At Insurance Claim HQ we have experience helping clients file claims related to sinkhole damages. Many insurance companies do not want to pay the full amount owed to clients who have been victims of sinkhole damage to their property.
We also have experience working for clients whose insurance company denied the existence of a sinkhole without conducting the necessary ground testing. With our team on your side, we can help you avoid many of the common pitfalls insurance companies put in place to deny valid sinkhole claims.
What Are Some Signs I Might have a Sinkhole on My Property?
Sinkholes are actually more common than most people believe. Storms can soften the ground and create unstable layers or openings beneath the surface. The weight from buildings, roads, and other structures which are normally supported by the stable ground underneath, can quickly cause a sinkhole when these unstable fissures are present in the ground. This makes the ground unstable and susceptible to collapse.
Sinkholes tend to just open up out of nowhere, but there are some signs you might have a potential sinkhole on your property. These signs include but are not limited to:
- Abnormalities in the ground and structures, vegetation attached to the ground
- Cracked foundations, interior and exterior walls, driveways, ceilings, and other structures
- Doors and windows that do not properly operate
- Dying foliage
- Fractured ground or depressions you can see with your eyes
- Property that must be vacated
- Standing water in large amounts
- Unusual noises from the structures on the property
- Water stains that do not seem typical
Do I Really Need an Attorney for a Sinkhole Claim?
Insurance companies are notorious for finding ways to protect their bottom line. When it comes to sinkhole claims, they have been known to hire experts who will find any and every reason why the insurance company should deny the claim, even when it is valid.
An experienced attorney understands the process and all the tricks that insurance companies use to try to deny a claim. We will ensure that your rights and property are protected by fighting for the compensation you deserve. We have handled numerous sinkhole claims, and our experience will directly benefit your own claim. You should never attempt to negotiate with an insurance company without representation. Allow our team to handle that process for you to ensure that your claim is filed properly and negotiated vigilantly.
How do I File a Claim?
The first thing you need to do is contact your insurance company to notify them of the sinkhole on your property. They will assign an adjuster from their company to come out and conduct their assessment of the area. Once they have done their own investigation and talked to the property owner, they typically will send out a geologist to conduct their own testing on the property.
The results of this inspection will determine if there is evidence of a sinkhole or not. The testing process can take up to a few weeks to complete. If they determine a sinkhole is on the property, they will begin the process of gathering estimates for repairs. They will send out a letter to the policyholder, notifying them if they have a valid claim or if they deny their claim. If they deny the claim, they must give the reasoning behind the denial.
What if My Claim is Denied?
If your claim has been denied, that is not the end of the process. You can appeal the decision, which is where a professional attorney will be an invaluable resource for you. Your attorney will help you determine:
- The tests that were conducted at the property
- If the testing company did any drilling on the property as part of the test
- Other information the insurance company or testing company might have overlooked
The insurance company might try to skip some of the more standardized testing protocols required by the state. Instead, they might use findings that did not include one or more of the following techniques:
- Electrical Resistivity Testing
- Ground Penetrating Radar Testing
- Standard Penetration Testing
Their failure to conduct the proper testing on the property can be grounds for legal action on behalf of the property owner.
You have the right to hire your own experts to come in and conduct independent testing that might refute the testing done by the insurance company. These testing results and estimates can be used to help you prove your sinkhole damage claim through negotiations or litigation.
Insurance Requirements for Sinkholes
Some states offer separate sinkhole insurance or require homeowners to have sinkhole insurance for their property. In Louisiana, sinkhole insurance is not mandated to be part of a traditional homeowner’s policy. It is important that you check the coverages set forth in your policy and understand the limitations within.
Homeowner’s insurance policies are required to cover most damage incurred from natural disasters, which is why it is important to have an experienced attorney help you decipher the coverage limitations on your policy.
If your property has been damaged from a sinkhole, contact us today for your free case evaluation with an experienced property casualty attorney at Insurance Claim HQ.