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Why Florida associations should beware of sinkholes

Imagine pulling into the driveway of your property only to find half your house has become slanted. Living in Florida means dealing with the possibility of sinkholes.

Florida's wet climate is very conducive to developing sinkholes, which happen when groundwater erodes large chunks of the bedrock. Solid ground suddenly becomes not so solid.

Unfortunately for condo and homeowner associations, sinkholes have become more common. This year looks to be another active year for sinkholes. Early heavy rains and tropical storm activity can increase sinkhole incidents.

In May, 12 different sinkholes appeared in a Florida neighborhood in just a single week. Because of the reputation for sinkholes, some call Florida the "Swiss Cheese State."

These natural disasters are expensive to fix and can be impossible to predict. Foundations can appear solid one year and completely erode by the next.

They are expensive as well, damaging gas or water lines or taking out entire roads.

Filing a sinkhole claim can be a difficult process because insurance companies have lots of experience with these issues while you, hopefully, don't.

Florida Insurance companies are contesting sinkhole claims from both individuals and HOAs or COAs.

A 2011 state law made it easier for insurance companies to deny claims while raising the price of sinkhole insurance. The cost of sinkhole can be the same price as an entire homeowner's insurance policy in some parts of the state.

If your association is dealing with sinkhole damage, calling a skilled construction attorney can increase the odds of a successful claim. They can help you explore your options and understand the difficulties in filing these claims.

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