Sinkhole in Lakeland: A Reminder of the Dangers of Living in Florida


Last week a major 75 ft. sinkhole opened in Lakeland, Florida, which was thought to be the result of a new well being drilled on a nearby property. Sinkholes are more common in Florida than you think, especially in parts of Florida known as Sinkhole Alley which includes Hernando, Hillsborough, and Pasco counties.

Florida is one of the most sinkhole-prone states in the United States. Sinkholes can range in size from a few inches to several hundred feet wide. Sinkholes can cause significant property damage, and they can even be fatal.

This blog post will discuss the dangers of sinkholes, how to identify them, and what to do if you find one on your property. We will also discuss the role of insurance in covering sinkhole damage and provide resources to locate sinkholes near you.

What is a sinkhole?

A sinkhole is a depression in the ground that is caused by the collapse of soil or rock into an underground cavity. Sinkholes can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Limestone – Florida is built on limestone, which is a porous rock that can dissolve over time. This can create underground cavities that can eventually collapse, forming a sinkhole.
  • Water – Water can also contribute to sinkhole formation. When water seeps through the ground, it can dissolve limestone and create underground cavities.
  • Soil erosion – Soil erosion can also weaken the ground and make it more susceptible to sinkhole formation.

Sinkholes can also be caused by deep digging into the ground for wells, as noted above.

How to Identify a Sinkhole

Sinkholes can be small or large, and they can be difficult to identify. However, there are some signs that may indicate the presence of a sinkhole, including:

  • Sagging ground – If you notice that the ground is sagging or sinking, it could be a sign of a sinkhole.
  • Cracks in the ground – If you see cracks in the ground, it could be a sign that a sinkhole is forming.
  • Broken pipes or utilities – If you notice that your pipes or utilities are broken, it could be a sign that a sinkhole is forming.
  • Changes in water levels – If you notice that the water levels in your well or pond are changing, it could be a sign that a sinkhole is forming.
  • Changes in the color of the ground – If you notice that the ground around your home or property is changing color, it could be a sign of a sinkhole. The ground may become lighter or darker, or it may start to look like it has been watered.
  • Changes in the vegetation – If you notice that the vegetation around your home or property is starting to die, it could be a sign of a sinkhole. The plants may start to wilt, or they may start to grow in strange patterns.

What to Do if You Find a Sinkhole

If you find a sinkhole on your property, it is important to take action immediately. Here are some things you should do:

  • Evacuate the area – If the sinkhole is large or unstable, it is important to evacuate the area until it has been evaluated by a professional.
  • Contact your insurance company – If your property is damaged by a sinkhole, you will need to file an insurance claim. Your insurance company’s adjuster will assess the damage and determine how much your insurance company will pay to repair it. You should be aware that your insurance company may treat you unfairly.
  • Hire a professional sinkhole expert to evaluate the sinkhole – A professional can determine the size and cause of the sinkhole, and they can recommend the best course of action for repairing the damage.
  • Hire a professional insurance claim expert to help you navigate the insurance claim process and maximize your claim.

Sinkhole Coverage in Florida

Not all Florida property insurance policies include sinkhole coverage. However, many insurers offer sinkhole coverage as an add-on to their policies. If you are considering purchasing property insurance in Florida, be sure to ask about sinkhole coverage.

Download our Complete Guide to Property Insurance.

Sinkhole Resources for Florida Property Owners

Sinkhole Alley is a region of Florida that is prone to sinkholes. It is located in the central part of the state, and it includes the counties of Hernando, Hillsborough, and Pasco. Sinkhole Alley is one of the most sinkhole-prone regions in the United States. In recent years, there have been several major sinkholes in the area, including one that swallowed a house in 2013.

If you live in or near Sinkhole Alley, it is important to be aware of the dangers of sinkholes and to keep an eye on your property.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has a website with information about sinkholes and how to protect your property:

If you have property damage, whether it’s from a sinkhole, fire, flood, broken pipe, or hurricane, Core Public Adjusters is on your side. We are experts at insurance policy interpretation and negotiation to get you more for your claim. Contact us today for a consultation on your property damage and insurance claim situation.

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