- What the Law Says About Sinkhole Insurance
- Confirmed Sinkhole
- Experts Determine Geologic Cause of Structural Damage
A confirmed sinkhole is one that has been verified by a geologist or an engineer. This is important, because in Florida, the opinion of a geologist is an important factor in determining the obligation of the sinkhole insurer to pay your claim.
Analysis of sinkhole damage to a home requires the expertise of a geologist in understanding what, from a geological perspective, is causing unstable soil. The goal is to understand what layers and formations of soil, rock, sand, limestone, clay, water, etc. exist underneath your home and to what degree they provide, or fail to provide, solid support for the weight of your home. This is difficult, because no one can see what is below the soil on which your home rests. It requires knowledge of the geological characteristics of the general area as well as expertise in the testing protocols and equipment that can reveal exactly what is happening on your property.
A structural engineer also has expertise that is critical in understanding the impact of geological variables on your home. A structural engineer understands the materials used in construction (e.g., wood, masonry, concrete, steel, etc.) He or she also understands the structural systems of beams, columns, and other members that give support to a building. The engineer is able to calculate the loads—the weight and the other forces that act upon the structure—to determine the foundation support required.
To confirm sinkhole damage requires both geological and engineering experts.