Hillsborough County is one of the top counties in Florida for sinkholes to form. According to the USGS, this happens because the Tampa Bay area has “karst terrain;” meaning that it’s formed from rocks like limestone, dolomite, and gypsum. Groundwater is able to dissolve the rocks and cause sinking ground.
This can then cause a collapse when there is too much water. Identifying signs that a sinkhole is developing can be tricky, and although there is only a one in 100 chance of you being affected by one, here are a few things to look out for.
Cracks in Walls, Floors, and Pavement
This is one of the most troubling signs of sinkholes. If you see what appears to be a crack in your wall, floor, or on any pavement outside your apartment unit or building, go to your property’s page and fill out a service request form.
Doors & Windows that Don’t Close Properly
Have you all of the sudden had trouble closing a window or a door that you know isn’t due to be replaced? Check your windows to make sure that they are sealed correctly. Check your doors to ensure any excess carpet isn’t slowing it down. If you find that neither of these are issues, it’s a good idea to put in a service request to see what issue you are having. Slanted doors and doorframes are a sign that a sinkhole could be forming.
Ponding Where Water Has Not Collected Before
Have you noticed a spot where water is collecting outside your building? If there was just a recent rainstorm, wait a few days to see if it goes away. If it does not, this could be a sign that a sinkhole is forming. Contact someone if you notice that there is ponding that does not go away.
Are Sinkholes Covered by Renters Insurance?
Most renters insurance policies usually have separate policies and endorsements for sinkholes. Sinkholes are unique because damage usually involves an entire structure, unlike other natural disasters where a structure can be ok, but personal damage to the contents in your apartment can apply. Many national carriers do offer sinkhole endorsements, but usually only cover sinkholes that were man-made.
Want to see how much you know about sinkholes? Bay News 9 has put together a helpful quiz to test your knowledge.