Massive sinkhole forms after Tropical Storm Agatha hits Guatemala on Sunday.

Have you seen the enormous sinkhole that was formed in Guatemala City, Guatemala on Sunday? I heard that it’s 66 feet in diameter and 100 feet deep. It swallowed a whole building and part of another! Here in Florida, sinkholes are a common occurrence. Our states bedrock is made of limestone which is whittled away by acidic water. Rain that’s already slightly acidic drains through the soil, where plants give off carbon dioxide, making it even more acidic. Eventually, the underlying structure collapses under the surface weight and voila–a sinkhole!

Florida homeowners may be concerned about the potential of sinkholes on their property and the dangers and destruction brought about by them. If you’re shopping for house in Florida, you may not be able to obtain information about the risk of sinkhole formation for a particular home or neighborhood, but you can check out a map that shows where sinkholes have already formed. The process of assessing the risk is very expensive, but you can hire a geologist to run tests. However, their results may not be conclusive.

If a sinkhole has formed on your property, or you think one may have, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Mark and block off the depression.
  2. Carefully read over your homeowners insurance policy and take notes on all the sections related to sinkholes.
  3. Document the damage on paper. Take a drawing of your home and property and mark the affected areas.
  4. Take lots of photos and video of the damage to be attached to your insurance claim.
  5. Call your insurance agent to file your claim. They will ask you some questions and appoint an insurance adjuster to handle the claim.
  6. Talk to the adjuster about your claim. He will ask many more questions, so keep your notes and records handy.
  7. A field inspector will come out to evaluate your home.
  8. Stay in regular contact with your insurance adjuster and agent. This process will probably take several weeks/months.

Hopefully in the end, the inspection and repairs will be covered by your homeowners policy. Want more sinkhole answers? Click here.