracks in the home’s interior and exterior, or in the windows, doors, walls and ceilings. In addition, windows and doors may be hard to close as they no longer fit properly in their frames. There might be depressions in the yard surrounded by dying vegetation, or a driveway or walkway might be deeply cracked. In other cases, water from the faucets might have large amounts of sediment, and there are even cases when the homeowner can see the ground opening up.
If you see these indications of a sinkhole, contact NEC Claims and let us assess the damage in conjunction with the insurance company. In many cases, the insurer will send a professional engineering team to the property, drill into the ground and check the soil. They will take samples of the soil and analyze the soil composition to determine whether there has been sinkhole activity. It usually takes about a month for the homeowner to receive the results of the soil testing.
NEC Claims can relieve the headaches involved with filing a sinkhole claim and help the property owner receive fair and equitable compensation for the damage. For instance, if the engineers conclude that the damage to the home isn’t the result of a sinkhole, we can work with the engineers and the insurers to sort out the cause of the damage. We can even help in hiring another engineering company to retest the soil if it appears there were problems with the initial analysis. In any case, we are on your side at every step of the day.
Client: Mario F
Type of claim: Sinkhole damage
Situation: One of the hardest claim types to prove and one of the most denied claims involve property damage caused by sinkholes. First, take the images that you see on the news out of your head. Those giant craters that swallow homes and cars are, in fact fairly rare. However, even a minor sinkhole can be the cause of major damage and aggravation. This was the case for Mario. He noticed cracking in the floor and separation along joints at walls and ceilings. He had no idea at the time that his house was sitting on a sinkhole. As the earth continued to shift, Mario’s home moved as well.
Solution: Before he even called his insurance company, Mario called East Coast Public Adjusters. East Coast inspected the damage, then brought in structural engineers and other industry specialists to assist with the damage diagnosis. All the while, Mario’s policy was undergoing a thorough analysis to help determine his coverage.
Sinkhole repair is not easy, nor inexpensive. Often times, insurance companies will insist on repairing your property with less than perfect strategies. Don’t fall for these. More than likely you, like Mario, are entitled to receive enough money to pay for a complete, proper repair. East Coast helped Mario collect over $216,000 to cover his damage. $216,000 was also the policy limit. In this case, there truly was no settling for less!