Gene Veno of the American Association of Public Adjusters recently sent out an alert about a neighborhood suffering severe sinkhole damage. We often see these reports for Florida and Tennessee – but Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is now suffering from sinkhole losses. Similar to the Sunshine State, Pennsylvania is one of the top states at risk for sinkholes and sinkhole activity associated with dissolving limestone. According to William White, Penn State University emeritus professor of geochemistry, the riskiest areas for these cover-subsidence sinkholes in Pennsylvania include the limestone valleys through central Pennsylvania – around State College, and also from the Maryland line up through Harrisburg and east to Allentown and Lancaster.1

At the time of PennLive’s recent report, this series of Harrisburg sinkholes has caused 9 homes to be condemned in the South 14th Street neighborhood. Concerned residents have evacuated their families from many of the homes in this neighborhood. Residents are searching for answers from the city and the mayor. A community meeting was held this week, but residents were left frustrated and worried.

After moving everyone to safety, another big problem residents are facing is struggling to pay for two different homes. This is an awful problem for anyone experiencing a devastating loss. Paying for a mortgage and rent can be impossible for some, and those who do it might not be able to afford double payments for long.

Residents are calling on their insurance companies, but some have reported not getting a prompt response. What many in this neighborhood may not know is there are representatives homeowners can hire to help with coverage issues. Only attorneys and licensed public insurance adjusters can help policyholders navigate their insurance coverage and negotiate claims. Navigating a claim and understanding your insurance coverage can be difficult on your own, and that is why it can help to hire your own experienced, insurance adjuster.

All insurance policies are different, and without a detailed review of the damage and the policy, it is impossible to say what the obligations would be of any one particular carrier when it comes to paying for sinkhole damage in Harrisburg. However, residents should be aware that they can have a professional advocating by their side during this horrible time.

Insurance companies make profits by not paying claims. Policyholders get frustrated by horrible customer service and often times give up when they have losses that deserve payment. I urge Harrisburg residents to get out their insurance policies, speak up, and get help. Many policies contain coverage for additional living expenses that could ease the financial burden of being displaced. 

1 See "PA Among Top At-Risk States for Sinkholes," written March 8, 2013, at: