Sinkholes are common in Florida, in fact Florida has more sinkholes than any other state. Sinkholes are depressions in the ground, but the ones that appear suddenly, called Collapse Sinkholes, can cause damage to homes, roads, property and to people.
Collapse Sinkholes occur when the water table changes – either too much rain, or not enough rain can cause the ground to cave in on itself. There may be warning signs of sinkhole activity and it is important to keep an eye out for these.
- Cracks in the floor, walls or pavement – check both inside and outside your home. The cracks may start out small so write down where they are and the measurements. If they continue to grow, it’s time to have your house inspected.
- Windows or doors not closing properly – you feel that it is harder to close a door or window, which can mean structural shifting.
- Depressions in your yard or your neighbor’s yard – one easy sign is a hole in the ground that wasn’t there before. Also look for fencing or large items such as playground equipment that has shifted.
- Sediment in your water
- A neighbor’s sinkhole activity
Some people fear calling their Homeowners Insurance if they suspect a sinkhole thinking that their rates may go up, but its better to use the knowledge of their inspection services than for a sinkhole to happen suddenly. Most often, if nothing is found, your rate will not be raised.
Inspect regularly for sinkholes and keep track of any signs that you may find. If sinkhole activity is found close to your home, be even more diligent with your inspections.
Get more information about sinkholes. See this article “How Sinkholes Work” by How Stuff Works, Here
When you drive or walk through your neighborhood, it is easy to see which homes are being maintained and which are not. You don’t have to inspect them, but just pass by and take a look. It’s simple to find homes that are run down, their lawn is overgrown, window shutters are falling off or there’s missing shingles from the roof. Maintained homes aren’t perfect, but you can see fresh paint, no cracks or holes in the walkway or driveway, clean windows and no overgrown trees or hedges.
Yearly and seasonal maintenance of your home helps to retain its value and prevent problems in the future. Some repairs can help keep your Homeowners Insurance policy from increasing since they include reducing safety issues such as fires.
It’s helpful to keep a checklist of what you must do to maintain your home:
- Check the batteries in your smoke detectors. A good way to remember to do this is when we change the clocks for daylight savings time.
- Clean the dryer vent.
- Vacuum the coils of your refrigerator.
- Clean and check the screens on your windows and doors.
- Check and maintain your air conditioning system yearly.
- Have your septic system cleaned out professionally. This should be done every year – every 3 years. Ask what schedule you should keep.
- Inspect your roof, chimney, gutters, etc. Again a professional can do this or you can do it yourself. Some homeowners do it every year then have a professional come in on the 3rd year for example.
- Check your foundation for cracks and soil for unusual holes. This can mean there is a sinkhole starting.
- Inspect your walkway and driveway and repair any cracks or holes.
- Check your doors and windows for to see if they close properly or if they need to be re-sealed.
- Have an inspection done for insects especially termites.
- Check the expiration date on fire extinguishers and replace them as needed. Keep the expiration dates on your calendar.
- Remove and clear any tree branches that hang over your home or your neighbor’s home.
- Remove anything that can be caught up by the wind during hurricane season and store it indoors.
- Inspect your attic for openings.
When using professional services, be sure to do a background check to see if the person or company is licensed and certified to do the work you have hired them to do. Another thing to look out for is workers’ compensation insurance. If a worker in your home is injured, they will most likely be covered under their policy. If they don’t have worker’s compensation, they can sue you. That means you’ll be using your Homeowners Insurance policy to cover their claim. There should be no reason for that, especially when you are trying to prevent problems with your home.
Hurricane Irma caused devastation in Florida and much more along the way. While we are still in recovery mode but at least just about everyone has their electricity back and are finding a way to return to a normal routine that Irma so fiercely disrupted. Once the storm is over its time to access the damages for your home and call your insurance company. Once an agent gives you an assessment of the damages and the money for repairs, your next step is just as important, finding someone to do the repairs.
Be Aware!! There are many scammers out there wanting your insurance money that you worked so hard by making monthly payments for. You want to make sure that the people who are going to repair say your roof does the job they are hired for and it will pass inspection.
See the following helpful articles to avoid being scammed.
From Article – “If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is and could be fraud,” said state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. “Opportunistic scammers may attempt to defraud Floridians following Hurricane Irma, and I encourage all Floridians to be vigilant in guarding against fraud. Consumers should report suspicious activity ASAP by calling 1-877-693-5236.”
From article – “Instances of scams and fraud are common after major natural disasters as opportunists rush to capitalize on dire situations.”
Advice from the Better Business Bureau – “If someone shows up at your house unannounced and claims to be an insurance adjuster, do not invite them into your home. Ask for company ID. If they don’t have any, ask them to leave your property and shut the door.” -Katherine Hutt, Better Business Bureau
Please contact us if you have any questions,
Buget Bi Rite Insurance, Inc
In your homeowners coverage you should not only be protected for your personal belongings but compensated for additional living expenses. While your house is being accessed, you may be in a hotel for a few days, need money for restaurants, clothing and other expenses that may occur.
You do not want to find out after the tragedy of damage or losing your home, that you are lacking coverage. You need to know what your limits or exclusions are ahead of time.
This is where your compensation for additional living expenses comes in. Some insurance companies may give you unlimited help with your expenses and others a percentage of your total homeowners coverage.
Not sure what exactly your coverage is? Call us today to get your questions answered. 863-453-3903 or visit our website budgetbirite.com fill out the form and we will have an agent contact you within 24 hours.
We offer home insurance to the following states – Florida, Minnesota, Georgia, Texas, Maryland, South Carolina, North Carolina, Indiana and Pennsylvania.
If you love the water and like to travel there are popular spots to dock your home while you enjoy a new exciting place and people. House boats are bulky and move at a slower pace then most boats and learning to navigate these homes is essential as accidents can happen, causing damage to both property and individuals.
Whether you are looking to buy or already own a houseboat, just like owning a home on land, home insurance is required and necessary. You are making an investment on your houseboat and you want to be sure that your covered for any possibility of damage, sinking and your personal finances.
Check to see what your houseboat is classified under. Many insurance companies have them under the same classification as pleasure boats, ski boats, sail boats, cabin cruisers and more. When your houseboat is taken under consideration for a policy, the insurance company may look at the size, age of houseboat, type and how much horsepower it has. Houseboats used in rivers of lakes may have different coverage then those used in the ocean or hurricane prone areas.
Insurance coverage can also be taken out for vandalism, storm damage, fire, theft, capsizing, living expenses for under repair and more. Another important option would be pollution coverage if case your boat leaks oil or fuel. Cleaning up after an accident or leak from a houseboat can be quite costly.
Houseboats can be enjoyed for many years with the proper upkeep and if the owner has the assurance of knowing that problems, if they arise, are covered.
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